Hi, She's Janice Johnston, and This Is the 1st Woman and 1st Black Executive Producer of 20/20

Janice Johnston
Janice Johnston
Photo: ABC/Heidi Gutman

It’s a new year, and though we may not be able to make “Hi, I’m Barbara Walters…and this is 20/20” jokes anymore about the year, 2021 is kicking off with some historic news for the long-time news program.


On Thursday, ABC News announced that Janice Johnston has been promoted to executive producer of 20/20. With this new role, Johnston makes history as the first woman to be executive producer of 20/20 as well as the first Black executive producer of 20/20.

“I am delighted to announce that Janice Johnston has been promoted to Executive Producer for 20/20,” ABC News President James Goldston wrote in a note sent to The Root via press release. “In this new role she’ll report to David Sloan, Senior Executive Producer of Network Primetime Content, who oversees ABC News’ entire portfolio of primetime programming. It’s not often we have the opportunity to announce a new EP for 20/20. Janice is only the fourth person to lead this fantastic team in nearly 43 years. She is a terrific journalist with an impressive talent for telling stories that resonate and an exceptional leader.”

Johnston’s relationship with ABC News spans 22 years, beginning as a network associate (where she produced segments for World News Tonight with Peter Jennings and World News Now), then spending ten years as supervising producer at Good Morning America, before joining 20/20 in 2008. Johnston also has producing and directing credits for dozens of primetime specials, including the Emmy-winning town hall The President and The People, Highwire Over Niagara Falls: LIVE and the CMA Awards In the Spotlight series. She has also worked on entertainment documentaries chronicling Bobby Brown, Dolly Parton and more.

“As a senior producer for 20/20, she’s been at the helm of critical programming in the last year, including our two-hour broadcast on Vanessa Guillen and three breaking news specials on the COVID-19 pandemic,” Goldston’s note continued. “Janice also led two-hour 20/20 events on John Lennon’s life, legacy and last days, the Yosemite Serial Killer and Robin Roberts’ interviews with three women kidnapped and held captive in Cleveland for a decade.”

Johnston is a highly decorated producer, winning six Emmy Awards, two Peabody Awards, two duPont Silver Batons, a Salute to Excellence Award from the NABJ, The Cine Golden Eagle, a Gracie Award, a Christopher Award, a National Headliner Award and more.

Naturally, this promotion is well-deserved. Congrats to Janice Johnston!

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.



Congratulations to Janice Johnston. Her diverse portfolio will no doubt lead to fresh perspectives on 20/20.