LOS ANGELES (AP) — The head of ABC entertainment is exiting amid low ratings and will be replaced by the first African-American to head a broadcast TV network.
ABC Entertainment Group President Paul Lee has decided to leave, the network announced Wednesday.
His successor is Channing Dungey, who has been ABC Entertainment Group's executive vice president for drama development, movies and miniseries, overseeing drama pilots and series' launches.
Dungey shepherded ABC hits including "Scandal," "How to Get Away with Murder" and "Quantico."
The changeover comes a year after Ben Sherwood became president of the Disney-ABC TV Group and after Lee's nearly six years as programming chief.
"Channing is a gifted leader and a proven magnet for top creative talent, with an impressive record" of helping to create compelling and popular series, Sherwood said in a statement.
Dungey is both the first black network programming chief and a rare female executive.
Dungey said in a statement that she is "thrilled and humbled" by the opportunity.
Lee, in a statement issued by ABC, said he was proud of the team that he built at the network and wished Dungey well. He did not say why he was leaving or what his next job would be.
The British-born Lee can claim credit for bringing notable diversity to ABC with shows including "black-ish" and "Fresh Off the Boat." The network also became home to megaproducer Shonda Rhimes' series that feature multi-ethnic casts and black stars.
They include Viola Davis in "How to Get Away with Murder" and Kerry Washington in "Scandal."
Lee's schedule earned strong ratings in the 2014-15 season and still has impressive performers, especially Rhimes' Thursday night block of series.
ABC ranks third behind NBC and CBS, the leader with 11.7 million viewers. Last season, ABC averaged 8 million viewers.