Dana Green has moved up to Vice President, Communications of Disney Channels U.S. after serving as Executive Director of Media Relations for the company. She’ll continue to report to Disney ABC Television Group Kids Communication SVP Patti McTeague in her new role. Green oversees Disney Junior channel and Disney Junior programming on the Disney Channel as well as Disney TV’s Animation side working on programs including Jake and the Never Land Pirates, Sofia the First, and Doc McStuffins. She’s been with the company since 2006.
EXCLUSIVE… BREAKING…I’ve just learned that there’s a restructure underway that will consolidate the Disney/ABC financial top jobs under one top executive who’ll report to mogul Anne Sweeney. The new guy put in charge is Peter Seymour who’ll fill the newly created position of EVP and CFO for the Disney/ABC Television Group. He replaces both Jim Hedges, the 17-year CFO at ABC, and Jewell Engstrom, the 16-year CFO at Disney Cable. My sources tell me that Seymour may find a job in the new structure for both of them or one of them in the coming weeks. Seymour has been EVP of Strategy and Research for Disney Media Networks since 2008, and I’m told he will retain his oversight of strategy development for the Walt Disney Co’s worldwide broadcasting and cable programming business, as well as his supervision of research, customer relationship management, media planning, and franchise management. His new responsibilities consolidate financial control for the ABC Television Network, ABC Studios, ABC Owned Station Group, Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, Disney Domestic Television, ABC Family, Radio Disney and Hyperion Publishing. Mr. Seymour has been Executive Vice President of Strategy and Research for Disney Media Networks since 2008. Anne Sweeney, Co-Chair of Media Networks & President of the Disney/ABC Television Group, will make an announcement about the shake-up soon. Her thought process for consolidating the two jobs into one …
The value of Comcast and NBC Universal‘s 15% stake in A&E Television Networks has risen following the success of the Hatfields & McCoys. When Comcast disclosed in an SEC filing early in May it was selling at least some of its A&E stake to co-owning partners Disney-ABC and the Hearst Corp, it valued the stake at just over $2 billion, according to the New York Post. Then the Hatfields & McCoys miniseries bowed to spectacular ratings on History, and the value to NBCU of the transaction has risen to $2.8 million. A&E includes the History Channel, Lifetime and A&E. ABC and Hearst each own 42.5% and will split equal parts of NBCU’s stake. The Post said the deal was expected to close during the second quarter but negotiations might take longer. Among other things, haggling continues over retransmission fees Hearst pays Comcast for its NBC-affiliated stations.
Neil Patrick Harris has joined the list of guest co-hosts on Disney-ABC’s syndicated morning talk show Live! With Kelly, which will use a rotating schedule to fill the seat of star Regis Philbin after he retires following Friday’s show. Harris, a frequent guest host in the past, is set to fill in beside Kelly Ripa from November 28-December 2. Jerry Seinfeld kicks off the guest rotation, doing a three-day stint November 21-23. Ripa last week reupped with the show through at least 2017, but a successor to Philbin as permanent co-host has not been named.
Disney’s announcement with Netflix this morning extends and expands a current deal, giving the streaming service rights to several shows 30 days after the last episode of the season airs. The one with Amazon is new and includes more than 800 library episodes. Both include prior seasons of Grey’s Anatomy and all episodes of Lost. They also both landed ABC Family’s The Secret Life Of The American Teenager and Phineas and Ferb. Beyond that there are a lot of differences, with Amazon landing prior seasons of Marvel’s animated shows including X-Men Evolution and Netflix getting ABC Studios’ Army Wives. Here’s the release for Netflix:
BEVERLY HILLS and BURBANK, Calif., Oct. 31, 2011 — Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) and Disney-ABC Television Group today announced that they recently entered into an extension of their previous existing licensing agreement. The extension allows Netflix to continue to stream hundreds of library episodes from ABC Studios, Disney Channel and ABC Family over the Internet. As part of the deal, Netflix is also adding new content to its lineup of Disney-ABC series and TV movies.
