ABC News exec Alan Wurtzel is ankling the division to take a newly created position at ABC Inc., managing the company’s research and long-term branding efforts.
Wurtzel — who had been senior VP for newsmags and longform programming at ABC News and was the executive in charge of the web’s troubled “Good Morning America” — has been named senior VP, media development, brand management and research for ABC Inc.
He’ll report directly to Alphabet topper Robert Iger.
Wurtzel will attempt to integrate the research functions of all ABC units, including the television network, Buena Vista Television, ESPN and the other Disney/ABC cable outlets. He’ll also be charged with “innovating and managing a variety of initiatives designed to leverage existing ABC media businesses,” ABC said.
Wurtzel said that means he’ll be “looking at the future” of the TV business and figuring out how ABC fits into it.
“The environment has clearly changed and is going to change even more,” Wurtzel told Daily Variety. “Bob wants me to take a big picture look at what’s going on and see how we can do things better.”
“The ABC and Disney brands have extraordinary value,” Wurtzel added, noting that one of his challenges will be figuring out “how do we exploit (the brands) in a way that makes sense.”
In his statement announcing Wurtzel’s appointment, Iger noted that the future of ABC “requires that we operate within this dynamic and diverse media environment by developing ways to successfully position all of ABC’s current and future media businesses to take full advantage of every opportunity. Alan’s broad range of television experience … makes him the ideal person to address these challenging issues.”
Before joining ABC News in 1993, Wurtzel had been senior VP of marketing and research for the ABC Television Network Group. He headed up the web’s standards and practices division from 1983-’88.
Wurtzel joined ABC in 1978 as a supervisor in charge of developmental and social research.