Yesterday ABC announced that their head of drama development Channing Dungey would be taking over the reigns as President of Entertainment. This is a game changer for networks, studios and content platforms as Dungey becomes the first African American to head of programming at a major broadcast network. Dungey has an impressive resume as an executive having developed SCANDAL, AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D., QUANTICO, HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER and AMERICAN CRIME. These shows all feature male and female characters who are equal parts strong and dysfunctional, just as we all are. The casts are ethnically and culturally diverse. Gay, lesbian and bisexual characters are written as fully formed human beings.
As television and other content platforms have made strides in representing the diversity of the world we live in on-screen, it’s time that they do the same behind the scenes. Dungey’s success as a development executive proves that having diverse voices as part of the development and decision making process only helps to create content that representative of our society. When there is more diversity among the executive ranks at networks, studios and other content platforms it helps to enhance the storytelling. People with diverse experiences bring different perspectives and provide a new takes on an old tales.
Dungey’s promotion to President of Entertainment at ABC gives hope and inspiration to all the non-caucasian male programming executives who just want the opportunity to be in the room, to be a part of the conversation and to have a voice. But for this to happen corporate leaders have to take the time and make the effort to recognize and develop them.
ABC took the first step, now its time for others to follow their lead. Good luck Channing, I’m rooting for you!