Few names in the television industry elicit as powerful of a response as that of Brian Frons. To millions of soap fans, he is the man whose decisions over the past decades have systemically deconstructed a powerful brand that ABC had built over more than 30 years. Now, Brian Frons is out as President of ABC Daytime. Vicki Dummer, Sr. Vice President of Current Series and Specials, will replace him.
"While my decision to try something new was not arrived at easily, nine years is a long time in television terms. I'm proud of the performance of ABC Daytime over that time, and of all of the accomplishments that our team achieved along the way," Frons said. "I'm especially pleased by the early results for The Chew and excited for the launch of The Revolution, which will be one more positive step in transforming ABC Daytime for our viewers. I'll miss my colleagues and the wonderful talent that makes our shows, but know they are in very capable hands with Vicki going forward."
As Frons exits, ABC Daytime will also get a rebranding. The new programming division will be called Times Square Studios. That division will focus on current entertainment programming and non-scripted lifestyle programming, which has been the focus of ABC's new programming, including The Chew, which bowed as a replacement for All My Children in September, and The Revolution, which debuts in January after the conclusion of One Life to Live.
"Brian Frons has been the driving force in our successful Daytime division since joining us in 2002, and while we understand his decision to leave at the end of his contract, we're sad to see him go," Anne Sweeney, President, Disney-ABC TV Group, said in a statement. "We took this opportunity to rethink our business, and the result was the creation of Times Square Studios. Having it be part of the ABC Entertainment Group, under the supervision of proven executives Vicki Dummer and Paul Lee, provides us the opportunity to bring greater creative resources, development strength and operational flexibility to this key area of our business."
The Hollywood Reporter reports that Frons made the decision to depart, and that he was not fired. It is unclear if he has another job lined up. Frons will, however, remain onboard with ABC to help the transition process. He'll leave the network entirely when his contract expires in January 2012.
Brian Frons was named President of ABC Daytime in August 2002, succeeding Angela Shapiro. Frons joined ABC with previous experience as a daytime programming executive at both CBS and NBC. Frons also worked for the London-based SBS Broadcasting, S.A., where he most recently served as senior vice president of Programming, overseeing all programming, promotion, and research operations for twelve SBS-owned and operated channels reaching about 125 million European viewers.
Within an hour of the announcement that Frons was stepping down, "Frons" began trending on Twitter, a barometer of the most-talked about topics on the social media platform.