Stephanie Leifer, Former ABC Signature Executive, Dies at 56

Stephanie Leifer, a longtime executive at ABC and studio ABC Signature, has died. She was 56.

Leifer died of cancer on Thursday. She spent a combined 28 years at ABC Signature (and its forerunner, ABC Studios) and ABC, beginning at the network in 1994 as an assistant in the network’s TV movie department.

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“Stephanie was a beloved member of the Disney Entertainment Television family for nearly three decades, and our hearts are broken by the devastating news of her passing,” Disney Entertainment Television said in a statement. “She was a highly admired executive, whose creative impact was only matched by the relationships she nurtured both within the company and across the industry. Our sincerest condolences go out to her family, especially her husband and our colleague, Jonathan, and their two beautiful children, Amelia and Noah.”

After joining ABC, Leifer rose through the ranks, holding positions in the current programming, drama and comedy departments at ABC and serving as senior vp comedy development from 2002-06. She then moved to ABC Studios, where she became head of current programming — overseeing shows including Grey’s Anatomy, Lost, Desperate Housewives, Castle and many others — in 2010. She held that position until departing the studio, which was renamed ABC Signature following the Disney-20th Century Fox merger, in 2022.

Prior to joining ABC, Leifer worked at public television station WGBH in Boston and at the Writers and Artists Agency in Los Angeles.

A private funeral is planned, with a celebration of life to come in the near future. Donations in her memory can be made to CASA of Los Angeles, where she was a court-appointed special advocate for foster children.

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