American broadcast network ABC is establishing a new programming and development division, Times Square Studios, with an aim towards creating more entertainment and unscripted lifestyle/health fare for daytime and syndication.
Vicki Dummer, formerly an SVP in alternative, specials & late-night for the net and most recently SVP, current series and specials, will be promoted to EVP, Times Square Studios, current series & specials, with this new development and programming responsibility added to her present duties. Remaining in Burbank, she will continue to report to ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee, who will also add Times Square Studios to his portfolio.
Brian Frons, president of daytime for Disney/ABC Television Group, will be departing from the network in January 2012. Frons joined ABC as president of daytime in 2002, and recently was a focal point for frustrated viewers reacting to the cancellation of long-running soaps All My Children and One Life to Live. The soap operas were replaced by lifestyle-oriented talk shows The Chew and the upcoming weight loss/transformational program The Revolution, set to debut early next year.
“Brian Frons has been the driving force in our successful daytime division since joining us in 2002, and while we understand his decision to leave at the end of his contract, we’re sad to see him go,” said Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group.
“We took this opportunity to rethink our business, and the result was the creation of Times Square Studios,” she added. “Having it be part of the ABC Entertainment Group, under the supervision of proven executives Vicki Dummer and Paul Lee, provides us the opportunity to bring greater creative resources, development strength and operational flexibility to this key area of our business.”
“I’m really excited by the possibilities of Times Square Studios, and I think Vicki’s broad experience across reality and scripted makes her the perfect person to lead the charge,” said Lee.
Former CBS News and entertainment development executive, Abra Potkin, has been hired as senior vice president, East Coast programming & development, for the new division; while Ann Lewis Roberts, a veteran of ABC’s daytime department, has been named senior vice president, West Coast current programming & development, Times Square Studios. Both will report to Dummer.
Current programming that will be part of the new structure includes The View, soap opera General Hospital, The Chew, The Revolution, Katie and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.