Paley Dialogues

A Conversation with Ben Sherwood, President, Disney|ABC Television Group

Thursday, September 22, 2016
6:15 pm to 8:00 pm
Los Angeles

Ben Sherwood, a Rhodes Scholar, best-selling author, and former President of ABC News, now oversees ABC Studios, the ABC-owned Television Stations Group and the ABC Television Network, serving as co-chair, Disney Media Networks, and President, Disney|ABC Television Group, which includes The Walt Disney Company’s global entertainment and news television properties. Sherwood is also in charge of Disney Channels Worldwide, a portfolio of more than 100 kid-driven, family entertainment channels or channel feeds available in 169 countries in 35 languages, including Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, and the Radio Disney brands.

All told, the Disney/ABC portfolio is responsible for the creation of more than 24,000 hours of original content each year. In this wide-ranging conversation, Sherwood plans to discuss nurturing projects from a network, studio and brand perspective and competing in the global marketplace. Moderated by: Nick Watt, ABC News

Ben Sherwood
Co-chair, Disney Media Networks
President, Disney|ABC Television Group

Ben Sherwood is Co-chair, Disney Media Networks, and President, Disney|ABC Television Group, which includes The Walt Disney Company’s global entertainment and news television properties, owned television stations group, and radio business.

In this role Mr. Sherwood oversees ABC Studios, the ABC Owned Television Stations Group, and the ABC Television Network. He also oversees Disney Channels Worldwide, a portfolio of more than 100 kid-driven, family-inclusive entertainment channels or channel feeds available in 163 countries in 34 languages, including Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, Disney Cinemagic, Hungama, and Radio Disney brands.

Additionally, Mr. Sherwood’s responsibilities include oversight of cable network Freeform, and the company’s equity interest in A+E Networks, Fusion, and Hulu. All told, the Disney/ABC portfolio is responsible for the creation of more than 24,000 hours of original content each year.

Prior to this, Mr. Sherwood was president, ABC News, a position he had held since December 2010. In this role, he was responsible for all aspects of ABC News’ broadcasts as well as ABC News Radio, ABCNEWS.com, satellite service NewsOne and ABC News NOW. ABC News reaches a combined audience of well over 270 million people a month on television, on radio and online.

During Mr. Sherwood’s tenure, “Good Morning America” became the #1 morning TV news program, and the news division won the most prestigious honors in the industry, including George Polk, George Foster Peabody, News and Documentary Emmy, Edward R. Murrow, Overseas Press Club, SPJ Sigma Delta Chi and Investigative Reporters and Editors Awards.

Mr. Sherwood began his career in journalism in 1989 when he joined ABC News as an investigative associate producer and then producer for ABC News’ “PrimeTime Live.” In 1997, he joined NBC’s “Nightly News with Tom Brokaw,” first as broadcast producer, then senior producer, and ultimately senior broadcast producer. Mr. Sherwood returned to ABC News in April 2004 as executive producer of “Good Morning America.”

Over the years Mr. Sherwood’s journalism and non-fiction essays have been published in many respected publications. He is the author of two critically acclaimed best-selling novels: The Man Who Ate the 747 (2000) and The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud (2004). In July 2010, The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud was adapted as a feature film starring Zac Efron and was released by Universal Pictures under the title “Charlie St. Cloud.” He also authored The Survivors Club (2009), a New York Times’ best-selling exploration of the science and secrets of surviving extraordinary adversity – and how to apply those lessons to everyday challenges.

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Harvard College in 1986, Mr. Sherwood earned an AB degree in American government and history. From 1986 to 1989, as a Rhodes Scholar at Magdalen College, Oxford, he earned master’s degrees in British imperial history and development economics.

Mr. Sherwood is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and serves on the boards of the National Constitution Center, the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues and City Year Los Angeles.

Moderated By:

Nick Watt
Correspondent, ABC News



Nick Watt is a London-based correspondent for ABC News. He reports from around the globe for ABC News broadcasts and platforms.

Watt’s recent assignments include covering the G20 summit in London, reporting on the impact of climate change on reindeer in the Norwegian Arctic, diving with Great White Sharks off the coast of South Africa and investigating pedigreed dog breeding in the United States.

His first story as an on-air reporter was on the U.S. Marine assault on Fallujah in November 2004, for which he won an Emmy Award.

Watt has worked extensively in Afghanistan and Iraq. He spent four months in Baghdad in the lead-up to the 2003 invasion, and since then has returned on numerous occasions as a correspondent and producer. He embedded as a cameraman/producer with the 1st Cavalry Division in Sadr City during the handover of power in June 2004. Five months later, he was part of a two-man team embedded with a Marine infantry unit during the assault on Fallujah.

Watt joined ABC’s London bureau in 1997 as a desk assistant and tape librarian. He became a producer in 2000 and in September 2001, was sent to northern Afghanistan shortly after the attacks of 9/11. As a producer, he covered the civil war in Liberia, the humanitarian crisis in Darfur and the school siege in Beslan, Russia. He won an Emmy Award for his work in Darfur.

Prior to joining ABC News, Watt was a reporter at The Southampton Press newspaper in New York. Watt, who is Scottish, earned a Master’s degree in Modern History from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, specializing in post-war U.S. foreign policy.


This event is exclusive to Media Council members and other invited guests. To find out more about Media Council membership, contact mediacouncil@paleycenter.org