Sushi for Twelve, $482 plus delivery f ABC President Channing Dungey & Ben Sherwood Discuss Future of Network

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ABC President Channing Dungey & Ben Sherwood Discuss Future of Network

Thanks to Alex S for the heads up.

What does it mean to you to be the first African-American to lead a major broadcast network?

Dungey: [Laughs.] To look at it that way it’s overwhelming, and it’s been great. It’s really humbling, to be perfectly honest, for this to be happening in this way. People have said, “How does it feel to be a role model?” and I’ve always considered myself to be a role model to my daughter, which is first and foremost for me. But I do feel that if in this new role I encourage women of color to pursue careers in entertainment and along those lines, that for me is going to feel really rewarding and very satisfying.

What kinds of shows are you looking for? There’s talk that you’re going to be looking for more procedurals?

Sherwood: Let me just set the record straight on that; that is wildly overblown. We’re not sitting here talking about genres here; we’re not talking about more of X or less of Y, these are Channing’s decisions and these are going to be Patrick’s decisions. What we want to do is what’s going to be great for our network business and our studio business, and we’re going to make decisions with everything on the table about how to drive growth here and also around the world.

Dungey: These conversations are all taking place in certain terms a higher level sense because we’ve already, to a certain extent, charted a course with the development season. The pilots have been ordered and we’re making them and we’ll evaluate them all come May, and I think by that point we’ll have a lot more of our strategic thinking in place for where we’re continuing to take the company in the years to come.

Shonda Rhimes is clearly a tentpole of your schedule, but are you looking towards developing the next Shonda Rhimes?

Dungey: What I want ABC to be is a fantastic home for creative, talented people, and for us to be able to support them in bringing their ideas to the screen. So we’re always looking for new talents who are exciting and dynamic and have a real point of view.

Sherwood: We talk sometimes about how The Walt Disney Company is one of the most hospitable properties around the world, and we feel like we want to be in the hospitality business for talent and turn this into a place where the most creative people want to come and work and have the best experience. And again as your own reporting I’m sure has borne out, Channing has an extraordinary reputation as a magnet for talent; she’s amazing with creative people; she is legendary for her thoughtful, penetrating and incisive notes and comments about the work, and I think as I’ve gotten to know folks in the last couple of years here, I would hear over and over about how Channing is the person we want to work with; Channing is a person I want to spend time with; Channing is the person who I know is going to make this idea even better; and I think as we try to make ABC even more hospitable to talent and as more of a beacon to talent, Channing is going to be a great leader.