Netflix hires former ABC Entertainment head as VP of original content

Channing Dungey, the woman who led ABC Entertainment for three years and the first African-American to head programming at a major broadcast network, has landed at Netflix.

Dungey stepped down last month as president of ABC Entertainment and will join the streaming service in February as vice president of original content.

In the newly created role, Dungey will work with Netflix’s other VP of original content Cindy Holland on “setting strategic direction” for the streamer’s original content including overseeing the deals with producers Shonda Rhimes and Kenya Barris, two showrunners who also landed at Netflix after creating hit shows on ABC.

Dungey is a notable hire for Netflix as the company prepares to compete with a streaming service that is launching next year by ABC’s parent company, Disney. In addition to Barris and Rhimes, Netflix also poached producer Ryan Murphy from 21st Century Fox to beef up its slate of original content.

Dungey will also be working with Higher Ground Productions, the production company of Barack and Michelle Obama. The Obamas announced in May that they will be working in front of and behind the camera in a multi-year production deal with Netflix.

Netflix said last year that it will spend as much as $8 billion on shows and movies in 2018.

“Channing is a creative force whose taste and talent have earned her the admiration of her peers across the industry. She’s a risk taker and ground-breaker and talent love working with her,” Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, said in a statement.

Dungey said she was drawn to Netflix’s “forward-thinking, risk-taking and creative culture.”

“Given that ABC, the place I’ve called home for nearly 15 years, represents the gold standard of traditional broadcast, it feels like the perfect next step for me to join Netflix, the unparalleled leader in streaming,” she said in a statement.

Dungey was named president of ABC Entertainment in February 2016. Before that, she oversaw the development of hits such as “Scandal” and “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD.”

Dungey was replaced by Karey Burke in November, after Dana Walden was put in charge of the network as part of Disney’s merger with 21st Century Fox.

She was also behind the hiring and firing of Roseanne Barr. ABC’s relaunch of the hit sitcom starring Barr premiered to huge audiences, but was canceled due to a racist Twitter rant by its star.

“Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” Dungey said in a statement at the time.