Ben Sherwood, Former ABC News President, Will Lead The Daily Beast

By Ethan Alter 

Five years after parting ways with the Disney-ABC Television Group, Ben Sherwood is getting back in the media game. The one-time ABC News president has been granted a minority stake in The Daily Beast, the news and opinion site created by Tina Brown in 2008 an owned by Barry Diller‘s IAC Inc.

Sherwood will serve as publisher and CEO and his partner in the deal—Joanna Coles, former chief content officer of Hearst Magazines—will be the Beast’s incoming chief creative and content officer. The deal was first reported by Puck’s Dylan Byers over the weekend and confirmed by IAC on Monday.

“Timing is everything, and the current media hellstorm feels like the ideal moment to jump back into journalism,” Sherwood observed in a statement announcing the partnership. “With so much disruption—or maybe because of it—we believe this is the ideal entrepreneurial opportunity to deliver on The Beast’s insurgent promise. We are excited to work with the dynamic team at The Beast, cultivate and recruit great talent, and help unleash its populist potential.”


First joining ABC in 1989 as a investigative associate producer on Primetime Live, Sherwood became executive producer of Good Morning America in 2004. Six years later, he was named president of ABC News, and was promoted to president of Disney-ABC Television Group in 2015. Sherwood departed the role in 2019 after Disney acquired 21st Century Fox and went on to found the youth sports company, Mojo.

In an interview with The New York Times, Sherwood previewed his strategy for bringing The Daily Beast to profitability, including an increased emphasis on subscriptions and events. “The first and most important piece is to get in there, to assess, to observe and then to begin to influence how we make great stuff and how we make people feel that The Daily Beast is a guilty necessity of every single day,” he said.

“When Ben and Joanna made this presentation, I’d really gotten to the point where I was kind of skeptical that anything would work out, other than selling it,” Diller told the Times. “But I was so impressed with their concept, their energy and their interest.”