Walt Disney Television
The current incarnation of Walt Disney Television is an American entertainment company that oversees television content and assets owned and operated by The Walt Disney Company. Forming the company's General Entertainment division, it was formerly called Disney–ABC Television Group, ABC Group before that, and Capital Cities/ABC initially, until Disney's acquisition of 21st Century Fox on March 20, 2019. Assets in the group include television networks: ABC Entertainment, Disney Channels, and FX Networks; Disney Television Studios: ABC Signature, 20th Television and 20th Television Animation; and Hulu Originals.
|Industry||Broadcast and cable television|
|Predecessor||American Broadcasting-Paramount Theatres|
the production company of the same name
|Founded||March 18, 1985|
|Worldwide, mainly serving United States|
|Services||Television production and distribution|
Number of employees
|Parent||Disney General Entertainment Content|
(The Walt Disney Company)
|Footnotes / references|
In 1996, Disney acquired Capital Cities/ABC Inc., and initially re-branded the holding media conglomerate as ABC Group. The assets acquired at the time included ABC Television Network Group, CC/ABC Broadcasting Group (ABC Radio Network, eight TV and 21 radio stations), ABC Cable and International Broadcast Group, CC/ABC Publishing Group and CC/ABC Multimedia Group to the fold. The Cable and International Broadcast Group contained ownership shares of ESPN, Inc. (80%), A&E Television Networks (37.5%), DIC Productions, L.P. (Limited Partnership stake), Lifetime Television (50%) and its international investments. These investments included Tele-München (50%, Germany; included 20% of RTL II), Hamster Productions. (33%, France) and Scandinavian Broadcasting System (23%, Luxembourg). ESPN also had international holdings: Eurosport (33.3%, England), TV Sport (10%, France; Eurosport affiliate) and The Japan Sports Channel (20%). The Publishing Group including Fairchild Publications, Chilton Publications, multiple newspapers from a dozen dailies (including the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, The Kansas City Star) and more weeklies, and dozens more publications in the fields of farm, business and law trade journals plus LA Magazine to Institutional Investor. The Multimedia Group pursued businesses in new and emerging media technologies, including the interactive television, pay-per-view, VOD, HDTV, video cassette, Optical disc, on-line services and location-based entertainment.
In April 1996, due to ongoing post Disney-CC/ABC merger realignment and retirement of its president, WDTT group's division were reassigned to other groups with Walt Disney Television International (including Disney Channels International and Buena Vista Television domestic syndication and Pay TV division and GMTV and Super RTL holdings) were transferred to Capital Cities/ABC. In May due to the merger, ABC ended its ABC Productions division operations while keeping its boutique production companies: Victor Television, DIC Productions, L.P., ABC/Kane Productions and Greengrass Productions. The international operations of Disney TV International and ABC Cable and International Broadcast Group were merged in June as Disney/ABC International Television.
Under Disney, ABC Group sold various publishing companies in 1997. Chilton was sold to Reed Elsevier for $447 million and received $142 million from Euromoney Publications for Institutional Investor. In April, Knight Ridder purchased four newspapers including The Kansas City Star and The Fort Worth Star-Telegram for $1.65 billion. In August 1999, Fairchild Publications was sold to Conde Nast Publications for $650 million. In March 1998, ABC placed it shares of Scandinavian Broadcasting System up for sale.
In late 1999, Walt Disney Television, along with other television units, were transferred again from The Walt Disney Studios to Disney–ABC Television Group and merged with ABC's primetime division, ABC Entertainment, forming ABC Entertainment Group. Robert A. Iger was promoted from president and chief operating officer in February 1999 to chairman of ABC Group and president of Walt Disney International.
In March 2000, ABC formed the Disney Kids Network (DKN) advertising group via consolidation to sell ads for ABC's "TGIF" primetime programming, Disney's One Saturday Morning, the Disney's One Too syndicated programming block, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, The Wonderful World of Disney and Winnie the Pooh primetime specials. DKN was placed under senior vice president of sales at ABC, Dan Barnathan, and would also work on some ads with Radio Disney, Disney.com and the Disney Adventures magazine. DKN added Toon Disney when the channel started accepting ads in September 2000.
Iger was named president and chief operating officer of The Walt Disney Company in January 2000. In 2000, with an investment by Bain Capital and Chase Capital Partners, Heyward re-purchased DIC Entertainment, L.P. from Disney, making the company re-independent
In September 2002, Disney Chairman/CEO Michael Eisner outlined a proposed realignment of the ABC broadcast network's daytime parts with the similar unit in its cable channels: ABC Saturday mornings with Disney Channel units (Toon & Playhouse), ABC daytime with Soapnet and ABC prime time with ABC Family. In October 2003, ABC Family Worldwide was changed from a unit directly reporting to the Disney COO to a unit running within the ABC Cable Networks Group under Anne Sweeney.
