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James Goldston is the new president of ABC News. Goldston and his predecessor Ben Sherwood, who was named co-president of Disney/ABC TV two weeks ago, just broke the news to ABC News staffers on the fifth floor at ABC’s New York headquarters, to applause, insiders tell us.
For the last two years, Goldston has been Senior Vice President at the news division of the ABC network.
Goldston joined ABC News in 2004 from Britain’s ITV. Following a stint as Senior Producer of primetime specials and investigations, he was promoted to Executive Producer of “Nightline,” a position he held until 2011. Goldston then joined “Good Morning America” as Senior EP as the show gained on, and eventually overtook NBC’s “Today” as the most-watched morning show.
Sherwood will assist with the transition over the next couple of weeks, before devoting his attention to his new job as co-president of Disney/ABC TV. He’ll fully take over the top job at the ABC network when Anne Sweeney steps down early next year.
Insiders tell us Sherwood started the 9am editorial meeting, attended by staffers around the world, before giving up his seat, literally, to Goldston, who praised Sherwood for having “big dreams.” Also on the editorial call, Goldston’s parents who phoned in from England. Goldston thanked them for sacrificing so much to allow him to be the first person on either side of his family to graduate from college — Jesus College at Oxford, no less.
With Goldston’s appointment, two of the heads of the big three American broadcast news divisions are British. NBC News president Deborah Turness, also an ITV alum, is from Hertfordshire, north of London.
The full news release, after the jump…
Burbank, CA/New York, NY — Thursday, April 10, 2014 — As part of the ongoing succession process, Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group, today announced that ABC News Senior Vice President James Goldston has been named president, ABC News, replacing Ben Sherwood, who was recently promoted to co-president, Disney/ABC Television Group.
In this role, Mr. Goldston will be responsible for all editorial and business aspects of the News Division, including all ABC News programs on the ABC Television Network, ABC News Radio, ABC News.com and ABC News NOW.
In making the announcement, Ms. Sweeney stated, “James has been an integral part of the resurgence at ABC News, lending his insight and expertise to our News programs as they’ve experienced tremendous success and momentum. He’s smart, strategic and fearless in his pursuit of creative excellence.”
In a note to ABC staff, Mr. Sherwood said, “An award-winning journalist, masterful programmer, and innovative businessman, James has helped steer ABC News in moments of triumph and adversity,” said Mr. Sherwood. “I am confident he is the right person to lead ABC News to an even brighter and better future.”
“Coming to ABC News has been the most exciting and rewarding time in my life. The people of ABC News amaze me every day with their dedication, creativity, hunger for the truth and sense of duty to our vitally important mission,” said Mr. Goldston. “Over the past three years, Ben inspired the division with the two most important things we needed – confidence in the future and a belief that if we dreamed big dreams we could accomplish anything. Armed with those, I know our incredible team will take ABC News to even greater heights.”
Mr. Goldston was named Senior Vice President for Content and Development of ABC News in March 2012. In this role, he oversaw ABC News programs and Executive Producers and led the development of new shows for broadcast, cable and other distribution.
Prior to his role as Senior Vice President, Mr. Goldston was the Senior Executive Producer of “Good Morning America” from February 2011-March 2012, the historic and pivotal time in which “Good Morning America” closed in on “Today’s” 16-year winning streak to ultimately become the number one morning show in April 2012.
Mr. Goldston joined ABC News in 2004 as Senior Producer of primetime specials and investigations and was promoted shortly thereafter to Executive Producer of “Nightline,” a position he held until 2011. Under his leadership, “Nightline” rose to the number one program in late night and was honored with many awards, including a duPont, a Murrow and multiple Emmy Awards.
Before joining ABC News, Mr. Goldston led Britain’s most watched current affairs program, ITV1’s “Tonight with Trevor McDonald,” from 2002-2004. During his tenure as both Producer and Executive Producer, “Tonight” was honored with the prestigious Program of the Year Award three times in five years.
A graduate of Jesus College, Oxford University, Mr. Goldston began his career in television as a producer for several BBC News programs, including “Newsnight,” the network’s nightly news analysis show, as well as BBC’s flagship current affairs program, “Panorama.”