Abc Entertainment Chief Quits
After six years of front-office squabbling, ABC and Stephen McPherson, president of its entertainment division and head of ABC Studios, have parted company. He will be replaced by Paul Lee, head of the ABC Family channel. McPherson said in a statement that he plans to continue his wine business, add a new "entrepreneurial venture in the spirits business," and become involved in a new media company. McPherson's resignation comes just days before he was to announce ABC's fall slate at the television critics summer "tour" on Saturday. In reporting McPherson's resignation, the Hollywood Reporter commented today (Wednesday) "Given that the removal of an entertainment executive before the fall season signals dissatisfaction with the upcoming slate, it likely will be an awkward session for the network as it attempts to rally media enthusiasm for McPherson's final crop of ABC shows." Several reports about the resignation mentioned McPherson's often testy relationship with other Disney and ABC executives, including Disney Media Networks Co-chairman Anne Sweeney (although he reportedly had received solid support from Disney Chairman Robert Iger). McPherson's resignation was first reported by Nikki Finke and Nellie Andreeva at DeadlineHollywood.com. Later, in a separate positing, Andreeva noted that it occurred one year to the day following Ben Silverman's resignation at NBC. "Numerological Irony," she headlined.