ABC head Paul Lee steps down; exec gave second chances to ‘Galavant,’ ‘Agent Carter,’ other shows

There’s some surprising industry news coming out today courtesy of ABC. Per the New York Times, Paul Lee, who oversaw the network and its programming over the past three years, has stepped down from his post. This marks the second major shake-up over the past several months, as last year CBS programming head Nina Tassler stepped down and was replaced by Glenn Geller. Channing Dungey, who has been a key player in development for some time, will be taking over in the new role.

In a statement, Ben Sherwood, the President of the Disney-ABC Television Group that looks over the whole brand in terms of all things TV, had the following to say:

“Channing is a gifted leader and a proven magnet for top creative talent, with an impressive record of developing compelling, breakthrough programming that resonates with viewers … We thank Paul for his many accomplishments at ABC and his devotion to the ABC brand, and we wish him continued success in the future.”

Was Lee perfect in his job? Hardly, given that ABC really has not found a smash hit in many seasons. Sure, shows like “Fresh Off the Boat,” “Quantico,” and “black-ish” have been wonderfully diverse, but none are necessarily commercial smashes. (The latter is at least a modest hit.) Right now, some of the show’s biggest selling points are “Dancing with the Stars,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “The Bachelor,” who are all over a decade over.

One thing that may hurt Lee is that many new experiments have not worked out. While “Galavant” and “Agent Carter” are both wonderful, neither have delivered in their second seasons. Meanwhile, “Scandal,” “Once Upon a Time,” and “How to Get Away with Murder” are now on the decline.

Ultimately, it’s to be seen what Dungey’s impact will be on ABC, but we’ll have some additional insight on the subject as we start to have it here.

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