Geri Wang

If you watch ABC TV you may know that the shows are being paid for by the sweat of the network’s ad sales and marketing team. You probably didn’t know that since late February of 2010 it was being led by Chinese American Geri Wang.

Despite her relative youth, no one at ABC deserves the post more than Wang. She’s a 20-year ABC veteran who hustled and sold her way up the ranks to the post of senior VP of prime time sales before being tapped for the post of President of sales and marketing. She was arguably more responsible than any other salesperson for ABC’s position atop the Big Four broadcast networks with $1.9 billion in upfront sales during the difficult 2009-10 season. Also largely due to Wang’s field generalship — as well as a mending economy — in the coming season ABC anticipates a healthy 30% premium in its spot rates over the 2010-11 upfront marketplace.

The long-term picture isn’t as bright for the TV networks. As more of the educated, professional audience go online for their news and entertainment, ABC and the other broacast nets must find a way to monetize online video views at a high enough rate to compensate for eroding TV viewership.

Wang will now report directly to the head of the Disney/ABC TV division, Group president Anne Sweeney who said of her, “Geri has proven herself to be a fierce advocate for ABC, someone who understands the value of our network and who has developed the skills and relationships necessary to ensure that value is fully recognized by the marketplace.”

Geri Wang graduated from Ithaca College in 1982. She began her career as a media research analyst at Grey Advertising in New York before joining ABC as an associate director of daytime sales proposals in 1990. It took her barely a year to be promoted to associate director of prime-time proposals. A year later she was promoted out of the cubbyholes to the field sales side as an account executive.

In 1996 Wang was promoted to senior account executive for prime-time sales before being elevated to management ranks as VP of prime-time sales in 1998. She became the senior VP of prime-time sales in 2000, a post recognized as the chief lieutenant for ABC president of sales, the post Wang now holds.