New York Times’ Wong Profile Oddly Skips Over Iger

There was a strange omission in my Sunday-morning reading, found within a New York Times Business section feature, “The Boss,” focusing on Lifetime CEO Andrea Wong.

The piece — an “as told to” first-person account — oddly skips over Wong’s tenure as Disney CEO Robert Iger’s executive assistant. Instead, Wong goes directly from being a researcher at ABC News to the following: “A couple of years later I got lucky at ABC: I became vice president, alternative programming, specials and latenight.”

The passage struck me because it’s so well-known (if perhaps not to the Times) that Wong served as Iger’s assistant and that he subsequently promoted her into programming, as executives often do with promising assistants. Here, for example, is a recap of that interlude from a Los Angeles Times profile of Wong that ran last year:

She was hooked and decided she wanted to be a news producer. After
graduation, Wong took a job as a researcher for ABC’s “Primetime Live.”
When Robert Iger — then the president of ABC, now the president and
chief executive of Disney — was looking for an assistant with an MBA
to groom, she got the call.

“I was so fortunate, because I
really got to learn how a television network works,” said Wong, who
worked for Iger for four years.

Not really a big deal, I suppose, except that a piece with the headline “A Long Road to Television” conspicuously omits what was likely the most significant turn that Wong took along the way, as well as one of the most familiar methods of breaking into the entertainment industry’s executive ranks — namely, paying your dues as an assistant before being promoted.


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