Brian Frons, president of daytime for Disney/ABC Television Group, is departing the company after his contract expires at the end of January.
Replacing Frons is Vicki Dummer, who has been promoted to executive vice president of Times Square Studios and now will oversee ABC's daytime. Dummer will report to Paul Lee, president of ABC Entertainment Group.
"Brian Frons has been the driving force in our successful Daytime division since joining us in 2002, and while we understand his decision to leave at the end of his contract, we're sad to see him go," said Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks and president of the Disney/ABC Television Group in a statement. "We took this opportunity to rethink our business, and the result was the creation of Times Square Studios. Having it be part of the ABC Entertainment Group, under the supervision of proven executives Vicki Dummer and Paul Lee, provides us the opportunity to bring greater creative resources, development strength and operational flexibility to this key area of our business."
In addition, Abra Potkin, former news and entertaiment development executive at CBS, has been hired as senior vice president of East Coast programming and development, while Ann Lewis Roberts has been promoted to senior vice president of West Coast current programming and development. Both Potkin and Roberts will report to Dummer.
Times Square Studio now will oversee both ABC's current daytime programming, as well as develop new non-scripted lifestyle and health programs for both daytime and syndication, according to ABC's statement. Shows in this division include The View, The Chew, General Hospital, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire as well as this fall's upcoming Katie and next month's The Revolution. Live! with Kelly will continue to be overseen by the ABC Owned Television Stations Group division.
Frons has headed daytime at Disney/ABC since May 2006, and he joined the company in 2002 as president of ABC daytime. Prior to that, he was senior vice president of programming at London-based SBS Broadcasting. Earlier, he was president of creative affairs for New World Entertainment and vice president of creative affairs at NBC Productions. He's also been vice president of daytime programming for NBC Entertainment and director of daytime programming for CBS Entertainment.
In the past year, Frons has overseen the cancellation of two of ABC soap operas: All My Children and One Life to Live, decisions that were highly unpopular with the very loyal fans of both series. The cost of producing soap operas was not declining at the same rate as the shows' ratings, however, making them impossible to sustain. The Chew, which replaced All My Children, has seen constant ratings improvement in its first six weeks on the air, and it's produced at approximately 40% of the cost.
Dummer has been senior vice president of alternative series, specials and late-night since June 2009, overseeing such series as Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Supernanny, Secret Millionaire, and Wipeout. She's been at ABC since October 1996, where she started in comedy.