Disney promotes ABC News chief Sherwood to top TV job

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[March 25, 2014]  (Reuters) ABC News President Ben Sherwood next year will replace Anne Sweeney as co-chairman of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney/ABC Television Group, Walt Disney Co said on Monday.

The appointment will take effect on February 1, but the transition will begin immediately, Disney said. Sherwood will continue to oversee ABC News until a successor is named.

In his new job, he will have charge of the ABC broadcast network and cable channels including the Disney Channels and ABC Family.

Sherwood, who oversaw ABC's "Good Morning America" as it rose to become the No. 1 morning news program in the United States, was seen as a potential candidate after longtime executive Sweeney said on March 11 she was leaving Disney to pursue a career in television directing. She will remain in her current job through January.

Sherwood started at Disney in 1989 and held jobs as a producer in the news division. He later moved to NBC News before returning to ABC in 2004.

As ABC News president, Sherwood created an online news partnership with Yahoo that now reaches nearly 100 million people and formed a joint venture with Univision, the Fusion cable network aimed at young Hispanic viewers.

He also is the author of 2010 novel "The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud," the basis of a feature film.

ESPN President John Skipper is the other co-chairman of Disney Media Networks.

(Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York and Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Lisa Von Ahn)

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