After weeks of speculation, the Walt Disney Co. announced that after it acquires assets from 21st Century Fox, Fox exec Peter Rice will become chairman of Walt Disney Television and co-chair of Disney Media Networks.
The company also said another Fox executive, Dana Walden, will assume the new role of chairman, Disney Television Studios and ABC Entertainment.
John Landgraf will continue to run FX and FX Productions as chairman and Gary Knell will serve as chairman of National Geographic Partners.
Ben Sherwood, who had been head of the Disney/ABC Television group, is reportedly leaving the company. Disney said he will remain in his current role during the transition period.
“The strength of 21st Century Fox’s first-class management talent has always been a compelling part of this opportunity for us,” said Robert A. Iger, chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company. “Upon completion of the acquisition, this new structure positions these proven leaders to help drive maximum value from a greatly enhanced portfolio of incredible brands and businesses.”
Rice will report to Iger.
Rice will be in charge of the ABC Television Network, ABC Studios, the ABC Owned Television Stations Group, Disney Channels, Freeform, Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX Networks and FX Productions, Fox 21 Television Studios, and the National Geographic channels.
“I love making television and have been fortunate to work with incredibly talented executives and storytellers. Disney is the world’s preeminent creative company, and I look forward to working for Bob, and with his exceptional leadership team, to build on that amazing legacy," Rice said. "I also want to thank Rupert, Lachlan and James Murdoch for the privilege of working on such a wide array of movies and television, both entertainment and sports. It has been a wonderful thirty years,” Mr. Rice said.
Executives reporting to Rice will be:
· Dana Walden, chairman, Disney Television Studios and ABC Entertainment
· John Landgraf, chairman of FX Networks and FX Productions
· Gary E. Knell, chairman of National Geographic Partners
· Gary Marsh, president and Chief Creative Officer, Disney Channels Worldwide
· James Goldston, president, ABC News
Executives reporting to Walden will be:
· Channing Dungey, president, ABC Entertainment
· Patrick Moran, president, ABC Studios
· Jonathan Davis and Howard Kurtzman, presidents of Twentieth Century Fox Television
· Bert Salke, president, Fox 21 Television Studios
· Tom Ascheim, president, Freeform
· Wendy McMahon, president, ABC Owned Television Stations Group
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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.