UPDATED: July 27, 2010 11:55 p.m. ET
Stephen McPherson has resigned as ABC Entertainment Group President, according to a statement released on behalf of the Disney/ABC Television group Tuesday afternoon.
While ABC wasn't issuing a confirmation as of press time Tuesday night, they are expected to soon announce ABC Family chief Paul Lee as McPherson's replacement.
One source speculated that former ABC and Lifetime exec Andrea Wong is certain to find a new spot amid the changes at the Disney/ABC TV Group as a likely candidate to succeed Lee at ABC Family, should Lee move to McPherson's old job. Tom Zappala, Executive VP, Program Acquisitions and Scheduling, ABC Cable Networks Group, has also been mentioned as a "dark horse" to succeed Lee, should the ABC Family President move over to ABC Entertainment Group.
The Disney/ABC Television group statement said: "Steve McPherson today submitted his resignation as President, ABC Entertainment Group, and the Company accepted. Mr. McPherson said, 'I want to thank the wonderful team of individuals who have worked with me throughout my time here and wish them nothing but the best.' A replacement for Mr. McPherson will be announced shortly."
McPherson himself released a statement explaining, "I will be announcing my future plans shortly which will include a new entrepreneurial venture in the spirits business. While I will continue with my ongoing wine business, I'll also reveal plans for my involvement in a new media company."
The exec, who launched a new night of comedy on ABC this season including new hit Modern Family, had been scheduled to lead ABC's TCA press tour session on Sunday. Prior to January's press tour, he spoke with B&C about the vindication he felt by the success of the Wednesday comedy block (See "Steve McPherson Gets the Last Laugh" ).
As president of ABC Entertainment Group, McPherson oversaw ABC Entertainment and ABC Studios. He took on the coordinated business unit, which develops and produces programming for broadcast on ABC and other outlets, in January 2009. He was responsible for all development, current programming, late-night, marketing and scheduling efforts related to the ABC Entertainment Group, according to his ABC bio. He reported to Anne Sweeney, co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president, Disney-ABC Television Group.
McPherson joined ABC Entertainment in 2004. Prior to joining ABC, Mr. McPherson was president of Touchstone Television, where he developed Desperate Housewives, Lost and Grey's Anatomy. He and his team also developed CSI and Amazing Race for CBS.
Prior to joining Touchstone Television, McPherson was VP, Primetime Series at NBC and before that, senior VP, Creative Affairs of ABC Productions. He also had a stint at Fox, as director, Current Programming.