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ABC Marketing Co-Head Steps Down

By | Friday September 10, 2010 @ 1:12pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

New ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee has made his first executive move. EVP marketing Mike Benson is stepping down, leaving fellow EVP Marla Provencio as the sole head of the network’s marketing department. Lee is said to be looking to go in a new direction with the network’s marketing strategy. Benson and Provencio were named EVPs marketing for the ABC Entertainment Group in June 2009, overseeing together all marketing for ABC’s primetime and late-night programs. Benson joined ABC Entertainment in 1998 as SVP advertising and promotion. The move comes as ABC is wrapping up its fall launch marketing campaign designed to support the network’s seven new fall series.

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TCA: New ABC Chief Paul Lee Makes Debut

Nellie Andreeva

For a guy who confessed that as a Brit he is way too self-conscious to dance, new ABC Family Entertainment Group president Paul Lee did a pretty good job tap dancing around the controversial issues surrounding the departure of his predecessor Stephen McPherson. Facing the press and TV critics 36 hours after being officially appointed to the job, Lee looked confident, and the sleeves of his plaid shirt were symbolically rolled up. There will be no changes to ABC’s fall launch plans, Lee said. “We’re locked and loaded. If you  make last-minute changes, you can make more damages than good. Nor is he planning to emulate ABC Family’s focus on “millennials” by making ABC skew younger. ”This is a core 18-to-49 channel,” he emphasized. Mostly Lee stuck to his talking pointsy, and, in his answers played up his status as an outsider. He also kept reverting to his previous experiences running BBC America and ABC Family and working as showrunner in the UK – rather than discussing his plans for ABC.

“There are a lot more people here than when we were trying to launch Wildfire on ABC Family,” Lee quipped as he was taking his seat on stage. He opened with a thank-you to the critics for their support through the years (smooth move). And a disclaimer. “I’m super unprepared, being in this job for 36 hours, so I apologize in advance if I don’t have all the answers.” He hardly had any. Lee’s comment on his boss, Anne … Read More »

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TCA: No ‘Idol’ Judge News On Monday

Nellie Andreeva

Despite speculation about the new judges on American Idol reaching fever pitch, word is that Fox will not make any announcements at its TCA presentation Monday as previously anticipated. On the other hand, new ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee, who had been a question mark for ABC’s TCA session on Sunday, is now confirmed after his appointment was officially announced today.

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TOLDJA! Disney Names ABC Family’s Paul Lee To ABC Entertainment Group President

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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The Network Builder: Former War Reporter Paul Lee Goes For a Three-peat At ABC

Nellie Andreeva

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 »

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ABC Family’s Paul Lee Taking Over ABC Entertainment Group After President Steve McPherson Resigns

4TH UPDATE 6:30 PM: We’ve just confirmed that ABC Family President Paul Lee will take over as president of ABC Entertainment Group. Just like Steve McPherson, Lee will manage both ABC Entertainment and ABC Studios. “Paul Lee has had incredible success for the last 6 years and has built the ABC Family brand from scratch,” a Disney insider praised. Interesting how this all went down before the Television Critics Association’s upcoming executive sessions this week. Lee’s promotion has been imminent because of his success with original programming on the cable channel that “had a fuddy-duddy image” and was saddled with that preacher” — since Pat Robertson still controls several hours of programming time on the channel, the insider noted. “Paul made it a destination place for young and hip people.”

Like McPherson, Lee started his job as president of ABC Family in 2004 when both were appointed as part of a big restructuring across Disney’s TV divisions. Since then, the cable channel has posted six years of consecutive growth and has launched its first runaway hit, The Secret Life of American Teenager. ABC Family’s roster of shows developed under Lee’s watch also includes the channel’s first buzzworthy drama Kyle XY, established series Greek and Make It or Break It, recent additions Pretty Little Liars and Huge and the upcoming Melissa Joan Hart-Joey Lawrence comedy Melissa & Joey. Before joining ABC Family, Lee was CEO … Read More »

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