ABC shakes up its marketing team
Walt Disney Co.'s ABC is again shaking up its executive ranks, this time just days before the fall television season starts. Leaving is Mike Benson, the network's veteran executive vice president of marketing who played a key role in the successful promotional campaigns for ABC hits "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives" and more recently "Modern Family."
The departure of Benson comes just a little more than a month after Paul Lee was named president of ABC Entertainment, succeeding Steve McPherson, who left hastily in late July. Lee previously had run the ABC Family cable channel.
It is not unusual for a new network president to want to make changes in the staff he inherits. Benson is not being replaced, and Lee has indicated that he'll take a more hands-on approach to the network's marketing efforts. Also staying on is Marla Provencio, the network's other executive vice president of marketing.
Whether there will be other restructurings within ABC's entertainment division remains to be seen. Lee has inherited a bunch of shows that he did not make or schedule. About the only thing he can do right now is at least try to build awareness for them.
Heading into the fall, ABC has several holes to fill, particularly in the 10 p.m. hour. Its new shows, which will debut in the next couple of weeks, have not gotten a lot of buzz from television critics. News of Benson's exit from ABC was first reported by New York Magazines Vulture blog.
-- Joe Flint