In a surprise move, Steven Bornstein resigned his post as president of ABC
Television Tuesday 'to pursue other interests' after less than one year at the
No immediate replacement has been named, and sources said the position could
be eliminated altogether.
Since May 2001, Bornstein presided over broadcast network ABC, which has seen
its primetime ratings struggle mightily this season, as well as the recently
relaunched ABC Family, which has been involved in several public battles with
both operators and direct-broadcast satellite providers over licensing fees.
Nevertheless, The Walt Disney Co. president and CEO Robert Iger said in a
statement that Bornstein was 'instrumental in the development of numerous cable
and online businesses and played key roles in the enormous success of ESPN and
the successful launch of the ABC Family Channel.'
Bornstein said in a statement, 'There are other interests I wish to pursue,
and now is an appropriate time to do this.'
Prior to becoming ABC Television president, Bornstein spent the past 22 years
serving in several key Disney executive positions -- chairman of Walt Disney
Internet Group, president of ABC Inc., president and CEO of ESPN and president
of ABC Sports.
While at ESPN, Bornstein was instrumental in launching ESPN2, ESPNews, ESPN
Classic and ESPN Radio.
Sources at ESPN said company executives were 'shocked' by the
Sources also said no immediate replacement is expected, although current ESPN
president George Bodenheimer and Lifetime Television president Carole Black have
been rumored as possible successors.
Lifetime officials, however, denied that Black is leaving for the post.
ESPN executives would not comment on the matter.
Sources also said the position could be phased out as part of an overall
restructuring of the division.