Disney–ABC Television GroupEdit
On April 21, 2004, Disney announced a restructuring of its Disney Media Networks division with Sweeney being named president of ABC parent Disney–ABC Television Group, and ESPN president George Bodenheimer becoming co-CEO of the division with Sweeney, as well as president of ABC Sports. This move added ABC TV Network within Disney-ABC. ABC1 channel initially launched in the United Kingdom on September 27, 2004 as the first use of the ABC brand outside the US. While ABC News Now was launched that year in the US on digital subchannel of 70 ABC owned & operated and affiliates.
On June 12, 2007, Disney spun off its ABC Radio Networks and merged it into Citadel Communications with Citadel Broadcasting while retaining its ESPN Radio and Radio Disney networks and stations and a 10-year news provider licensing agreement with Citadel for ABC News Radio and the networks.
In February 2007, the previous iteration of Touchstone Television was renamed ABC Television Studio as part of Disney's push to drop secondary brands like Buena Vista for Disney, ABC, ESPN, and most recently, A&E Networks. ABC1 in the UK was shut down on September 26, 2007.
On January 22, 2009, Disney–ABC said it would merge ABC Entertainment and ABC Studios into a new unit called ABC Entertainment Group. That April, ABC Enterprises took an ownership stake in Hulu in exchange for online distribution license and $25 million in the ABC network ad credits. The Live Well Network (LWN) was launched on April 27, 2009 by ABC Owned Television Stations on the stations' subchannels. Later that year, A+E Networks acquired Lifetime Entertainment Services with DATG ownership increasing to 42%. In November, Disney-ABC sells GMTV to ITV for $37 million.
On March 24, 2012, following the dissolution of the ABC Daytime division, ABC Family Worldwide Inc. began taking operational control of Soapnet until that network was slowly discontinued for Disney Junior.
In July 2012, NBCUniversal confirmed plans to sell its 15.8% stake in A+E Networks to Disney for $3 billion (along with its previous owner Hearst Entertainment & Syndication, who became 50-50 partners in the joint venture).
On August 21, 2013, Disney–ABC announced it will lay off 175 employees. The layoffs are expected to hit positions among technical operations as well as the unit's eight local stations. On October 28, ABC News and Univision Communications launched Fusion, a cable Hispanic news and satire channel.
In August 2014, A+E took a 10% stake in Vice Media for $250 million, then announced in April 2015 that H2 would be rebranded into the Vice channel with an indicated early 2016 launch. Disney also directly made two $200 investments in Vice Media in November 2015, then a week later in December, they directly invested in it again for 10% to assist in funding its programming. ABC Family became Freeform on January 12, 2016.
On April 21, 2016, Disney–ABC sold its share in Fusion to Univision. In September 2016, the group's president Ben Sherwood named Bruce Rosenblum, Television Academy chairman and former head of Warner Bros. TV Group, as president of business operations in s the newly created position, to reduce the number of direct reports from 17 to about 8. Roseblum would oversee ad sales in conjunction with channel heads, affiliate sales and marketing, engineering, digital media, global distribution, IT, research and strategy and business development. This allows Sherwood to focus on content and direct operating units that continue to directly report to him, ABC network units, cable channel units (Disney Channels Worldwide, and Freeform), ABC Studios and ABC TV Stations.
With the March 14, 2018, Disney Company reorganization, in anticipation of integrating Fox assets from a proposed acquisition, all international channels including Disney Channels have been transferred to Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International, a new segment, with US channels remaining with Disney–ABC Television Group. All global sales units and distribution units have been transfer to the Disney Direct-to-Consumer segment.
Walt Disney TelevisionEdit
On October 8, 2018, Disney announced the division would be renamed Walt Disney Television following the completion of its acquisition of 21st Century Fox. The acquisition added 20th Century Fox Television, FX Networks and FX Productions, Fox 21 Television Studios, and National Geographic Networks to the division. Fox television executives Peter Rice, Dana Walden, John Landgraf, and Gary Knell joined The Walt Disney Company on March 20, 2019.
On March 5, 2019, Craig Hunegs was named to lead the combined Disney Television Studios — ABC Studios, ABC Signature, 20th Century Fox Television and Fox 21 Television Studios. He would report to Walden.
