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Channing Dungey Takes-Two on the Entertainment Industry with Erin Yoshi

Channing Dungey Takes-Two on the Entertainment Industry with Erin Yoshi

Making a break in the entertainment industry takes hard work, careful attention, and a strong vision. Today we speak with a woman who achieved great heights in film and television. Channing Dungey is a TV executive and the first black American president of a major broadcast television network.

Click play button above to listen to this episode with Channing Dungey

In this rich and inspiring episode, we talk with Channing about her journey to the top and beyond. We open the show by hearing about her earliest years, as she tells listeners about how she has always been enchanted by stories.

Channing Dungey with Kerry Washington
Channing Dungey with Kerry Washington

“I was just really interested in the stories that were being told in television, and around that same time the movie business was going through its own period of consolidation, where they were focussing on movies that would travel well internationally. So IP and a lot of big-budget action stuff, R-rated horror and comedies, and family movies. A lot of what I thought of as just dramas, were just stories for grown-ups — they were just making less of those. More of those writers were segueing to television, so I started interviewing for TV jobs and landed one as vice president of drama at what was then called Touchstone Television and then became ABC Studios. And so that’s really where I grew up — I was VP of drama series at the studio for four years, ran the drama department for a year, then got pulled over to the network to run drama there, and that’s where I continued to climb the ladder.” — @cdflix [0:11:42]

Channing Dungey with Mr. Quincy Jones
Channing Dungey with Mr. Quincy Jones

After graduating from the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television, Channing pursued a career in the industry. In the years that followed, she became a path maker and mold-breaker as she steadily climbed the ranks.

We ask Channing how she made her way into television, as she touches on the ebbs and flows of the film industry of the early 2000s, and why she connected with the TV medium.

Diving into deeper detail, Channing shares some of the attributes that make a good television show, noting emotional connection and the longevity of a captivating story told over several seasons.

On her various professional roles, Channing walks listeners through her career path so far, as she shares anecdotes about working for Steven Seagal, her stints running a production company, and what ultimately led her to take on the role of President of Entertainment at ABC.

anning Dungey with Shonda Rhimes
Channing Dungey with Shonda Rhimes

Channing continues by explaining the details of her role, and why, after 15 years of fulfilling work with ABC, it was time to move onto a new challenge: Netflix. Toward the end of the show, Channing opens up about the importance of hiring people of color and embracing women in entertainment.

She lays out how new stories can be told, and why more diverse production teams, casts, and stories can and must be championed. To hear more on empowering women and people of color, as well as Channing’s triumphant journey in television and film, be sure to join us.

anning Dungey with her sister and actress Merrin Dungey
Channing Dungey with her sister and actress Merrin Dungey

“ I never thought that I could actually have a career in film or television. I grew up in Sacramento, I didn’t know anybody in the entertainment business. So it felt really far away.” — @cdflix [0:05:17]

“I started interviewing for TV jobs and landed one as vice-president of drama at what was then called Touchstone Television, which then became ABC studios. That’s really where I grew up — that was my television journey.” — @cdflix [0:11:20]

Channing Dungey with Jorge Gutierrez and Scott “Sourdough” Power
Channing Dungey with Jorge Gutierrez and Scott “Sourdough” Power

Key Points From This Episode with Channing Dungey:

  • We introduce today’s special guest, television executive, Channing Dungey.
  • Channing tells us about her journey into film.
  • Hear about Channing’s first gig in the industry as a script reader and story editor.
  • Channing touches on the route she took to become the president of ABC.
  • How the film landscape was pushing writers into TV roles.
  • Channing shares details on her journey to become President of Entertainment at ABC.
  • We hear how Channing’s role has led her to get involved with a variety of content.
  • Some of the things Channing looks for in a good show.
  • What led Channing to continue her career with Netflix.
  • How to broadcast production differs from streaming.
  • Channing touches on how to get more diversity in TV shows.
  • Why, according to Channing, there is nothing more important than working with women.
  • The work-life balance for working moms in the entertainment industry.
  • Maintaining teamwork among partners who are working professionals.
  • What Channing hopes to achieve with her latest chapter in life.
  • What COVID means for the entertainment industry.
  • Channing’s advice for those wanting to get into the film industry.
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JUNE 01:  President of ABC Entertainment, Channing Dungey on stage at Step Up's 14th Annual Inspiration Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on June 1, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – JUNE 01: President of ABC Entertainment, Channing Dungey on stage at Step Up's 14th Annual Inspiration Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on June 1, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

“I’d been doing drama series for my whole run in television, so now I am in a place where I’m not just doing drama, but I’m overseeing comedy, unscripted reality stuff, and late night, so it really was a lot to take on right at the beginning.” — @cdflix [0:12:04]

“Those of us who are on the executive side of the fence, we need to be better about making sure that within our ranks, we are hiring, supporting, and promoting people of color and women and giving them the opportunity to tell their stories.” — @cdflix [0:27:03]

Channing Dungey speaking at the 2019 NOT REAL ART Conference for Creators with Jorge Gutierrez
Channing Dungey speaking at the 2019 NOT REAL ART Conference for Creators with Jorge Gutierrez

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Channing Dungey with Tracee Ellis Ross
Channing Dungey with Tracee Ellis Ross

“Something that has always been important to me is championing underrepresented voices and bringing more people of color to the forefront. To give them the opportunity to tell their stories.” — @channers3 [0:20:39]

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