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Peter Rice, Dana Walden to Lead Disney-ABC’s TV Networks and Studio After Fox Deal Closes

John Landgraf to become chairman of FX Networks and FX Productions, Gary E. Knell will chair Nat Geo Partners

Peter Rice and Dana Walden will lead Disney-ABC’s TV networks and studio after the Fox acquisition closes, the Walt Disney Company said on Monday. Under them, John Landgraf and Gary E. Knell will serve as chairmen of FX and Nat Geo Partners.

Ben Sherwood, the co-chair of Disney Media Networks and the president of the Disney-ABC Television Group, will remain in his role until the Fox deal is finished. We learned last month that he would be leaving.

The 21st Century Fox executives selected to move over to the high-level Disney roles are not unexpected — but they are very noteworthy and important promotions.

Rice is currently president of 21st Century Fox and chairman and CEO of Fox Networks Group. Walden currently oversees Fox’s broadcast network and its studio with partner Gary Newman, who is expected to stay put. Knell is currently president and CEO of the National Geographic Society; Landgraf is CEO for the FX networks and its studio.

Soon, Walden, Landgraf and Knell will report to Rice — as will Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer of Disney Channels Worldwide. James Goldston, the president of ABC News, will also report in to Rice, who himself reports directly to Bob Iger.

Here is the list of Walden’s direct reports:
– Channing Dungey, president, ABC Entertainment
- Patrick Moran, president, ABC Studios
- Jonathan Davis and Howard Kurtzman, presidents of Twentieth Century Fox Television
- Bert Salke, president, Fox 21 Television Studios
– Tom Ascheim, president, Freeform
- Wendy McMahon, president, ABC Owned Television Stations Group

“The strength of 21st Century Fox’s first-class management talent has always been a compelling part of this opportunity for us,” said Iger, the chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company. “Upon completion of the acquisition, this new structure positions these proven leaders to help drive maximum value from a greatly enhanced portfolio of incredible brands and businesses.”

“I want to personally thank Ben Sherwood for his years of service at ABC and Disney,” he added. “Ben has been a valued colleague, and I deeply appreciate his many contributions and insights, as well as his professionalism and cooperation in this transition.”

“I love making television and have been fortunate to work with incredibly talented executives and storytellers,” Rice said. “Disney is the world’s preeminent creative company, and I look forward to working for Bob, and with his exceptional leadership team, to build on that amazing legacy. I also want to thank Rupert, Lachlan and James Murdoch for the privilege of working on such a wide array of movies and television, both entertainment and sports. It has been a wonderful thirty years.”