Ben Sherwood, currently head of ABC’s news division, will take over as president of Disney/ABC Television Group, giving him oversight of the broadcast network as well as the cable assets. It was under Sherwood’s watch that ABC’s Good Morning America topped NBC’s Today Show, a hugely profitable win.
Sherwood is not the first newsie thrown into running a whole network. It hasn’t always gone well, but Disney’s hoping Sherwood will be like Howard Stringer, another former news chief who went on to successful runs leading CBS and Sony.
Disney has some high performing cable channels, but its flagship broadcast network is hurting. Sherwood will need to find new winning comedies and deal with the problems hurting other networks, especially audience fragmentation online and difficulty attracting young male viewers.