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Disney Branded Television president Gary Marsh leaving to start Disney-backed prodco

Gary Marsh, the president and chief creative officer of Disney Branded Television, is stepping down to launch his own production company backed by the Mouse House.

Gary Marsh

Marsh has spent the past 33 years in creative and leadership roles at Disney, developing and shepherding titles such as High School Musical, Hannah Montana, Lizzie McGuire, Descendants, Phineas & Ferb, Gravity Falls, The Proud Family, That’s So Raven, Jessie, Andi Mack and The Owl House.

He also launched the Disney Junior channel, along with children’s programmes including Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Doc McStuffins, Elena of Avalor and Sofia the First.

Through this programming, Marsh is credited with launching the careers stars such as Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, the Jonas Brothers, Zendaya, Demi Lovato, Shia LaBeouf, Hilary Duff, Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Olivia Rodrigo and Debby Ryan.

Marsh will exit Disney Branded Television at the end of 2021 to launch his own prodco, backed by Disney General Entertainment with a multi-year production deal.

His move into production is the culmination of conversations that began with the company nearly two and half years ago, Disney said.

Marsh agreed to stay on as president through Disney’s acquisition of Fox assets and the company’s subsequent widespread reorganisation, which has seen it sharpen its focus on its streaming platforms over its TV channels.

Marsh and Rice are now preparing for a “smooth transition” to a new Disney Branded Television leader before the end of the year, the company said.

Marsh’s production deal covers several projects in development, including two Descendants movies, a prequel to Beauty & the Beast and the series Tink, School for Sensitive Souls and Witch Mountain.

These will appear on Disney’s streaming and linear platforms including Disney+, Hulu, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, ABC, National Geographic, Freeform and FX.

“Gary’s leadership and creative genius have shaped a generation of beloved kids’ and family programming, and we are forever grateful for the indelible impact he’s made at The Walt Disney Company,” said Peter Rice, chairman of Disney General Entertainment.

“Gary is a valued leader and good friend, and we’ve been talking about this move for years. So when he decided to focus solely on producing after three decades of an amazing executive career, I jumped at the opportunity to keep him among us.”

Disney Branded Television produces programming for the Disney+ streaming platform and Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior linear networks with content geared toward kids, tweens, teens and families.

News of Marsh’s departure comes ahead of Disney+ making its debut in South Korea and Taiwan on November 12, and in Hong Kong on November 16.

In related news, Disney Branded Television has struck a series development deal for House of Secrets from Chris Columbus, Michael Barnathan and Mark Radcliffe’s 26th Street Pictures.

The action-adventure fantasy series is based on the book series of the same name that Columbus co-authored with the late Ned Vizzini.

The series development is under the leadership of Ayo Davis, executive VP of creative development and strategy at Disney Branded Television.


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