UPDATE 1 PM: The search for Michael Riley‘s replacement is still in the nascent stages, but his No. 2, EVP Original Programming and Development and Chief Creative Officer Kate Juergens, is being talked about as a logical choice. The main question is whether, following her recent promotion to a Chief Creative Officer, Juergens would want the top job. The situation is reminiscent of that at sibling Disney Channel, where the top creative executive, Gary Marsh, did not go for the president job when Rich Ross left to run Disney Studios. After the job became vacant again two years later when Carolina Lightcap left, Marsh took over. Juergens similarly had been ABC Family’s top development executive but did not make a play for the president position when Paul Lee left in 2010. Will she do it now?
PREVIOUS 12:05 PM: Michael Riley is leaving ABC Family after a three-year stint as president. The move comes on the heels of a strong summer for the cable network, which launched two breakout new series, The Fosters and Twisted, both of which have received back orders. Anne Sweeney, President, Disney/ABC Television Group, has asked Riley to stay on during the search for his replacement. Riley, who for the past few months has been commuting between Los Angeles and London, where his partner had relocated, is expected to look for opportunities in the international marketplace where he worked before joining Disney in 2008. (His experience in the arena includes stints as VP and general manager, Turner Broadcasting System France, and SVP and GM, Turner Broadcasting, Europe, Middle East and Africa). Canada-born Riley, who is fluent in French, was general manager of Radio Disney when he was handpicked by Sweeney in 2010 to succeed Paul Lee at the helm of ABC Family. “Michael has been a great leader over the past six years at Radio Disney and ABC Family, and his contributions will be felt for years to come,” Sweeney said. “While we understand and support his decision to leave, it will be sad to see him go. We wish him the best of luck on his next adventure.”
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