Following the completed acquisition of the 21st Century Fox assets in March 2019, Disney reorganized its television division to align various operations. On June 10, 2019, Disney announced that both Disney Television Studios and FX Entertainment would share the same casting division. After assuming full control over Hulu in May 2019, Disney reorganized Hulu's reporting structure in July 2019, placing Hulu's Scripted Originals team under Walt Disney Television. Under the new structure, Hulu's SVP of Original Scripted Content would report directly to the chairman of Disney Television Studios and ABC Entertainment.
On August 10, 2020, Disney Television Studios rebranded all of its three studios, effective immediately, as part of merger terms which required dropping "Fox" from assets acquired from 21st Century Fox. 20th Century Fox Television became 20th Television; Fox 21 Television Studios became the current iteration of Touchstone Television to avoid brand confusion with Fox Corporation; and ABC Studios merged with the original incarnation of ABC Signature Studios to form the current ABC Signature. In addition, the former 20th Television – the syndication arm of 20th Century Fox TV – was folded into Disney-ABC Domestic Television. In December 2020, Touchstone Television merged into 20th Television.
In February 2021, Disney Television Studios established a new unit known as Walt Disney Television Alternative, which will oversee the development of non-scripted programming. The division is led by Rob Mills, the former ABC SVP of alternative series, specials and late-night.
This is the current structure of the Walt Disney Television units based on reporting hierarchy:
|Entertainment||Disney Branded Television||FX Networks||National Geographic
- Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment – also known as Disney–ABC Home Entertainment and Television Distribution
- Disney–ABC Domestic Television – formerly Buena Vista Television
- Disney Media Distribution – formerly Disney–ABC International Television and before that, ABC Cable and International Broadcast Group
- Disney Channels Worldwide - international channels only
- Hulu (60%; 2009–2018)
- Buena Vista International Television Investments
- GMTV (1993–2009) UK, 25%
- Super RTL (1995) Germany
- Kividoo subscription video-on-demand (2015)
- Toggo Plus (2016)
- ABC Radio Networks (1945–2007) sold to Cumulus Media
- American Contemporary Network (January 1, 1968)
- American Information Network (January 1, 1968)
- American Entertainment Network (January 1, 1968)
- American FM Network (January 1, 1968)
- ABC Rock Radio Network (January 4, 1982)
- ABC Direction Radio Network (January 4, 1982)
- ABC Talk Radio (1980s)
- Urban Advantage Network (UAN)
- Radio Disney Group (2003–2014) sold individual stations except one.
- Walt Disney Television (1999-2003)
- Disney MovieToons/Disney Video Premieres (1996-2003) came as a part of Disney TV Animation transfer out to Walt Disney Feature Animation.
- DIC Entertainment, L.P. (1996-2000) sold back to Andy Heyward.
- Jetix - merged into Disney Channels Worldwide.
- ABC News Now (2004-2009) digital subchannel network.
- Touchstone Television (2020) folded into 20th Television
Walt Disney Television and TelecommunicationsEdit
|KCAL-TV Los Angeles||Sold to Young|
|Walt Disney Television||Disney Studios|
|Disney Television Animation|
|Buena Vista Home Entertainment|
|Walt Disney Television International||CC/ABC|
|Disney Channel International|
|Buena Vista Television|
|Disney TeleVentures, Inc.||Disney corporate|
Walt Disney Television and Telecommunications (WDTT) was a division of The Walt Disney Company. At the time Disney and Capital Cities/ABC merged, WDTT's divisions were The Disney Channel, KCAL-TV Los Angeles, Walt Disney Television, Touchstone Television, Buena Vista Home Entertainment, and Disney Interactive.
On August 24, 1994, with Jeffrey Katzenberg's resignation, a reorganization of Disney took place in which Richard H. Frank became head of newly formed Walt Disney Television and Telecommunications, which was split from its filmed entertainment business, Walt Disney Studios. On December 5, 1994, Walt Disney Computer Software was transferred within WDTT as Disney Interactive. At the end of his contract on April 30, 1995, Frank left Disney. Dennis Hightower, a marketing executive, was appointed by April 9 to succeed Frank.
In April 1996, due to ongoing post-Disney-CC/ABC merger realignment and the retirement of Hightower as president, WDTT's divisions were reassigned to other groups, with most of them transferred to either The Walt Disney Studios or CC/ABC. KCAL was sold to Young Broadcasting in May 1996 due to CC/ABC ownership of KABC-TV.
- Low, Elaine (October 12, 2020). "Disney Reorganizes Content and Distribution Units to Bolster Streaming Businesses". Variety. Retrieved October 14, 2020.
- "About - Leadership, Management Team : Media Networks". The Walt Disney Company. Retrieved March 22, 2019.
