Disney Gains New Clearances for Syndicated Tamron Hall Show

Tamron Hall’s new syndicated talk-show has been cleared to reach 50% of U.S. TV households, thanks to a new deal struck between the program’s producer, Disney, and Hearst Television. Hearst agreed to run the new program, slated to appear in…

Tamron Hall’s new syndicated talk-show has been cleared to reach 50% of U.S. TV households, thanks to a new deal struck between the program’s producer, Disney, and Hearst Television. Hearst agreed to run the new program, slated to appear in 2019, in 24 different markets.  The television stations include WCVB-TV Boston, WMOR-TV Tampa, WESH-TV Orlando, […]

ESPN Veteran Russell Wolff Named EVP And General Manager of ESPN+ Streaming Service

ESPN named one of its veteran executives, Russell Wolff, as EVP and general manager of ESPN+, where he’ll oversee Disney’s direct-to-consumer sports streaming service and collaborate on managing and commercializing ESPN-branded digital prod…

ESPN named one of its veteran executives, Russell Wolff, as EVP and general manager of ESPN+, where he’ll oversee Disney’s direct-to-consumer sports streaming service and collaborate on managing and commercializing ESPN-branded digital products. Wolff will report to Michael Paull, president, Disney Streaming Services. "Russell's deep understanding of the ESPN brand and experience across all aspects of the media landscape will bring even more velocity to the service,"…

What Would Netflix Do Without ‘Friends?’

Netflix faced questions about the shifting media landscape during its earnings release, held a week after WarnerMedia announced plans to launch a competing service in a move that follows in the digital footsteps of The Walt Disney Co.
One issue, in par…

Netflix faced questions about the shifting media landscape during its earnings release, held a week after WarnerMedia announced plans to launch a competing service in a move that follows in the digital footsteps of The Walt Disney Co. One issue, in particular, loomed large for Wall Street: What will Netflix do to fill the hole in its content library, once Disney and WarnerMedia claw back their movies and television shows for their own on-demand services? “Content like Frie…

Media Stocks Tumble as Stock Market Drops More Than 800 Points

Stocks in a wide range of media, entertainment and technology companies dipped in tandem with one of the most significant drops in the stock market in months. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 800 points Wednesday, while the S&P 500 c…

Stocks in a wide range of media, entertainment and technology companies dipped in tandem with one of the most significant drops in the stock market in months. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 800 points Wednesday, while the S&P 500 careened to its fourth consecutive loss and the Nasdag fell 4%. Analysts attributed […]

Fox Will be Ready to Close Disney Deal Jan. 1, Says Peter Rice (EXCLUSIVE)

Fox will be logistically ready for its pending mega-deal with the Walt Disney Co. to close Jan. 1, top exec Peter Rice told employees Wednesday. Rice, the 21st Century Fox president who is set to join Disney as a top TV exec when the deal closes, addre…

Fox will be logistically ready for its pending mega-deal with the Walt Disney Co. to close Jan. 1, top exec Peter Rice told employees Wednesday. Rice, the 21st Century Fox president who is set to join Disney as a top TV exec when the deal closes, addressed staffers at a town-hall meeting on the Fox […]

Disney’s Bob Iger Makes It Clear (Once Again): He’s Not Running For President

It didn’t take long for presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin to reference Bob Iger’s long-rumored political ambitions.
The author of Leadership: In Turbulent Times introduced the Walt Disney Co.’s chairman and chief executive a…

It didn’t take long for presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin to reference Bob Iger’s long-rumored political ambitions. The author of Leadership: In Turbulent Times introduced the Walt Disney Co.’s chairman and chief executive at this morning’s Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit with a nod to all the political speculation, joking that Iger “might be running for president.” Iger smiled and silently shook his head. After long minutes discussing Iger’s leadership…

Fox General Counsel Gerson Zweifach Will Leave Following Disney Acquisition

21st Century Fox General Counsel Gerson Zweifach will leave the company with The Walt Disney Co.’s acquisition, which is expected to close in the first half of next year.
The company said Zweifach will return to Williams & Connolly where he s…

