It’s a surprising move. And, The Walt Disney Co. confirmed it on Thursday afternoon.
Peter Rice is out, and Dana Walden is taking on his responsibilities.
Walden has been named Chairman of Disney General Entertainment Content, and the news came directly from Disney CEO Bob Chapek.
In this role, Walden will lead Disney’s general entertainment content engine that creates original entertainment and news programming for the company’s streaming platforms and its cable and broadcast networks.
In particular, Walden will have oversight of ABC Entertainment, ABC News, Disney Branded Television, Disney Television Studios, Freeform, FX, Hulu Originals, National Geographic Content and Onyx Collective.
She rises from the role of Walt Disney Television Chairman of Entertainment, as Rice exits the company. Her appointment is effective immediately.
“Dana is a dynamic, collaborative leader and cultural force who in just three years has transformed our television business into a content powerhouse that consistently delivers the entertainment audiences crave,” Chapek said. “Her well-earned reputation for championing creative talent and developing programming that truly captures the cultural zeitgeist has resulted in hit after hit, from ABC’s Abbott Elementary and Onyx Collective’s Academy Award-winning Summer of Soul, to Hulu Originals like Only Murders in the Building, Dopesick, The Dropout and The Kardashians. She and Peter have worked closely together for years to create the best programming in the industry, and I can think of no one better than Dana to lead Disney General Entertainment to even greater heights.”
Walden joined Disney in 2019 with the company’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox, and in her role leading Entertainment for Walt Disney Television, she oversaw Disney Television Studios (20th Television, ABC Signature, 20th Television Animation and Walt Disney Television Alternative), the original entertainment slates and content marketing for ABC, Freeform, Hulu Originals and Onyx Collective.
“It is an incredible honor to be asked to lead this amazingly talented team—they are truly the absolute best in every respect—and I am grateful to Bob for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Walden said. “Disney General Entertainment’s culture of creative excellence and originality has made us home to many of the most talented creators in the business. I am humbled to lead this team, and I am confident that together, we will continue to build on the foundation of culture-defining entertainment we have achieved so far.”
Walden once served as Chairman/CEO of Fox Television Group, which included Fox Broadcasting Company, 20th Century Fox Television, Fox 21 Television Studios, Fox Consumer Products and the syndication supplier, 20th Television. She began her career at the public relations firm Bender, Goldman & Helper. At Fox, she rose through the ranks in roles that ranged from communications to programming, ultimately serving as executive vice president of Drama before being named head of the studio in 1999.