- Low, Elaine (March 5, 2019). "Disney Taps Warner Bros. Vet Craig Hunegs to Lead Merged TV Studios Unit". Variety. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
- Guthrie, Marisa (September 14, 2016). "Disney/ABC TV's Ben Sherwood on a 'Star Wars' Series, "Mistakes" in Michael Strahan's 'Live' Exit and Bob Iger's Future". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
- Newcomb, Horace (2014). Encyclopedia of Television. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-135-19472-7.
- "Fact Sheet: The Walt Disney Company". Press Release. The Walt Disney Company. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
- "Roth, Iger Assume Expanded Responsibilities at the Walt Disney Company". PRNewswire. April 16, 1996. Retrieved March 11, 2013.
- Littleton, Cynthia. (May 27, 1996) ABC folds in-house arm. (TV series production unit). Broadcasting & Cable. Access on November 13, 2013.
- Johnson, Debra (July 1, 1996). "Granath takes top slot at Disney/ABC International". Broadcasting & Cable. Archived from the original on June 6, 2014. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
- Kuczynski, Alex (August 20, 1999). "THE MEDIA BUSINESS; Merger Planned for 2 Giants of Fashion Publishing". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
- "Disney to sell SBS stake" (PDF). Broadcasting & Cable. March 2, 1998. p. 39. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
- Hofmeister, Sallie (July 8, 1999). "Disney Plans to Consolidate Two of Its Television Groups". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 5, 2013.
- Hofmeister, Sallie (July 9, 1999). "Disney Combining Network TV Operations Into One ABC Unit". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 5, 2013.
- Schlosser, Joe (November 29, 1999). "A Mouse in-house". Broadcasting & Cable. Archived from the original on October 11, 2013. Retrieved July 8, 2013.
- Newcomb, Horace (2014). Encyclopedia of Television (2nd illustrated, reprint, revised ed.). Routledge. p. 1167. ISBN 978-1-135-19472-7. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
- Hettrick, Scott (February 25, 2000). "Stay Toon-ed For Ads On Disney Spinoff Channel". All Business. The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on March 21, 2009. Retrieved April 12, 2014.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
- Haman, Andrea (February 1, 2001). "Disney Kids Network looks for cross-promo opps". Kid Screen. Brunico Communications Ltd. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
- Weinraub, Bernard (January 25, 2000). "Disney Names New President In Reshuffling". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
In appointing Mr. Iger as Disney's president and chief operating officer, Mr. Eisner sent a clear signal that he viewed the 48-year-old chairman of the Disney-owned ABC Group as a potential heir running the Disney empire.
- Lyons, Charles (November 19, 2000). "DIC plays new toon". Variety. Retrieved January 27, 2016.
- McClellan, Steve; Trigoboff, Dan (October 7, 2002). "Eisner touts 'national' duops: disney chief's turnaround plan couples ABC, cable networks by daypart". Broadcasting & Cable. Highbeam.com. Archived from the original on June 10, 2014. Retrieved July 8, 2013.
- Romano, Allison (October 20, 2003). "Sweeney is family's new parent figure". Broadcasting & Cable. Archived from the original on June 11, 2014. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
- Fabrikant, Geraldine (January 5, 1996). "THE MEDIA BUSINESS;Disney and ABC Shareholders Solidly Approve Merger Deal". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
- "ABC Networks Get Major Executive Overhaul". The Futon Critic.
- Deans, Jason (August 5, 2004). "ABC spells out plans for Freeview channel". The Guardian. Retrieved February 19, 2014.
- Jesdanun, Anick (September 4, 2004). "ABC News banks on digital, despite small audiences today". USA Today. AP. Retrieved May 29, 2014.
- Rosenthal, Phil (February 7, 2006). "Disney in deal to merge ABC Radio with Citadel". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Publishing. Retrieved June 7, 2016.
- "Disney and Citadel Announce Completion of ABC Radio Merger" (Press release). The Walt Disney Company & Citadel Broadcasting Corporation. Business Wire. June 12, 2007. Retrieved June 7, 2016.
- Fixmer, Fixmer (April 25, 2007). "Disney to Drop Buena Vista Brand Name, People Say (Update1)". bloomberg.com. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
- "Disney pulls plug on ABC1". Digital Spy. September 26, 2007. Retrieved September 26, 2007.
- James, Meg; Chmielewski, Dawn (January 23, 2009). "ABC Combines TV Network, Production Units". Los Angeles Times.
- Disney Combines ABC's Programming, Production Units, Bloomberg.com, January 23, 2009
- Stone, Brad; Stelter, Brian (April 30, 2009). "ABC Will Add Its Shows to Hulu Site". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
- "ABC O&Os Launch Digital Network". Broadcasting & Cable. April 27, 2009. Retrieved August 19, 2015.
