×

Greg Berlanti woos ABC executive

Morgan Wandell set to run TV company

After weeks of speculation, ABC Studios exec Morgan Wandell’s deal to take the reins at Greg Berlanti’s rapidly expanding TV company is official.

Wandell is set to run Berlanti Television, which sealed a five-year pact with ABC Studios in June. In moving to Berlanti’s shingle, Wandell will oversee all TV development and also work on projects for Stage 9, the digital studio launched earlier this year by Disney-ABC Television Group.

Since first moving to ABC Studios in 2006, Berlanti has become one of primetime’s most prolific producers, with three skeins on the Alphabet net’s fall sked: “Brothers & Sisters,” “Dirty Sexy Money” and “Eli Stone.”

Wandell, meanwhile, had been with ABC Studios (formerly Touchstone TV) since July 2004, most recently as senior VP of drama development. Since he joined, the shingle went from just one returning drama on the air — “Alias” — to 17 this season.

Simultaneously, ABC Studios announced Wednesday the other not-so-well-kept secret that Channing Dungey is set to replace Wandell as the new drama topper at ABC Studios. Company had been loath to comment earlier on the changes.

Wandell will begin to transition out of his studio role in the coming weeks. Exec developed a strong relationship with Berlanti after the scribe joined the studio, starting on “Brothers & Sisters” — which Berlanti joined in season one and gave a revamp to.

Following Berlanti’s well-received results on that skein, Wandell developed “Eli Stone” and “Dirty Sexy Money” with the writer-exec producer as well. It was at that time that the duo talked about joining forces on the production side.

“From the beginning, we developed a fantastic shorthand,” Wandell said.

Wandell added that he planned to “be selective and aggressive in trying to grow the company in all sorts of directions.”

Separate from Berlanti, Wandell also developed hits such as “Ugly Betty,” “Private Practice,” “Army Wives,” “Kyle XY,” “Criminal Minds,” “Ghost Whisperer” and “Reaper.” He also helped launched the studio’s “Desperate Housewives,” “Lost” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Wandell’s departure from ABC Studios also comes after he was passed over for the studio exec VP position recently vacated by Julia Franz. According to widespread industry scuttlebutt, the Alphabet net intervened and nixed that promotion. Speculation on who may replace Franz remains centered on Brillstein Entertainment’s Peter Traugott.

Wandell joined Touchstone from Channel One Network, where he was president of programming. Exec was also a VP of development at the dotcom-era startup Digital Entertainment Network, and during a previous stint at Touchstone, he was director of creative affairs, working with producers such as Jerry Bruckheimer and Imagine TV.

“It is going to be a joy to go from building series to building a great company together,” Berlanti said.

Meanwhile, at Berlanti Television, Melissa Berman — who joined in 2006 — remains as a senior executive. Berman played an integral part in developing the shingle’s three skeins.

As for Dungey, who’s been with the studio since 2004, the exec has also had a hand in its dramatic growth in the hourlong world. Dungey will now serve as senior VP of drama development and report to ABC Studio prexy Mark Pedowitz, who called her “the perfect partner in the creative process.”

“The new role gives her the platform to have an even greater impact on our studio and on the television landscape,” he said.

Dungey’s resume also includes stints at Warner Bros. and Material.

More TV

  • Tony Romo

    CBS Sports Re-Signs Tony Romo in Deal Valued Around $17 Million Per Year

    CBS Sports signed prize football analyst Tony Romo to a new deal, a major step in parent company ViacomCBS’ efforts to strike a new rights pact with the National Football League as its current contract heads toward the end of its term. CBS Sports said the company had signed Romo, the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Writers Guild Says It Helped Negotiate 100 Deals for Agent-Less Members

    The Writers Guild of America has asserted that it has assisted in negotiating more than 100 deals in recent months for members without agents. The missive from the WGA West board of directors comes nearly a year after the guild leaders ordered their 15,000 members to fire their agents if the agents had not agreed [...]

  • Hilary Duff

    Hilary Duff Asks Disney to Move 'Lizzie McGuire' Revival to Hulu

    Hilary Duff has posted a statement asking that the planned revival of “Lizzie McGuire” be moved from Disney Plus to Hulu. “I’d be doing a disservice to everyone by limiting the realities of a 30 year old’s journey to live under the ceiling of a PG rating,” Duff wrote on Instagram. “It’s important to me [...]

  • Tan France Jameela Jamil

    TV News Roundup: Tan France, Jameela Jamil Among OZY Fest Headliners

    In today’s TV news roundup, OZY Media announced Tan France, Jameela Jamil and others as headliners of OZY Fest, and Netflix dropped the official trailer of “On My Block” Season 3. DATES Disney Channel‘s second season of “Just Roll With It” will premiere on Sunday, March 15 at 8:45 p.m. The sitcom follows the Bennett-Blatt family [...]

  • Lorraine Toussaint

    Queen Latifah's 'Equalizer' Reboot Pilot at CBS Casts Lorraine Toussaint

    Lorraine Toussaint has joined the CBS’ reboot pilot for “The Equalizer,” Variety has learned. She joins previously announced series lead Queen Latifah and recently announced cast member Liza Lapira. In the reimagined version, Queen Latifah stars as Robyn McCall, an enigmatic figure who uses her extensive skills to help those with nowhere else to turn. Toussaint [...]

  • Ben Schnetzer

    'Y: The Last Man' Series at FX Casts Ben Schnetzer as Yorick

    Ben Schnetzer has stepped into the role of Yorick Brown in FX’s upcoming “Y: The Last Man” series, Variety has learned. He takes over the role from Barry Keoghan, who exited the series at the beginning of this month. The show is based on Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra’s award-winning DC Comics graphic novel series [...]

  • Herb Dorfman Obit Dead

    Herb Dorfman, Orion Pictures Home Video Executive, Dies at 77

    Herb Dorfman, former Orion Pictures executive and a home video industry veteran, died Feb. 25 of complications from Parkinson’s disease and dementia. He was 77. Dorfman served as head of home entertainment for Orion Pictures from 1987 to late 1996. Orion was a prosperous independent studio in those days that turned out a steady stream [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content