21st Century Fox General Counsel Gerson Zweifach will leave the company with The Walt Disney Co.’s acquisition, which is expected to close in the first half of next year. The company said Zweifach will return to Williams & Connolly where he spent more than three decades prior to joining 21CF. He’ll remain with Fox to see the $71.3 billion transaction through to completion. "Gerson is one of the brightest legal minds in the business and has been instrumental in our growth…

ABC’s Rita Ferro to Oversee ESPN Ad Sales, Ed Erhardt to Retire in 2019

ESPN ad sales executive Ed Ernhart is set to retire in early 2019, with ABC’s Rita Ferro to add oversight of the sports media brand as lead of advertising sales for all of Disney.

Ernhart has led ESPN’s ad sales efforts for two decades, during which time ABC and ESPN have been sold separately. Moving forward, Ferro will handle all ESPN and Disney|ABC properties, including digital and the company’s eight owned local stations.

The shift comes after Disney reorganized its global advertising sales efforts into the newly created direct-to-consumer and international division, under the leadership of Kevin Mayer, earlier this year.

Also Read: How Will Edgier FX Shows Like ‘Mayans MC’ Fit Inside Disney’s ‘Family-Friendly’ Brand?

“Uniting our advertising sales efforts gives advertisers and marketers a one-stop shop for reaching audiences across all of The Walt Disney Company’s media properties, providing clients with the best and most effective tools and marketing solutions possible,” Mayer said in a statement.

Ferro who joined Disney more than 20 years ago, having held a number of positions throughout the company. She most recently served as president of advertising sales and marketing for Disney|ABC, a position she’s held since 2017.

“Throughout her career, Rita has consistently grown businesses through a focus on brand building and innovation,” Mayer said. “She has played a crucial role in defining new growth strategies and has been a valued partner to me as we chart a course for our businesses. Rita’s steadfast attention to the needs of both clients and consumers, her track record of successful innovation and delivery of business results make her an ideal candidate to lead our company-wide sales efforts.”

“I’m humbled to step into this new expanded role, and look forward to building upon the progress the teams under Ed and I have made since becoming a part of Disney’s Direct-to Consumer & International segment earlier this year,” said Ferro.

Also Read: Disney Names Karen Hobson SVP of Communications for Streaming and International Division

“It has been an honor to be a part of the ESPN and Disney organization,” Erhardt said. “I have been blessed to sell and market the power of sports and the ESPN brand with best team in the business over the past 20 years. I want to thank George Bodenheimer for giving me this opportunity in 1999 and thank our customers for their partnership, confidence, investments and friendship. I am incredibly proud of the ESPN team’s accomplishments. And I am confident in the direction we’re headed under Jimmy Pitaro’s leadership at ESPN and with Rita at the helm of the overarching ad sales business. She and I have a long, shared history and I’ve seen her leadership first hand. Her integrity and passion for the business will ensure our continued success in the ad sales arena.”

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ESPN ad sales executive Ed Ernhart is set to retire in early 2019, with ABC’s Rita Ferro to add oversight of the sports media brand as lead of advertising sales for all of Disney.

Ernhart has led ESPN’s ad sales efforts for two decades, during which time ABC and ESPN have been sold separately. Moving forward, Ferro will handle all ESPN and Disney|ABC properties, including digital and the company’s eight owned local stations.

The shift comes after Disney reorganized its global advertising sales efforts into the newly created direct-to-consumer and international division, under the leadership of Kevin Mayer, earlier this year.

“Uniting our advertising sales efforts gives advertisers and marketers a one-stop shop for reaching audiences across all of The Walt Disney Company’s media properties, providing clients with the best and most effective tools and marketing solutions possible,” Mayer said in a statement.

Ferro who joined Disney more than 20 years ago, having held a number of positions throughout the company. She most recently served as president of advertising sales and marketing for Disney|ABC, a position she’s held since 2017.

