Former ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey — the exec who fired Roseanne Barr and developed hits such as Scandal and The Good Doctor — has landed a big new job at Netflix. Dungey is joining the streaming giant as vice-president of original content, a newly created and wide-ranging position which will give her oversight of what the company describes as “a large and crucial portion” of Netflix’s series slate. Dungey will report to longtime Netflix original series chief Cindy Holland, taking over day-to-day management of half of Holland’s existing group of executives and serving as a “partner with [Holland] in setting strategic direction” for the streamer’s series division, the company said in a release announcing the hiring. Just as importantly, Dungey will also oversee a big chunk of Netflix’s ever-expanding roster of production deals, a lineup which includes two showrunners she worked with at ABC (Shonda Rhimes and Kenya Barris), along with Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground Productions, Jenji Kohan, Marti Noxon, and Steven DeKnight. Dungey, who announced her departure from ABC last month and has already exited the network, starts her new Netflix life in February.
There’d been buzz Dungey was en route to Netflix since the moment she said she was leaving ABC. Initial reports in the Hollywood trades, however, focused on her taking a job working with one of the former ABC producers. Her gig ended up being far, far more significant: She’ll now essentially play a major role overseeing development and production of Netflix original series, working with the teams that green-lit programs such as The Crown, Orange Is the New Black, Narcos, and House of Cards. While Dungey will have a full plate at Netflix, it’s worth noting the streamer has a much more decentralized leadership structure than what’s in place at networks such as ABC. So even though Dungey will have several execs reporting to her, those suits will continue to have the ability to develop and green-light projects on their own. But as Holland has done, Dungey will play a key role setting the overall direction of her units (deciding to make more procedurals or teen comedies, for instance) and making sure Netflix’s new production companies (and showrunners) are happy. “She’s a risk taker and ground-breaker and talent love working with her,” Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in a press release announcing the hiring. Holland said she was looking forward “to partnering with her as we continue to grow and evolve our global network. I have been a fan of her character and approach from our early days as executives.”