Following the unexpected departure of former ABC president Stephen McPherson, Disney announced today that Paul Lee, who has been head of the ABC Family cable channel for the past six years, will take over as the new president of the ABC Entertainment Group. Lee, whose new position will begin immediately, will oversee ABC Productions, as well as ABC Entertainment’s development, programming, marketing and scheduling operations.
As president of ABC Family, Lee was able to invigorate the once-struggling network by branding the channel as “A New Kind of Family,” bringing in such popular shows as “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” “Greek,” and “Pretty Little Liars.” Since Lee began the position in 2004, the channel’s viewership has been steadily growing. As of last week, the Nielsen Co. reports, ABC Family was the ninth-ranked ad supported network among 18-34 year olds all day, and the fifth-ranked network among the same demographic during prime time.
Hopefully Lee will have the same success with ABC, whose viewership has fallen in recent years. The network, who is currently ranked third out of the “big four” networks behind CBS and Fox, has produced such hits as “Lost,” “Desperate Housewives,” and “Dancing With the Stars.” But with “Lost” ending its run and shows like “Desperate Housewives” and “Grey’s Anatomy” losing their steam, the network is in need of fresh shows, such as the new comedy “Modern Family,” to bring back the network’s success.
“ABC is a great network defined by creativity and known for delivering some of the best shows on television,” Lee said, adding he was honored to be chosen “for the unique opportunity to lead the network and the brand into the future.”
On Sunday, Lee will meet with reporters and critics in Beverly Hills at the Television Critics Association conference to promote the network’s new fall schedule, which will include a slate of new shows such as the documentary-style drama “My Generation” and comedy-drama “No Ordinary Family.”
Lee’s successor at ABC Family has not yet been announced.