Brian Frons may be best-known – and vilified in some circles – as the guy who took nearly all soap operas off the ABC Daytime schedule. He’s now leaving the network as ABC reworks its Daytime operation.
Vicki Dummer, currently Sr. VP, Current Series and Specials, ABC Entertainment Group, is being promoted to head a new entity, Times Square Studios, which will handle programming and development of daytime and syndicated product for Disney/ABC. Her new title is Executive VP and she’ll continue to report to Paul Lee, president, ABC Entertainment Group.
Frons, currently President, Daytime, Disney/ABC Television Group, will assist with the transition and exit the company at the end of his contract in January 2012.
Abra Potkin, respected former CBS News and entertainment development executive, has been hired as senior vice president, East Coast Programming & Development, Times Square Studios; and ABC Daytime veteran Ann Lewis Roberts has been named senior vice president, West Coast Current Programming & Development, Times Square Studios. Both will report to Dummer.
“Brian Frons has been the driving force in our successful Daytime division since joining us in 2002, and while we understand his decision to leave at the end of his contract, we’re sad to see him go,” said Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group. “We took this opportunity to rethink our business, and the result was the creation of Times Square Studios. Having it be part of the ABC Entertainment Group, under the supervision of proven executives Vicki Dummer and Paul Lee, provides us the opportunity to bring greater creative resources, development strength and operational flexibility to this key area of our business,” she added.
“While my decision to try something new was not arrived at easily, nine years is a long time in television terms. I’m proud of the performance of ABC Daytime over that time, and of all of the accomplishments that our team achieved along the way. I’m especially pleased by the early results for ‘The Chew’ and excited for the launch of ‘The Revolution,’ which will be one more positive step in transforming ABC Daytime for our viewers. I’ll miss my colleagues and the wonderful talent that makes our shows, but know they are in very capable hands with Vicki going forward,” said Frons.
“I am honored, humbled and thrilled to have been entrusted with this new opportunity,” said Dummer. “Brian built an amazing team, and I’m looking forward to jumping into this new role and working with Abra, Ann and everyone in the group to make Times Square Studios a vibrant addition to our division.”
The new Times Square Studios division will have oversight of current entertainment programming and the development of new programming focused primarily in the areas of non-scripted lifestyle and health for Daytime and Syndication. The current programming that will be part of this structure going forward includes “The View,” “General Hospital,” “The Chew,” “The Revolution,” “Katie” and “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.” (“LIVE! with Kelly” remains part of the ABC Owned Television Stations Group division.)