The Disney ABC Television Group has announced "the formation of Times Square Studios, an integrated current entertainment programming and development division, following the announcement that Brian Frons, president, Daytime, Disney/ABC Television Group, will depart the Company at the end of his contract in January 2012. Through that date Mr. Frons will assist in transitioning to the new structure and will be available to provide counsel to the management team."
The announcement continued,"The new integrated 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."
Frons incurred the wrath of soap opera fans in April when he announced that ABC was cancelling the soaps "One Life to Live" and "All My Children."
Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks and president of the Disney ABC Television Group, said about Frons in a statement that he "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. 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.”
The announcement also said "Vicki Dummer, senior vice president, Current Series & Specials, ABC Entertainment Group, will be promoted to executive vice president, Times Square Studios, Current Series & Specials, adding oversight of this new programming and development area to her existing programming responsibilities. She will continue to report to Paul Lee, president, ABC Entertainment Group, who, with this announcement, adds Times Square Studios to his portfolio. 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 Ms. Dummer."
The soon to be leaving Frons said, in a statement, "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."