Moran, who had headed drama development at 20th Century Fox TV, joined ABC Studies as SVP and head of drama in 2010 and was named EVP and tasked with running the studio in 2013. His new title reflects the changed reporting structure following the February exit of ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee. Moran used to report to Lee; he now reports directly to Disney Media Networks co-chairman Ben Sherwood alongside Lee’s successor, ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey. The move gives ABC Studios more autonomy within the company.
The title bump and contract renewal also solidify Moran’s position at Disney/ABC where he is well liked. During his tenure at ABC Studios so far, he has led a charge for building up the studio from primarily a production arm of ABC into a supplier for broadcast, cable and streaming networks. The studio has three scripted series on CBS, the two Criminal Minds shows and Code Black, as well as the package of Marvel series on Netflix, the upcoming Marvel’s Runaways on Hulu, Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger as well as Dead of Summer at Freeform and comedy pilot SMILF on Showtime. Some of the projects hail from ABC Signature, the cable/streaming division of ABC Studios launched by Moran. ABC Studios has produced pilots for all other major broadcast networks, landing series on CBS and Fox (Grandfathered).
“Under Patrick’s leadership, ABC Studios has grown as a beacon of creativity and excellence, developing award-winning and captivating content with loyal audiences everywhere,” Sherwood said. “As the demand for great content increases and viewer behavior evolves, Patrick’s savvy as a creative and business leader will help drive ABC Studios to even greater heights.”
Like the other TV companies, Disney/ABC is looking to ramp up its production operations to take advantage of the rising content demand across multiple platforms. Additionally, the importance of a studio affiliated with a network has increased recently as networks make a push for program ownership so they control content rights. In that aspect, ABC Studios had a so-so 2016 pilot season but, while most new drama series picked up by ABC for next season originated at outside studios, giving them international distribution, ABC Studios co-produces them. And ABC Studios dominated ABC’s scripted series pickups the seasons before last in a business ruled by fluctuations. The studio is behind all of ABC’s returning drama series, including staples Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, Once Upon a Time, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, How to Get Away with Murder and American Crime, and recently delivered breakout hits for the network with Emmy-nominated comedy Black-ish and drama Quantico. ABC Studios is home to top writer-producers Shonda Rhimes, whose Shondaland banner produces four drama series, American Crime‘s John Ridley and Black-ish’s Kenya Barris.
“I’m honored that Ben has given me this vote of confidence and look forward to continuing to bring together amazing stories, creative talent and high-quality production in order to build ABC Studios into the world’s preeminent supplier of premium content,” Moran said.