Before Tuesday, most people didn’t know who ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey was. However, after she canceled the reboot of the popular primetime sitcom “Roseanne,” she set social media ablaze.
Dungey is the the first African-American president of ABC Entertainment Group and the first African-American president of a major broadcast TV network. She’s been on the job since 2016 replacing Paul Lee.
It was no surprise that the racist tweet posted by Roseanne Barr caught the eye of her Black female boss who pulled the plug on the show. Barr tweeted about former aide to President Barack Obama Valarie Jarrett saying that she was the product of apes. Barr apologized but hours later ABC canceled the highly rated show.
“Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.” Dungey said in statement.
Barr has since blamed her social media blunder on the drug Ambien used to treat insomnia. Early Wednesday she went on another Twitter binge retweeting post from her supporters including those questioning why her tweet was considered racist. She also clapped back at her co-stars whom she said were “Throwing me under the bus.” She’s even claiming she didn’t know Jarrett was Black.
However, it was Dungey who had the final say over Barr and the show’s fate. She received support from Walt Disney Company, ABC’s parent company, chairman and CEO Bob Iger.
“There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing,” he said on Twitter.
Dungey also received accolades from top Black women in Hollywood including Ava DuVernay, Shanda Rimes and others who are celebrating Dungey’s move to cancel “Roseanne.”
Experts were reportedly surprised by the move due to the show’s explosive success. At the time the show was canceled it was one of the top rated shows in primetime and brought in millions in advertising. Preparations where being for the show’s second season.
Prior to taking her current position, Dungey was head of drama for ABC Entertainment overseeing the development of shows like Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder, which had Black women in leading roles. Many online are saying that Dungey is a sign of what much diversity looks like in Hollywood and the impact it can have.
“This is why representation matters. If a white man was in charge of ABC then Roseanne would probably still be on the air. Instead Channing Dungey took immediate action,” said comedian Sean Kent.
A native of Sacramento, Calif. Dungey graduated from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television in 1991. Prior to joined ABC in 2004, she worked for Davis Entertainment, and Warner Bros. where she worked as a development assistant. The Matrix and The Bridges of Madison County are two of the blockbuster films she worked on.
A married woman, Dungey and her husband adopted a daughter in 2012.