Brian Frons, longtime president of ABC Daytime, will leave the company when his contract ends in January, and his departure will usher in a shakeup in the way that ABC's daytime roster will be handled, the network announced on Friday.
Going forward, the newly formed Times Square Studios — headed by Vicki Dummer — will oversee current entertainment programming and the development of new programming for ABC Daytime and Syndication.
Dummer is currently the network's Senior Vice President, Current Series & Specials. With the realignment, she will be promoted to executive vice president, Times Square Studios, Current Series & Specials.
Frons will assist in the transition period as the new structure is put in place.
In addition to Dummer's promotion, Abra Potkin, who'd formerly been with CBS News, has been hired on as senior vice president, East Coast Programming & Development, Times Square Studios. Ann Lewis Roberts, a veteran of ABC Daytime, has been promoted to senior vice president, West Coast Current Programming & Development, Times Square Studios. Both Potkin and Roberts will report to Dummer.
Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group, said that the new structure will allow the network to "bring greater creative resources, development strength and operational flexibility to this key area of our business.”
“While my decision to try something new was not arrived at easily, nine years is a long time in television terms," Frons, who came aboard as president of ABC Daytime in 2002, said. "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. "
Dummer said that she's "honored, humbled and thrilled to have been entrusted with this new opportunity, adding, "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 change comes during a period of upheaval for ABC's daytime roster, with the departure of long-running soap operas "All My Children," which went off the air in September, and "One Life to Live," which is scheduled to go off the air in January.
In her autobiography "All My Life: A Memoir," former "All My Children" star Susan Lucci blasted Frons for what she called "some very bad decisions." Lamenting his decision to replace "All My Children" with cheaper-to-produce, food-themed talk show "The Chew," Lucci wrote, "An iconic show was losing out to greed."