ABC Confirms Shift to Wieden

NEW YORK Wieden + Kennedy here has won media planning and buying duties for ABC TV network and the ABC Family cable channel, the client confirmed.

Omnicom Group’s OMD in Los Angeles handled the business for eight years.

The assignment covers categories such as entertainment, news, daytime and late-night programming for the cable channel and network, which air shows such as Jimmy Kimmel Live and Desperate Housewives.

Sources estimate billings close to $100 million. TNS Media Intelligence lists ABC’s media spend at $140 million in 2005.

ABC said it also talked to IPG’s Deutsch, Aegis Group’s Carat, Publicis Groupe’s Starcom and incumbent OMD.

According to Mike Benson, svp of marketing, advertising and promotion at ABC Entertainment, the impetus for the review was a mandate from Disney chief executive officer Bob Iger to “take a fresh look” at key business practices. At the end of the day, said Benson, “we were really impressed with the work that Wieden did for ESPN and Nike.”

The win serves as “validation of the work we have done over the years with their colleagues at ESPN,” said Buz Sawyer, managing director of Wieden in New York.

The independent agency handles media and creative for clients such as ESPN (which, like ABC, is owned by the Walt Disney Co.), Nike and Sharp Electronics.

This story updates an item posted earlier today with ABC’s confirmation and other details.