The Network Builder: Former War Reporter Paul Lee
ABC Family’s Paul Lee Taking Over ABC Entertainment Group
Burbank, CA – Anne Sweeney, Co-Chairman Disney/ABC Media Networks and President, Disney/ABC Television Group today announced today that former ABC Family President Paul Lee has been named President, ABC Entertainment Group, effective immediately.
In his new role with the ABC Entertainment Group, Lee has oversight of all creative and business operations for ABC Studios, as well as all development, programming, marketing and scheduling operations for ABC Entertainment.
In discussing the announcement, Sweeney stated: “Paul was hired six years ago because of his great creative instincts and his ability to identify an audience and develop programming that resonates with them, and those same strengths are why he was tapped for this new responsibility. Paul’s success at ABC Family is as amazing as it is indisputable, and I’m looking forward to his continued success on ABC.”
Lee added: “I’m proud of everything we achieved at ABC Family, and I’m looking forward to working with another great team at ABC Entertainment Group to bring even more compelling stories to viewers. ABC is a great network defined by creativity and known for delivering some of the best shows on television. I’m excited to be part of
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There is one element in Paul Lee’s background that in my opinion makes him well equipped for his new job as ABC Entertainment Group president. It’s not his 6-year tenure as president of ABC Family, he will find soon enough that broadcast TV is a whole new ball game. It’s not his degree from Oxford either, it is probably too highbrow for the populist nature of U.S. broadcast TV. It is Lee’s very first job out of college as a BBC reporter stationed in Belfast, Northern Ireland, covering the conflict during a particularly critical period. If he wasn’t afraid to step into a real-life crossfire, he probably won’t be intimidated by facing critics and reporters at TCA on Sunday or tough talent negotiations and difficult decisions at ABC in the future.
Lee, who turned 50 a couple of weeks ago, is asked to build a third consecutive TV network almost from scratch. He launched BBC America and put the channel on the map with such series as the British version of The Office and Changing Rooms, both of which were successfully remade by U.S. networks, NBC and TLC (Trading Spaces). Then at ABC Family, he inherited a neglected channel whose purchase had been deemed one of the worst business deals in TV history that was stuffed with repurposed ABC shows, no original series and a dying original movie franchise. He rebuilt the channel with a demo-focused original fare like The Secret Life of the American … Read More »