Following its move to reorganize its business into separate divisions for content creation and distribution and commercialization, Disney’s Peter Rice, chairman of the company’s General Entertainment Content division, has solidified its structure.
In an internal memo sent to staff and obtained by Realscreen, Rice states that Gary Marsh (pictured), most recently president for Disney Channels Worldwide, will now take on the role of president and chief creative officer for Disney Branded Television. The expanded group will now include all Disney-branded television content made by Disney General Entertainment (DGE) for kids, tweens, teens and families including live-action and animated movies and series, as well as unscripted series and specials.
The newly formed group will also encompass all shows that the company’s television production teams have been making for streamer Disney+. Thus, the Disney+ unscripted content and production teams are also going to be under the DGE umbrella, under the oversight of Marsh.
Also, Courteney Monroe, most recently president of National Geographic Global Networks, becomes a direct report to Rice, with a new title — president of National Geographic Content. She continues to oversee Nat Geo content development production for Disney+ and the Nat Geo-branded linear networks. She will also continue to be part of the senior leadership team of Gary Knell, who oversees National Geographic Partners, the joint venture between the National Geographic society and Disney. He now reports directly to the board of National Geographic Partners.
Other changes include a new title for Dana Walden, previously chairman of Disney TV Studios and ABC Entertainment, and now chairman of entertainment for Walt Disney Television, with oversight of development and production operations of Disney Television Studios, Hulu Originals, ABC Entertainment and Freeform.
“This is a big change to our legacy television structure which was built around linear networks,” said Rice via the memo. “But as we look to the future and how consumers choose to watch their programming, this reorganization is an opportunity for us to fully focus on what we do best, making great programming for viewers wherever they choose to watch their favorite shows.”
Disney’s organizational moves come in tandem with other major restructuring efforts underway at major media companies as they grapple with the impact of changing viewing habits and the financial pressures of a global pandemic. The Disney news emerged shortly after word came that significant layoffs were underway at WarnerMedia. While an earlier report from the Wall Street Journal cited sources claiming that the layoffs could impact thousands of workers, other reports have since put the number of positions affected at roughly 5-7% of the WarnerMedia workforce.