“Throughout her career, Rita has consistently grown businesses through a focus on brand building and innovation,” Mayer said. “She has played a crucial role in defining new growth strategies and has been a valued partner to me as we chart a course for our businesses. Rita’s steadfast attention to the needs of both clients and consumers, her track record of successful innovation and delivery of business results make her an ideal candidate to lead our company-wide sales efforts.”

“I’m humbled to step into this new expanded role, and look forward to building upon the progress the teams under Ed and I have made since becoming a part of Disney’s Direct-to Consumer & International segment earlier this year,” said Ferro.

“It has been an honor to be a part of the ESPN and Disney organization,” Erhardt said. “I have been blessed to sell and market the power of sports and the ESPN brand with best team in the business over the past 20 years. I want to thank George Bodenheimer for giving me this opportunity in 1999 and thank our customers for their partnership, confidence, investments and friendship. I am incredibly proud of the ESPN team’s accomplishments. And I am confident in the direction we’re headed under Jimmy Pitaro’s leadership at ESPN and with Rita at the helm of the overarching ad sales business. She and I have a long, shared history and I’ve seen her leadership first hand. Her integrity and passion for the business will ensure our continued success in the ad sales arena.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

ABC's Rita Ferro to Oversee ESPN Ad Sales, Ed Erhardt to Retire in 2019

'Bewitched' Reboot From Kenya Barris in the Works at ABC

Poppy Montgomery Crime Drama 'Reef Break' Ordered to Series at ABC

Ed Erhardt, ESPN’s Sports Ad-Sales Veteran, to Retire

Ed Erhardt doesn’t do sports coverage for ESPN, but he’s managed to make a few interesting calls of his own in the two decades he’s worked there. During his time as the head of ad-sales at the Walt Disney owned sports-media giant, ESPN has unveiled the…

Ed Erhardt doesn’t do sports coverage for ESPN, but he’s managed to make a few interesting calls of his own in the two decades he’s worked there. During his time as the head of ad-sales at the Walt Disney owned sports-media giant, ESPN has unveiled the “double box,” a split-screen execution that allows viewers to […]

Disney Names Karen Hobson SVP of Communications for Streaming and International Division

Karen Hobson has been named senior vice president of communications for The Walt Disney Co.’s recently created direct-to-consumer and international division, the company announced on Monday.

In the new role, Hobson will oversee all strategic communications efforts for the segment, which houses all of the company’s streaming efforts and international media businesses, including the upcoming Disney-branded streaming service, the recently launched ESPN+ and the company’s ownership stake in Hulu.

She will also help to drive internal communications initiatives across the segment.

Also Read: China Snubs Disney’s ‘Christopher Robin’ Amid Longtime Winnie the Pooh Ban

“Karen is a highly skilled and experienced communicator with a great reputation as a thoughtful and collaborative leader,” said Zenia Mucha, senior executive vice president and chief communications officer. “These qualities, combined with her astute grasp of the complexities of new content platforms and distribution, make her the perfect candidate for this role.”

“Karen is a strategic thinker with a wealth of communications expertise and a passion for innovative technologies that drive new opportunities and shape the media landscape,” added Kevin Mayer, chairman of the direct-to-consumer and international segment. “She’s a perfect fit for this critical part of our business and a welcome addition to our leadership team.”

Hobson is a 21-year veteran of Disney, most recently having served as vice president of corporate communications for the Disney|ABC Television Group.

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Karen Hobson has been named senior vice president of communications for The Walt Disney Co.’s recently created direct-to-consumer and international division, the company announced on Monday.

In the new role, Hobson will oversee all strategic communications efforts for the segment, which houses all of the company’s streaming efforts and international media businesses, including the upcoming Disney-branded streaming service, the recently launched ESPN+ and the company’s ownership stake in Hulu.

She will also help to drive internal communications initiatives across the segment.

“Karen is a highly skilled and experienced communicator with a great reputation as a thoughtful and collaborative leader,” said Zenia Mucha, senior executive vice president and chief communications officer. “These qualities, combined with her astute grasp of the complexities of new content platforms and distribution, make her the perfect candidate for this role.”

