Disney Branded Television President and Chief Creative Officer Gary Marsh is stepping down after 33 years with the company. He will launch his own production company, which has a deal with Disney.
Under that pact, Marsh will make two new “Descendants” movies and a “Beauty and the Beast” prequel, as well as series “Tink,” “School for Sensitive Souls” and “Witch Mountain.” Marsh, who departs Disney proper at the end of 2021, will create content for all of Disney’s many platforms, including Disney+, Hulu, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, ABC, National Geographic, Freeform and FX.
While you might not know Gary Marsh’s name, you know his work. Marsh developed and shepherded iconic Disney shows like “High School Musical,” “Hannah Montana,” “Lizzie McGuire,” “The Descendants” and “That’s So Raven,” among many others. And parents owe him a debt of gratitude — it was Marsh who launched Disney Junior Channel and shows like “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,” “Doc McStuffins,” “Elena of Avalor” and “Sofia the First.”
“For 33 years, I’ve had the greatest job in television,” Marsh said in a statement on Tuesday. “The stories we’ve told, the music we’ve created, the stars we’ve discovered, the franchises we’ve built – all of it has entertained and engaged millions of kids and families around the globe. Thanks to the reach of Disney’s streaming platforms, those stories will live forever in the hearts and minds of future generations, alongside all the new stories I look forward to telling. There simply could not be a more compelling or creatively stimulating time to enter the production ranks.”
“Gary’s leadership and creative genius have shaped a generation of beloved kids and family programming, and we are forever grateful for the indelible impact he’s made at The Walt Disney Company,” Peter Rice, chairman of Disney General Entertainment, added. “Gary is a valued leader and good friend, and we’ve been talking about this move for years. So when he decided to focus solely on producing after three decades of an amazing executive career, I jumped at the opportunity to keep him among us.”
Marsh’s move has been in the works for quite a while, Disney said on Tuesday. He agreed to stay put through Disney’s acquisition of most of the Fox assets and the company reorg that followed. And then there was COVID.