The agreement adds to the growing selection of content that can be streamed from Netflix in the United States. Episodes from new seasons of current Disney-ABC series will be made available to Netflix 30-days after the last episode of each season airs. Among the series and TV movies extended as part of the deal include:
Anne Sweeney, president of Disney-ABC Television Group, says that TV is about to become the most personal medium in the world, as well as the most powerful. Giving her MIPCOM keynote speech in Cannes this afternoon, Sweeney predicted that TV will be ever more customized by a generation used to watching on smartphones, laptops and tablets. Sweeney said: “It may be impossible to predict what television will look like 5 or 10 years from now — because the odds are, it will look different to everybody.” She also touched on how young people increasingly tweet, blog and email about shows as they watch them. “The more personalized television gets, the less passive the experience will become,” she said. “Television has always been something you watch. Now, increasingly, it’s also something you do.” The Disney-ABC TV boss presented some eye-popping figures: The global TV audience will reach nearly 4 billion people by the end of 2011 –- roughly half of the world’s population. And those 3.7 billion people will watch a total of 4.5 trillion hours of TV this year. She also underlined TV’s importance by quoting approvingly from a recent Deloitte study that concluded, “In today’s world, TV is the medium around which all others revolve.” Here’s the full transcript of Sweeney’s speech:
From the beginning, the television business has always been forward looking – to the next episode, the next season, the next advance in technology that will change everything and take us to a new level.
That’s why I was drawn to it in the first place…and why I continue to love it.
Thousands of TV executives from around the world are en route to Cannes for the annual MIPCOM market, which starts on Monday. The great majority of them, who are flying into the nearby Nice airport, were greeted by a group of Pan Am stewardesses — a promotion for the new ABC/Sony TV series, which will be among the offerings at the confab. (Though most of the sales for the 1960s soap were made after the international screenings in May.) Probably because there is no airport in Cannes, Pan Am stewardesses were stationed at both terminals of the Nice airport, greeting travelers on their way to the annual confab, according to an attendee who snapped a picture. Among the highlights at this year’s MIPCOM: keynote speeches by Disney-ABC’s Anne Sweeney, Fox’s Kevin Reilly, Miramax’s Mike Lang and Viacom International’s Robert Bakish as well as a press conferences with Paul Verhoeven and Ashley Judd.
Broadcasting & Cable today published a long interview with Disney/ABC TV Chief Anne Sweeney (subscription required), and here is what’s interesting:
– The “one piece of talent” on the air whom she doesn’t have currently and wants? Why, the Viscount Of Vapidity: “I was just thinking about Ryan Seacrest, but we just had him for New Year’s Eve. He’s a terrific talent. I think he is the hardest working person in television — I have never seen anyone so committed and do such a great job in every single venue. He produces Jamie Oliver for us, he does New Year’s Eve. He’s a great talent.”
– Jimmy Kimmel has “made a tremendous amount of progress in 7 years”.
– ABC can continue to operate the news division without a 24-hour cable component or merging its news operation. “I think there are many different opportunities out there right now, not just for news but for entertainment as well. If you look at what ABC News did when we collaborated during the election with Facebook, that’s a very interesting distribution platform for news. There are many platforms to consider for news, and I think we need to think expansively as a news division going forward and not limit ourselves to thinking of news as just a broadcast and/or cable play.” But Sweeney acknowledges that “we’ll certainly be talking to [Bloomberg] again”.
– There won’t be as much entertainment vs news division head-butting between Ben Sherwood and Paul Lee as there was between …
The London-based production company Celador that created Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? tells me it may go after the Hollywood talent agency with a lawsuit. Celador has just won a $269 million court case against Disney/ABC, which aired the U.S. version of Millionaire. Celador successfully persuaded a California jury that Disney owed it 50% of the show’s profits.
In court, Disney argued that if Celador was unhappy with its deal, it should be suing the agent which brokered it, not them. Celador appears to have taken Disney’s advice to heart. Celador says, “We are considering our options regarding the William Morris Agency.”
Of course, ABC bought the rights to Millionaire 11 years ago. The statute of limitations on Celador suing WMA should have expired after 4 years. But WMA signed a “tolling agreement”, putting off any dispute between it and Celador until the Disney case was decided. That stopped the clock on any legal action, and that’s why Celador can pick up where things were left off.
Many of the WMA agents involved in the deal -– like Ben Silverman who was the lead William Morris rep for Millionaire – have since left the agency which in 2009 merged with Endeavor to create WME. Celador wouldn’t say if it plans to sue any individuals.