“Karen is a strategic thinker with a wealth of communications expertise and a passion for innovative technologies that drive new opportunities and shape the media landscape,” added Kevin Mayer, chairman of the direct-to-consumer and international segment. “She’s a perfect fit for this critical part of our business and a welcome addition to our leadership team.”

Hobson is a 21-year veteran of Disney, most recently having served as vice president of corporate communications for the Disney|ABC Television Group.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Dave Bautista: It's 'Pretty Nauseating' to Work for Disney After Firing of James Gunn

China Snubs Disney's 'Christopher Robin' Amid Longtime Winnie the Pooh Ban

Disney's 'Christopher Robin' Serves Up $1.5 Million at Thursday Box Office

Karen Hobson Named Senior VP, Communications The Walt Disney Co.

Karen Hobson, who most recently was VP, Corporate Communications for the Disney|ABC Television Group, has been named senior VP, Communications, for The Walt Disney Company’s new Direct-to-Consumer and International (DTCI) segment. Hobson, a 21-yea…

Karen Hobson, who most recently was VP, Corporate Communications for the Disney|ABC Television Group, has been named senior VP, Communications, for The Walt Disney Company's new Direct-to-Consumer and International (DTCI) segment. Hobson, a 21-year Disney veteran, will be responsible for overseeing all strategic communications efforts for the Direct-to-Consumer and International segment, which serves as a global, multiplatform media, technology and distribution…

As Comcast Looks To Sky, Will Disney Keep Up The Fight?

As The Walt Disney Co. celebrates the end of its costly bidding war with Comcast Corp. over 21st Century Fox, attention shifts to a secondary front across the Atlantic.
Comcast said it plans to continue its pursuit of Sky, the European satellite broadc…

As The Walt Disney Co. celebrates the end of its costly bidding war with Comcast Corp. over 21st Century Fox, attention shifts to a secondary front across the Atlantic. Comcast said it plans to continue its pursuit of Sky, the European satellite broadcaster whose direct relationship with 23 million customers in seven countries represents an opportunity for the U.S. cable giant to extend its global reach. While Comcast is bidding for the whole of Sky, Fox has been working…

Disney Sells Manhattan Campus, Will Move New York Operations Downtown

Kelly Ripa, Ryan Seacrest and the women from “The View” are taking a trip to downtown New York – along with the rest of Walt Disney’s Big Apple operations. The owner of ABC and ESPN said it had reached a deal with Trinity Church…

Kelly Ripa, Ryan Seacrest and the women from “The View” are taking a trip to downtown New York – along with the rest of Walt Disney’s Big Apple operations. The owner of ABC and ESPN said it had reached a deal with Trinity Church Wall Street to acquire the rights to develop the church’s property […]

Prominent Analysts Give Disney Edge Over Comcast In Fox Bidding War

Disney appears to hold a clear advantage over Comcast in its pursuit of Fox, according to several prominent media analysts. The company will likely emerge the victor in the bidding war for the collection of film and television assets that Rupert Murdoc…

Disney appears to hold a clear advantage over Comcast in its pursuit of Fox, according to several prominent media analysts. The company will likely emerge the victor in the bidding war for the collection of film and television assets that Rupert Murdoch has assembled over three-plus decades. With a little more than three weeks to go until shareholders vote on Disney’s $71.3 billion cash and stock offer to acquire much of Fox, media analysts say the Burbank entertainment…

For Disney or Comcast, the Secret to Snatching Fox May Hinge on Regulators

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: A Mouse and a Peacock start to fight over a Fox. To win the battle, each cites a host of complex regulatory scenarios the other must overcome to prevail. If that tale seems fanciful, so too does the one that wil…

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: A Mouse and a Peacock start to fight over a Fox. To win the battle, each cites a host of complex regulatory scenarios the other must overcome to prevail. If that tale seems fanciful, so too does the one that will, at its end, remake the traditional […]

