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Walden rejigs Disney TV Studios

Dana Walden, chairman of entertainment at Walt Disney Television, has reorganised the media giant’s huge television production and original content businesses as it continues to shift its focus to streaming.

Dana Walden

As part of the restructure, the number of Disney Television Studios will reduce to two, 20th Television and ABC Signature, with the Touchstone label winding down and its operations rolling into 20th Television.

As a result of the changes, Bert Salke will move from president of Touchstone Television to a new multi-year overall producing deal with Disney Television Studios.

The original content teams at ABC and Hulu will be consolidated under Craig Erwich, previously senior VP of Hulu originals, who has had his remit expanded to become president of Hulu originals and ABC Entertainment.

Erwich and Tara Duncan, who oversees original content for Freeform, will have oversight of the original content teams responsible for choosing and managing development slates and greenlighting shows. Both will continue to report to Walden.

Craig Erwich

Karey Burke, previously president of ABC Entertainment, will become president of 20th Television, while Jonnie Davis continues as president of ABC Signature.

The studio teams under Burke and Davis will be responsible for picking creative partners. Both Burke and Davis will report to Walden.

Meanwhile, president of Disney Television Studios Craig Hunegs has been named president of entertainment, Walt Disney Television, and will work alongside Walden across all business units. He will lead centralised business affairs, production, casting and creative talent development and inclusion teams.

Hunegs will also oversee 20th Animation and a newly formed production unit for unscripted programming in a strategy to grow output for both genres.

Prior to joining Disney in 2019, Hunegs was president of business and strategy at Warner Bros TV Group, where he spent two decades.

Craig Hunegs

The restructure follows the recent strategic reorganisation at The Walt Disney Company as part of its push into its direct-to-consumer businesses, including Disney+ and Hulu, and away from traditional TV.

Walden’s studio teams will supply content to these streaming platforms and to linear networks ABC, Disney Channel, Freeform, FX and National Geographic, as well third parties.

“The changes we are announcing today are in service of three goals: rightsizing our organisation, streamlining functions across our studios and original content teams, and strengthening our partnerships with the extraordinary creators who call Disney Television Studios their home,” said Walden.

Peter Rice, chairman of Disney general entertainment content, to whom Walden reports, added: “Dana is a hall-of-fame television executive leading an all-star team of the best and brightest creative leaders in Hollywood. This new organisation under Dana will allow us to compete amid a transforming industry by attracting the best talent, encouraging creative risk and facilitating the creation of groundbreaking series.”

Collectively, the Mouse House’s television production and original content businesses are responsible for producing shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Little Fires Everywhere, The Handmaid’s Tale, Ramy, 9-1-1, This Is Us and American Horror Story.

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