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Rice rejigs Disney general entertainment

Peter Rice, chairman of General Entertainment Content (DGE) at The Walt Disney Company, has reorganised the division as the media giant continues its shift towards streaming.

Peter Rice

The Walt Disney Company (TWDC)’s boss Bob Chapek last month restructured its media and entertainment businesses to accelerate its direct-to-consumer push following the launch of Disney+.

In a memo to staff reported in US media, Rice this week explained the implications of the reorganisation for DGE, which has been rebranded from Walt Disney Television.

Rice said the team will now wholly focus on developing, producing and marketing content to fuel the company’s streaming and linear platforms, while its colleagues at Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution (DMED) distribute and monetise the content and run the linear networks and streaming platforms.

“This is a big change to our legacy television structure which was built around linear networks. But as we look to the future and how consumers choose to watch their programming, this reorganisation is an opportunity for us to fully focus on what we do best, making great programming for viewers wherever they choose to watch their favourite shows,” said Rice.

DGE is responsible for more than 250 entertainment and news programmes a year, representing over 4,500 hours of programming.

The division will be responsible for content strategy, development, greenlighting, casting, production, talent management and budget management for all the entertainment and news that DGE creates.

Rice said it will be supported by centralised teams that will provide best practices and execution in creative marketing and publicity, content research and scheduling of first-run content on linear networks.

“This structure of creative hubs and centralised functions will enable us to produce more content while maintaining the high-level quality we are known for. We will work hand in glove with Kareem Daniel, Rebecca Campbell and all our colleagues at DMED and international to deliver the most compelling content to viewers.”

As a result, members of the division’s leadership team have had their titles tweaked and, in some cases, had their roles expanded.

Courteney Monroe

For example, Gary Marsh, former president of Disney Channels, is now president and chief creative officer of Disney Branded Television. He will lead the expanded Disney Branded Television Group, which will now include all Disney-branded television content made by DGE for kids, tweens, teens and families, including live-action and animated movies and series, as well as unscripted series and specials.

The new group will encompass all shows that its television production teams have been making for Disney+. As part of this, the Disney+ unscripted content and production teams have joined the group.

Elsewhere, FX chairman John Landgraf will oversee development, production, marketing and publicity for the FX brand of original programming on Hulu and linear networks.

Courteney Monroe has been named president of National Geographic content and will join Rice’s leadership team, overseeing National Geographic branded content development and production for Disney+ and the linear networks.

Monroe will continue as a member of the senior leadership team of National Geographic Partners, the global joint venture set up by The Walt Disney Company and National Geographic Society under chairman Gary Knell.

Prior to her new role, Monroe served as president of National Geographic Global Television Networks.

Meanwhile, Dana Walden, chairman of entertainment at Walt Disney Television, oversees the development and production operations of Disney Television Studios, Hulu Originals, ABC Entertainment and Freeform.

The team also includes Ravi Ahuja, president of business operations at DGE, who leads finance, strategy and operations. His role will be expanded to overseeing centralised teams carrying out content testing and trends research and the scheduling of first-run content on linear networks.

“Focusing our structure around content engines and centralised support functions will make us more effective, flexible and prolific as we focus on our core strength: making great television,” said Rice.


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