Geri Wang to Lead ABC Sales

Walt Disney Co. has identified Mike Shaw’s replacement, naming longtime lieutenant Geri Wang president of sales and marketing, ABC Television Network.

A 20-year ABC veteran, Wang previously served as ABC’s senior vp of prime-time sales. She succeeds Shaw, who announced he was transitioning away from the network’s top sales post on Nov. 30.

Wang was generally considered the leading candidate for the job. At the time Shaw made it known that he was leaving ABC, rival ad sales executives and media buyers alike suggested that Wang was a shoe-in for the position.

In her new role, Wang will oversee sales and integrated marketing efforts for all day parts of the ABC broadcasting network, including prime time, daytime, ABC News and late-night. She will also have oversight of Disney/ABC Unlimited, Disney’s cross-platform sales unit, and will lead sales and integrated marketing efforts for SOAPnet.

Wang reports directly to Disney/ABC TV Group president Anne Sweeney.

“Since joining the company in 1990, Geri has proven herself to be a fierce advocate for ABC, someone who understands the value of our network and who has developed the skills and relationships necessary to ensure that value is fully recognized by the marketplace,” Sweeney said, by way of making the announcement. “She’s earned this promotion and I’m thrilled to have her as part of my senior team.”
Wang joined ABC as an associate director of daytime sales proposals. She was named vp of prime time sales in 1998; two years later, she was upped to senior vp of prime time sales.
A successor for Wang has not been named.

ABC has been a leader in the upfront marketplace, taking in $1.9 billion over the course of the compromised 2009-10 bazaar. The previous year, the network landed $2.4 billion in prime time commitments, at cost per-thousand increases of around 9 percent, the highest among the Big Four broadcast nets.

The network anticipates a healthy 2010-11 upfront marketplace, as its current scatter pricing is running “almost 30 percent above upfront levels,” according to Disney chief financial officer Jay Rasulo.

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