Steve McPherson has been wanting ABC Studios brought under his control for a very long time, as I’d previously reported back in September. See my What’s Really Going On At ABC Studios…

DISNEY-ABC TELEVISION GROUP ANNOUNCES ORGANIZATIONAL RESTRUCTURE

ABC ENTERTAINMENT AND ABC STUDIOS TO BE HEADED BY STEPHEN McPHERSON

MARK PEDOWITZ TO BECOME SENIOR ADVISOR TO THE OFFICE OF THE CO-CHAIRMAN, REPORTING TO ANNE SWEENEY

Thursday, January 22, 2009 — (Burbank, CA) Responding to the changing realities of the entertainment landscape, and addressing an opportunity to streamline the creative process, ABC Entertainment and ABC Studios will be operated as a coordinated business unit entitled ABC Entertainment Group, it was announced today by Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney-Media Networks and president, Disney-ABC Television Group. This newly formed unit will be managed by President Stephen McPherson, who had previously served as president, ABC Entertainment. Mark Pedowitz, former president, ABC Studios, has moved into a new role as senior advisor to the Office of the Co-Chairman, where he will work alongside Ms. Sweeney on a myriad of evolving business, labor relations and emerging media issues.

In commenting on the announcement, Ms. Sweeney stated, “The landscape of our business, and an opportunity to coalesce the creative process dictated this change in structure. By operating these units in a coordinated fashion, we’ll be able to present the industry with a unified, cohesive creative vision for ABC programming, which will serve us well as we move forward.” She continued, “Thanks to the quality of leadership and professional excellence exhibited by both Steve and Mark, we are able to implement this change and ensure that a smooth integration occurs. Mark’s years of experience on both the business and creative sides of the equation make him the perfect person to have in a key advisory position, especially with the multitude and complexity of the issues facing our industry today. And there is no one more passionate about the creative process, with as much proven business acumen, as Steve. This combination is why I’m so excited about this new management structure, and what it means for the future of the Disney-ABC Television Group.”

The newly formed ABC Entertainment Group will combine ABC Studios and ABC Entertainment, with all operations of the two separate units reporting to Mr. McPherson. The new division’s primary mandate will be to develop and produce compelling programming for broadcast on ABC. However, when appropriate, the studio will look for outside opportunities. The successful partnership between ABC Studios and ABC Entertainment prior to this announcement has delivered some of the most successful, talked-about and evolutionary series on television today, including “Desperate Housewives,” “Lost,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Ugly Betty” and “Brothers & Sisters.” Mr. McPherson will spend the next few months integrating the units, with input from Mr. Pedowitz.

Mr. McPherson, who had previously served as president of the studio when it was named Touchstone Television and developed “Desperate Housewives,” “Lost” and “Grey’s Anatomy” prior to assuming oversight of the network, commented, “I’m thrilled and honored that Anne has entrusted me once again with the Studio, and I’m looking forward to discovering ways in which the studio-network relationship, which has been pretty impressive to date, can be even more potent and successful going forward.”

Mr. Pedowitz, whose four-plus year oversight of ABC Studios resulted in some of the most successful and prolific creative development in its history, added, “I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve been able to achieve at ABC Studios over the past few years – from venturing into first-run syndication with ‘Legend of the Seeker’ to producing for cable with the hits ‘Kyle XY’ and ‘Army Wives’ to developing some of the new hits on ABC. I look forward to advising Anne on the major issues and challenges facing us as a company.”