Disney Head of Entertainment Peter Rice Suddenly Fired, Dana Walden To Succeed Him

Dana Walden Disney
Dana Walden (Image credit: The Walt Disney Co.)

The Walt Disney Co. suddenly has a new head of television content in Dana Walden.

Walden was moved up after Peter Rice was removed as head of Disney’s general entertainment content unit by CEO Bob Chapek.

Chapek, who has been under pressure for Disney’s uneven streaming growth and for political missteps in Florida, has named Walden chairman, Disney General Entertainment Content.

Walden, who was chairman, entertainment for Walt Disney Television, will oversee ABC Entertainment, ABC News, Disney Branded Television, Disney Television Studios, Freeform, FX Hulu Originals, National Geographic content and Onyx Collective. 

 “Dana is a dynamic, collaborative leader and cultural force who in just three years has transformed our television business into a content powerhouse that consistently delivers the entertainment audiences crave,” Chapek said. “Her well-earned reputation for championing creative talent and developing programming that truly captures the cultural zeitgeist has resulted in hit after hit, from ABC’s Abbott Elementary and Onyx Collective’s Academy Award-winning Summer of Soul, to Hulu Originals like Only Murders in the Building, Dopesick, The Dropout and The Kardashians. She and Peter have worked closely together for years to create the best programming in the industry, and I can think of no one better than Dana to lead Disney General Entertainment to even greater heights.”  

Like Rice, Walden joined Disney when it acquired 21st Century Fox in 2019. She reports to Chapek.

“It is an incredible honor to be asked to lead this amazingly talented team — they are truly the absolute best in every respect — and I am grateful to Bob for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Walden said. “Disney General Entertainment’s culture of creative excellence and originality has made us home to many of the most talented creators in the business. I am humbled to lead this team, and I am confident that together, we will continue to build on the foundation of culture-defining entertainment we have achieved so far.” ■

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.