ABC News president Ben Sherwood got a champagne toast from his senior team Tuesday following the news of his promotion to co-president of Disney/ABC TV. Sherwood was tapped for the top job on Monday. He’ll take over for Anne Sweeney early next year. It’s the first time an ABC News president has moved up to the top job at the network. “People are thrilled at the prospect of having an ally like Ben in Burbank,” an ABC insider tells TVNewser.
Sherwood took the red eye back to New York Tuesday morning. In the 9am editorial meeting he got a round of applause from ABC News staffers in New York and beyond. “He was very humble and gave credit to the whole news division,” says our source.
Sherwood has been the boss at ABC News a little over three years — but still the veteran news division chief having been in the job a few months longer than Jeff Fager and David Rhodes at CBS. Deborah Turness took over at NBC News last summer.
ABC News already has a sizable chunk of ABC real estate, with three hours a day of news between “GMA” “World News” and “Nightline,” as well as “20/20,” “Nightline Prime”, and other primetime specials. The news division also experimented with “Good Afternoon America” in the summer of 2012.
Sherwood’s senior staff, including show EPs, met around 3pm yesterday for a champagne toast. We hear none of them pitched Sherwood on a new ABC show… at least not yet. Sherwood’s first order of business will be to choose his successor at ABC News.