ABC Boss Channing Dungey Forgoes TCA Executive Session to Not ‘Compete’ With Disney Earnings Call

TCA 2018: ABC and NBC were the only broadcast networks to not field reporters’ questions on stage

Channing Dungey TCA
ABC/Image Group LA

ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey bowed out of an executive session at the network’s presentation at the Television Critics Association press tour on Tuesday, citing Disney’s earnings call as the reason.

It was announced by Disney|ABC corporate communications executive Jori Arancio at the top of ABC’s presentation that Dungey would not field questions from reporters on stage as the company “thought it best to not have an executive session [that would] compete” with Disney CEO Bob Iger’s earnings call with investors happening simultaneously.

Dungey likely would’ve been asked to discuss the network’s decision to cancel “Roseanne” after the star’s racist tweets earlier this year.

Dungey was present at the press tour throughout ABC’s presentation, and was made available to reporters on an “informal basis.”

Typically, network bosses or programming executives appear before reporters and critics at the biannual press tour to give updates and answer questions about the state of their networks. Of the five broadcast networks, ABC and NBC were the only ones not to put their executives on stage. The CW’s Mark Pedowitz, Fox’s Dana Walden and Gary Newman, and CBS’s Kelly Kahl all participated in executive sessions.

Kahl was faced with many tough questions about the current investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by CBS CEO Leslie Moonves and the assertion in recent reports that the company fosters a corporate culture that turns a blind eye toward abuse.

Dungey has not previously shied away from answering questions from the press. Since taking the reins at ABC in 2016, she has participated in multiple executive sessions at TCA press tours and conference calls to discuss the network’s annual upfront presentations in May.

When asked later by TheWrap why an ABC executive session at TCA would be in conflict with a parent-company earnings call, Dungey said the following: “Whenever Bob speaks to the press, the company really likes that to be the message that’s out. For good or ill, I’m ending up talking to a lot of people anyway.”