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The Godwin Delusion

kim godwin
On some level, Kim Godwin was part of a dispiriting trend in which a new generation of less handsomely paid executives were overhired into roles and forced to clean up some of the mess of their successors while ruthlessly managing costs. Photo: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images
Dylan Byers
February 16, 2024

In January of last year, a rumor started coursing through ABC News headquarters on West 66th Street that Kim Godwin, the president of the division, was on the verge of losing her job. The alleged catalyst was her prolonged and indecisive mismanagement of the T.J. Holmes and Amy Robach affair, which had exacerbated a tabloid mini-scandal into an unabating headache for her bosses in Burbank, including Disney Entertainment co-chair Dana Walden

By then, Godwin was less than two years into what had been an embattled tenure. She’d come to the infamously cliquish and competitive network as an outsider and arriviste—the former number two at, of all places, ABC’s third-place rival, CBS News—with a mandate to fix a cutthroat culture that network veterans had long prided themselves on. Godwin, who tends to emphasize work-life balance and office camaraderie, lost that crowd almost immediately with her birthday sing-a-longs and mental health mantras. At the same time, insiders also felt she displayed greater appetite for the conference circuit and personal brand-building than the hands-on leadership style for which her predecessors had been famous. Anyway, this is television: People talk and they can be catty.