ABC launched George Stephanopoulos Productions
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The launch of George Stephanopoulos Productions was funded by ABC and will provide content for across the Disney empire, including ABC, Disney+, FX, Hulu and National Geographic.
Two projects are already in the can: An interview with a former MI6 spy “Out of the Shadows: The Man Behind The Steele Dossier,” hits Hulu Oct. 18, 2021. Hulu will also get “The Informant: Fear and Faith in the Heartland,” Nov. 1, 2021, a look at how a terrorist attack was prevented.
ABC has assigned Jennifer Joseph, a senior producer at “20/20” as executive producer of the unit while also still working on the network show.
The production company, and ABC’s funding of it, all stems from a deal made earlier in 2021.
Stephanopoulos, who is assigned to anchor “Good Morning America” and “This Week,” reportedly clashed with network brass when “World News Tonight” anchor David Muir was given the role or primary anchor for special reports.
Before that, ABC had a unique arrangement in place that was an attempt at satisfying two of its biggest stars — Stephanopoulos was given the title “chief anchor” and given the role as the first person in line to anchor special reports and coverage.
At other networks, Muir would be the first choice for such reports as anchor of the network’s signature evening newscast.
Muir, meanwhile, was reportedly unhappy with the arrangement and eventually was able to reach a deal to anchor most special reports.
Stephanopoulos had to be kept happy too — he reportedly threatened to leave for another network — so ABC offered him a more lucrative deal that included the opportunity to launch the production company on their dime.
Muir and Stephanopoulos both anchor the top rated shows in their respective timeslots, though the competition with NBC is fierce, especially in the morning, and both “Today” and “NBC Nightly News” typically perform comparatively better in the adults 25-54 demo. “Today” also still creeps up to the top slot in total viewers on occasion.