• The Hollywood Reporter on LinkedIn
  • Follow THR on Pinterest

ABC Family President Michael Riley to Exit

Michael Riley Headshot - P 2013
ABC
Michael Riley

He will leave the company following a successful summer that saw the cable network launch two new dramas.

ABC Family president Michael Riley is exiting.

Riley will leave the company after a successful summer that saw ABC Family launch two new dramas (Twisted, The Fosters) and Pretty Little Liars continue to grow as the network's flagship series, with a Ravenswood spinoff launching later this fall.

Sources say he will look for a new post with a greater focus on the international business after his partner (who is not in the business) accepted an international role and moved earlier this summer. Anne Sweeney, co-chairman of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney/ABC Television Group, has asked Riley to stay on during the search for his replacement. He will likely depart next month.

"Michael has been a great leader over the past six years at Radio Disney and ABC Family, and his contributions will be felt for years to come," Sweeney said. "While we understand and support his decision to leave, it will be sad to see him go. We wish him the best of luck on his next adventure."

Riley leaves ABC Family, cable's No. 1 network in primetime among women 18-34, a metric the Disney-owned channel has held for the second summer in a row. ABC Family is a top five network among women 18-49 and viewers 12-34, with rookies The Fosters and Twisted both ranking as the top cable series in their time period among their core demos. 

Under his purview, ABC Family expanded its original programming with an unprecedented nine originals on the air this summer, including unscripted series Dancing Fools, The Vineyard and Spell-Mageddon

Riley was named ABC Family president in August 2010. He replaced Paul Lee at the top of the youth-skewing cabler after Lee was promoted to ABC Entertainment Group president. Riley had oversight of original programming and acquisitions and was responsible for the overall strategic and creative direction of the network.

Before joining ABC Family, Riley was senior vp and general manager at Radio Disney and held the same post at Turner Broadcasting in several international territories. At Turner, Riley developed strategies for CNN, Cartoon Network, TNT, Adult Swim and more in Germany, Northern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Born in British Columbia, Riley is fluent in French and started his career as a consultant with advertising company WPP Group in London and New York.

ABC Family recently ordered comedy pilots from Tori Spelling, Ashley Tisdale and the Bunheads producers, and is developing a horror project with Jamie Lee Curtis attached to star.