News

Smith Out at ABC Family

3/26/2002 9:07 AM Eastern

Maureen Smith handed in her resignation as president of ABC Family Tuesday --
a move that's been expected ever since The Walt Disney Co. acquired the
network.

Smith has been president of the family-oriented network since September 2000,
when she was promoted and replaced Rich Cronin back when the service was still
called Fox Family Channel and was owned by Haim Saban and Rupert Murdoch's News
Corp.

So the real news will be Smith's successor, who will likely be named
shortly.

During the past four months, the names of several executives have surfaced as
potential replacements for Smith, including Lifetime Television president Carole
Black, former Hallmark Channel president Margaret Loesch and Linda Mancuso,
president of Peter Engel Productions, which is part of NBC Enterprises.

Back in December, Black vehemently denied any interest in the ABC Family gig.
But several sources said Black's name has been circulating again recently.
Lifetime officials couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday.

When Disney acquired Fox Family for $5.2 billion last year, ABC Cable
Networks president Anne Sweeney insisted that she and the Mouse House wanted
Smith to stay on board as president.

As it turned out, the programming side of ABC Family wound up being run by
Steve Bornstein, president of the ABC Television Group, and he is really calling
the shots regarding the cable network. That sealed Smith's fate.

Although Smith wasn't available for comment, she said in a prepared
statement, 'I made a commitment five months ago to stay through the channel's
transition, and my contribution is now complete.'

Smith, who doesn't have a new job lined up yet, is taking some time
off.

Want to read more stories like this?
Get our Free Newsletter Here!