When longtime ABC News President David Westin stepped down in September, rumors circulated that Disney CEO Bob Iger was looking for someone “more agile.”
Is Ben Sherwood it?
This morning Disney/ABC Television Group President Anne M. Sweeney announced Sherwood will succeed David Westin, after having left the network four years ago to focus on writing.
Based on what’s been written about Sherwood, he is an adaptive and, by some accounts, ruthless perfectionist. The Awl collected every unflattering thing written about him when his bestselling novel The Life and Death Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud was adapted into a film this summer, beginning (somewhat cruelly) with a long-lost Spy profile that describes a very young, ambitious and disliked Sherwood enjoying a Rhodes Scholarship he’d sought with some desperation.
With the boost of some prestigious internships, Sherwood went straight to the top of TV news, working as an investigative producer for Diane Sawyer on ABC, a broadcast producer for Tom Brokaw on NBC, and an executive producer for Good Morning America, where he earned some of the show’s highest ratings, as well as a reputation for competitiveness. He left TV in 2006 to write a nonfiction book, The Survivor’s Club, which became a bestseller.
Sherwood’s success in writing was something of a red herring, leading his name to be omitted from ABC shake-up speculation. As for his sudden re-entry into the upper echelon of TV news, and the media spotlight trained on it, it’s hard to think of a better agility test.
Video of Sherwood at ABC this morning, below.