Following the announcement from Anne Sweeney (pictured, left) that she is leaving her post as TV chief at Disney-ABC Television Group, names making the rounds as possible successors include A+E Networks president and CEO Nancy Dubuc (right) and ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee.
Sweeney made the surprise announcement yesterday (March 11) via an internal company statement and a cover story interview with The Hollywood Reporter, in which she discussed the move.
In the interview, when asked if A+E’s Dubuc could be a possible successor, Sweeney replied: “I have no idea. But I can tell you I think the world of her. She’s doing a spectacular job.”
Disney CEO Bob Iger, also speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, said of the industry speculation concerning Dubuc or ABC News’ Ben Sherwood as frontrunners for the post: “Superstars find ways to do more in the companies they work for. And if they don’t, then it’s the company’s loss for not providing their superstars opportunity.”
Iger also told The New York Times that Sweeney’s replacement would be found internally.
“Anne runs a sprawling, important, global division, parts of which are seeing fast-paced change and a fair amount of challenges,” he said in the NYT interview. “We fortunately have a deep bench of talented, smart, experienced people.”
Other names operating within the Disney-ABC umbrella that have been bandied about concerning Sweeney’s replacement include Disney Channels Worldwide president Gary Marsh and Disney Media Networks global distribution president Benjamin Pyne.
Names from outside of the Mouse house that have been put forward by various trades include former BermanBraun and Fox exec Gail Berman and Xbox Entertainment Studios head Nancy Tellem.
The Disney-ABC Television Group includes the ABC broadcast network, currently in fourth place, Disney Channel, and ABC Family among other cable properties, and also holds a 50% stake in A+E Networks, of which Hearst holds the other 50% stake.