After a racist tweet about President Obama’s former adviser, comedian Roseanne Barr lost her hit show on ABC. The reaction from the network was swift and severe, with the president of ABC, Channing Dungey, commenting, “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.” In the uproar, many may have been surprised to find out that the president of ABC is a black woman. Dungey is on Black Enterprise’s most recent Most Powerful Women in Business list as well as part of the Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America roster.
Dungey was named president of ABC in 2016. She is the first African American to lead programming at a major broadcast network. She started her career with ABC in 2009 and helped develop many of the network’s hit shows’, including Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder, and American Crime.
She has years of experience in the entertainment space, having started her career as a development assistant for Davis Entertainment at 20th Century Fox. Following her work with Fox, she became a story editor at Steamroller Productions before joining Warner Bros. as a production executive, helping to develop films such as The Matrix, Bridges of Madison County, Heat, and Practical Magic. In her most recent role at ABC, she served as executive vice president of drama.
Paul Lee was the preceding president at ABC. According to Variety, a report in The New York Times in 2016 suggested that Lee clashed with Ben Sherwood, who became co-chairman of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney-ABC Television Group in 2015, leading to Lee’s exit and Dungey’s appointment.
“I’m thrilled and humbled that Ben has entrusted me with this tremendous opportunity,” said Dungey after her promotion. “And I am truly grateful to Paul for being a valued mentor and friend. I’ve had the great honor of working alongside the talented team at ABC for many years and look forward to starting this exciting new chapter with them.”
—Additional reporting by Courtney Connley