Disney-ABC's top TV exec Anne Sweeney tells B&C she did not take the TCA press tour stage Sunday in Beverly Hills amid the massive exec shakeup at her ABC Entertainment Group because Sunday's program "is about moving ahead and making sure the attention is focused on our schedule." She also said she will "move swiftly" to name a new head of ABC Family, now that former president Paul Lee has been tapped President of ABC Entertainment Group.
"It's really primetime's show. You want to hear from him (Paul Lee) and you want to hear from the shows," she said, noting that it's not customary for her to speak at TCA. "Not speaking is nothing out of the ordinary for me."
Of course, this is not an ordinary week leading up to ABC's TCA day. Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks, and president, Disney/ABC Television Group, on Friday named Lee to replace Steve McPherson, who resigned days ago. ABC issued a statement Tuesday afternoon saying the exec had tendered his resignation and the company accepted it. McPherson's PR reps and lawyers have issued statements in recent days addressing reports and rumors that his exit was related to internal matters at ABC. McPherson's reps issued a statement Thursday saying he retained legal reps to "to deal with these defamatory stories."
"There's nothing to say as [corporate communications boss] Kevin [Brockman] said this morning," Sweeney said, referring to Brockman's opening comments addressing the elephant in the room (he brought a stuffed animal elephant on stage) by saying the company would answer questions about McPherson by standing by Tuesday's statement. "We just have the statement at this point. This is about moving ahead and making sure the attention is focused on our schedule."
While Sweeney says she performs annual talent development plans among her execs that includes devising career paths for talented people within the organization, she would not say whether Lee's replacement would for certain come from within Disney-ABC's ranks. She did however say she does not expect much of a delay in naming the new ABC Family boss.