Reaching inside its ranks, The Walt Disney Co. has tapped TV and radio executive Michael Riley as president of ABC Family.
Riley, who succeeds Paul Lee, now the president of ABC Entertainment, will have oversight of ABC Family's original programming and acquisitions, franchise management, marketing, sales and operations, and be responsible for its overall strategic and creative direction.
Most recently senior vice president and general manager of Radio Disney, Riley will report to Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks & president, Disney/ABC Television Group.
He joins the network, which is coming off its most-watched year ever in 2009 and pacing at record levels in 2010, with such series as The Secret Life of an American Teenager and Pretty Little Liars, plus successful holiday and Christmas programming stunts and a slate of telefilms.
At Radio Disney, Riley oversaw the strategic management of the network and its portfolio of 36-owned radio stations, leading them to record ratings through original multi-platform content achievements. He joined Disneyin April 2008. An announcement regarding a new general manager for Radio Disney is expected to be made in the near future.
Previously Riley was senior vice president and general manager, Turner Broadcasting System, Europe, Middle East and Africa. In this post, he was responsible for developing the CNN commercial strategy and the overall brand strategy for the entertainment channels Cartoon Network, Boomerang, TCM, TNT and Adult Swim in Germany, Northern Europe, Middle East and Africa.
From 2004-06 he served as vice president and general manager, Turner Broadcasting System France, with responsibility for all Turner channels in that market. From 2000-03, he was vice president, Turner Classic Movies, Europe, Middle East and Africa, and from 1997-2000 he was vice president, business development, television and interactive Media, Cartoon Network and Turner Classic Movies.
"Michael's talent and drive are eclipsed only by the enthusiasm and passion he brings to every opportunity," said Sweeny in a statement. "I'm confident his unique set of skills and experience will help us further ABC Family's amazing momentum."
Noted Riley: "I am extremely proud to have been part of a great team at Radio Disney and very much look forward to joining the incredibly passionate and inventive team at ABC Family. Their success over the past few years has been exceptional, driven by innovative storytelling, unique characters and iconic branding, and I'm honored to be given the opportunity to help build this amazing Millennial brand."
On July 30, Lee replaced McPherson, who resigned just days before the Television Critics Association's summer press tour.
Some reports speculated that Andrea Wong, the former head of Lifetime Televison and ABC programming executive, was a strong candidate to replace Lee atop ABC Family.