Ross Leaves ABC’s ‘primetime>live’

Mar 14, 2005  •  Post A Comment

For the second time in less than a year, hard-driving executive producer Shelley Ross finds herself facing an abrupt change of assignment. ABC News announced Monday that she is leaving ABC News’ “primetime>live” effective immediately.

“20/20” executive producer David Sloan will double as interim executive producer of “primetime,” which has continued to struggle under Ms. Ross this season at 10 p.m. Thursdays against NBC’s re-energized “E.R.” and CBS’s “Without a Trace,” but which eked out a 2 percent year-to-year increase in 18- to 49-year-old viewers to finish second only to “20/20” in the demo among newsmagazines for the February sweeps ratings period. Season-to-date, “primetime” is down 16 percent in total viewers and 24 percent in the 18 to 49 demo.

Ms. Ross was named executive producer of “Good Morning America” when the Charles Gibson-Diane Sawyer era began in 1999. The ABC morning show’s ratings perked up over the next five years, but staff turnover and turmoil finally forced ABC News management in April 2004 to move Ms. Ross to “primetime,” where gossip started anew about her management style and staff morale.

Ms. Ross will continue to report to ABC News Senior VP Phyllis McGrady. Her new role will allow her to pitch, develop and produce projects for all divisions of the network, including ABC News.