×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

ABC’s Paul Lee Setting New Contract Amid Disney TV Shakeup

The news of Anne Sweeney’s pending departure as Disney/ABC TV Group topper has stirred up a hornet’s nest of rumor and speculation about what happens next — and what it means for ABC.

ABC Entertainment Group chief Paul Lee has already been the subject of snarky gossip in TV circles about his being on thin ice because of the Alphabet’s struggles this season with new series. (Sunday’s solid opening for fantasy-drama “Resurrection” was a welcome respite after a string of misfires.)

But in fact, Lee is in the midst of setting a new long-term employment contract with the Mouse House, a process that was in the works even before Sweeney unleashed the surprising news that she would step down by January to pursue her goal of becoming a TV helmer. Sources say that news caught Lee and most of Sweeney’s direct reports by surprise when she disclosed it Tuesday morning at a hastily arranged staff meeting.

Lee is well regarded inside Disney, particularly by Sweeney and head honcho Bob Iger. He’s known for being analytical in his approach to programming and business decisions, and thus may be seen as a good fit in the higher-level managerial role that Sweeney is about to vacate.

Iger has made it clear he intends to move quickly to name a successor for Sweeney but sources cautioned that there is no slam-dunk choice for the job yet and that Iger is evaluating his options among several internal candidates. Despite instant speculation about external possibilities ranging from Gail Berman to Bruce Rosenblum, sources close to the situation assure that the new TV group boss will come from within Disney’s walls.

ABC News president Ben Sherwood is surely on the short list along with Lee, given the success that Sherwood has had in steering the news division and “Good Morning America’s” rise to No. 1 in the morning show wars.

Beyond that, the only certainty at ABC is that the palace intrigue surrounding the Sweeney successor selection will be as compelling to Alphabet insiders as any plot twists on “Scandal” or “Revenge” in the coming weeks.

 

More TV

  • Supergirl -- "Crisis on Infinite Earths:

    'Crisis on Infinite Earths' Recap: A 'Titans' Cameo and a Fallen Hero

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part One,” the premiere of the 2019 “Arrowverse” crossover. Bringing “Crisis on Infinite Earths” to the small screen has been years in the making, so it’s no surprise the epic five-part crossover kicked off with plenty of action on Sunday night [...]

  • Supergirl -- "Crisis on Infinite Earths:

    'Arrowverse' Team on 'Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part One' Loss and Crossover Stakes (SPOILERS)

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part One,” the premiere of the 2019 “Arrowverse” crossover event on the CW. The “Arrowverse” “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover kicked off with a bang: Oliver Queen aka the Green Arrow’s (Stephen Amell) death. With “Crisis” finally here, Harbinger (Audrey Marie [...]

  • Caroll Spinney & The Grouch36th Annual

    Caroll Spinney: Henson Family, 'Sesame Street' Colleagues Salute Muppet Performer

    Caroll Spinney, the puppet performer behind “Sesame Street’s” indelible Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, was remembered by friends and colleagues as a gifted artist who dedicated his professional life to the show’s mission of educating pre-schoolers. Spinney died Sunday at his home in Connecticut at the age of 85. He limned the Big Bird [...]

  • Rene Auberjonois at the International Myeloma

    René Auberjonois, 'Star Trek' and 'Boston Legal' Actor, Dies at 79

    René Auberjonois, best known for his roles in “Boston Legal” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” died at his home in Los Angeles due to metastatic lung cancer. He was 79. His son Rèmy-Luc confirmed the news to the Associated Press. Auberjonois was a prolific television actor, appearing as Paul Lewiston in 71 episodes of [...]

  • Caroll Spinney, with "Oscar the Grouch,"

    Caroll Spinney, Puppeteer Behind Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, Dies at 85

    Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer who played Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch for 49 years at “Sesame Street,” died Sunday in Connecticut after living with dystonia. He was 85. Sesame Workshop announced his death, calling him an “artistic genius” whose “legacy here at Sesame Workshop and in the cultural firmament will be unending.” Spinney’s death [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content