Fox Board To Meet Next Week To Consider Comcast Bid: Report

21st Century Fox’s board of directors will meet next Wednesday to consider Comcast’s $65 billion bid to acquire most of its film and television assets, Bloomberg reports.
The Fox board, which had agreed last year to sell these assets to the…

21st Century Fox’s board of directors will meet next Wednesday to consider Comcast’s $65 billion bid to acquire most of its film and television assets, Bloomberg reports. The Fox board, which had agreed last year to sell these assets to the Walt Disney Co. in a $52.4 billion all-stock transaction, must evaluate whether the U.S. cable giant’s competing offer has a chance of becoming a superior offer before it could enter negotiations with Comcast, according to the…

Fox Hunt: Disney, It’s Your Move

Few people in Hollywood or on Wall Street expect the Walt Disney Co. to meekly surrender 21st Century Fox to media rival Comcast, though the Burbank entertainment giant has been deafeningly silent on its next move.
Comcast submitted its highly anticipa…

Few people in Hollywood or on Wall Street expect the Walt Disney Co. to meekly surrender 21st Century Fox to media rival Comcast, though the Burbank entertainment giant has been deafeningly silent on its next move. Comcast submitted its highly anticipated $65 billion counter offer for much of Fox’s film and television assets, besting Disney’s all-stock bid by $10 billion. The Philadelphia-based media conglomerate turned up the heat by appealing directly to Fox’s…

Pixar Co-Founder John Lasseter Departs Amid Growing Sense He Wasn’t Welcome Back

The Walt Disney Co.’s decision Friday to part ways with Pixar co-founder John Lasseter ends months of speculation about whether he would return to the two animation studios that thrived under his creative influence, but came without acknowledging…

The Walt Disney Co.’s decision Friday to part ways with Pixar co-founder John Lasseter ends months of speculation about whether he would return to the two animation studios that thrived under his creative influence, but came without acknowledging the “misdeeds” that led to his abrupt departure on sabbatical over six months ago. Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger issued a statement lauding Lasseter for reinventing animation, taking “breathtaking risks,” telling original…

ESPN’s Pitch to Madison Ave: You Can’t Ignore Our Live Sports Viewers (EXCLUSIVE)

ESPN’s pitch to advertisers next week is that it already has the most of what they want. The Walt Disney-controlled sports-media giant intends to remind advertisers next week at the start of TV’s annual “upfront” presentations that 98% of the viewing o…

ESPN’s pitch to advertisers next week is that it already has the most of what they want. The Walt Disney-controlled sports-media giant intends to remind advertisers next week at the start of TV’s annual “upfront” presentations that 98% of the viewing of content across all its distribution points is done live. “It is C-five minutes,” […]

21st Century Fox Falls Short Of Earnings Expectations, As Broadcast TV Revenue Plummets

21st Century Fox fell short of Wall Street’s earnings expectations with its third-quarter, as broadcast television and film business reported declines from a year ago.
The company reported per-share adjusted earnings of 49 cents, shy of consensus…

21st Century Fox fell short of Wall Street’s earnings expectations with its third-quarter, as broadcast television and film business reported declines from a year ago. The company reported per-share adjusted earnings of 49 cents, shy of consensus analyst estimates of 53 cents a share. Revenue for Fox’s third quarter reached $7.42 billion, exceeding analyst forecasts of $7.4 billion but representing a 2% decrease from a year ago. The television group saw its operating…

James Murdoch Apparently Not Disney-Bound After All: Report

Remember all the speculation about James Murdoch joining The Walt Disney Co. with the closing of the $52.4 billion deal for most of 21st Century Fox’s assets, possibly in a senior management role?
Apparently not.
The Wall Street Journal reports t…

Remember all the speculation about James Murdoch joining The Walt Disney Co. with the closing of the $52.4 billion deal for most of 21st Century Fox’s assets, possibly in a senior management role? Apparently not. The Wall Street Journal reports that Murdoch is planning to strike out on his own should the deal close, possibly launching his own venture-capital fund. Disney CEO Bob Iger had been vague about a position for Murdoch, post acquisition, saying during a December…