- ABC O&Os Launch Digital Network, Broadcasting & Cable, April 27, 2009
- ABC Multicasts Live Well HD Channel, Mediaweek, October 25, 2009
- A&E Acquires Lifetime. Variety.com. August 27, 2009.
- "Disney sells stake in U.K.'s GMTV". Variety. November 26, 2009. Retrieved April 3, 2015.
- Eades, Chris (March 1, 2012). "ABC Family Is Taking Over SOAPnet... For Now!". Soaps in Depth. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
- Giddens, Jamey (February 29, 2012). "BREAKING NEWS: Kate Nelson OUT at SOAPnet; Day-to-Day Operations Now Under ABC Family Until Channel Goes Dark". Daytime Confidential. Confidential Media, Inc. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
- "Walt Disney Company, Form 10-Q, Quarterly Report, Filing Date Aug 7, 2012" (PDF). secdatabase.com. Retrieved May 12, 2018.
- Goldsmith, Jill (July 10, 2012). "Comcast to sell A&E stake for $3 billion: A&E to redeem the 15.8% stake". Variety. Retrieved July 11, 2012.
- Steinberg, Brian (August 21, 2013). "Disney To Eliminate 175 Jobs At ABC Television Group". Variety. Retrieved September 6, 2013.
- James, Meg (August 1, 2013). "ABC-Univision cable network, Fusion, to launch Oct. 28". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 2, 2013.
- Atkinson, Claire (April 28, 2015). "Vice to get TV channel, replacing H2 on A&E Networks' roster". NY Post. NYP Holdings, Inc. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
- Ember, Sydney (December 8, 2015). "Disney Invests $200 Million More in Vice Media to Support New Programming". New York Times. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
- Petski, Denise (December 10, 2015). "ABC Family Name-Change To Coincide With 'Pretty Little Liars' & 'Shadowhunters' Premieres". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
- James, Meg. "Walt Disney Co.'s ABC sells its Fusion stake to Univision, exits joint venture". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 21, 2016.
- Littleton, Cynthia (September 16, 2016). "Bruce Rosenblum Joins Disney/ABC TV as President of Business Operations". Variety. Retrieved September 20, 2016.
- Wang, Christine (March 14, 2018). "Disney announces strategic reorganization, effective immediately". CNBC. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
- Andreeva, Nellie (October 8, 2018). "Disney Unveils Top TV Executive Structure Post Fox Acquisition: Peter Rice, Dana Walden, John Landgraf, Gary Knell Joining". Deadline. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
- Andreeva, Nellie (June 10, 2019). "Sharon Klein Named Head Of Casting For Disney Television Studios & FX Entertainment". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
- Low, Elaine (July 31, 2019). "Walt Disney Television Gains Oversight of Hulu's Scripted Originals Content Team". Variety. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
- Andreeva, Nellie (August 10, 2020). "Disney Television Studios Rebrands Its Three Units As 20th Television, ABC Signature & Touchstone Television". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 10, 2020.
- Holloway, Daniel (December 1, 2020). "Dana Walden Reorganizes Disney TV Team; Karey Burke Moves to 20th as Craig Erwich Adds ABC Entertainment". Variety. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
- White, Peter (February 3, 2021). "ABC Unscripted Chief Rob Mills To Oversee Walt Disney Television Alternative Unit As Part Of Expanded Role". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 3, 2020.
- Low, Elaine (August 10, 2020). "Disney Rebrands TV Studios, 20th Century Fox TV to Become 20th Television". Variety. Retrieved August 10, 2020.
- "Annual Report" (PDF). thewaltdisneycompany.com. The Walt Disney Company. September 28, 2013. p. 3. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 7, 2014. Retrieved July 7, 2014.
Disney Channels Worldwide includes over 100 channels available in 34 languages and 166 countries/territories. Branded channels include Disney Channel, Disney Junior , Disney XD, Disney Cinemagic, Hungama and DLife.
- Briel, Robert (November 16, 2012). "KEK okays Disney's takeover of Das Vierte". Broadband TV News. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
- "New York Firm to Buy KCAL-TV for $385 Million". Los Angeles Times. May 14, 1996. Retrieved May 11, 2013.
- Weinraub, Bernard (August 25, 1994). "Chairman of Disney Studios Resigns". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 28, 2014.
- Polsson, Ken. "July to December 1994". Chronology of the Walt Disney Company. Ken Polsson. Retrieved December 6, 2012. sources:
*Fisher, Maxine (1988). Walt Disney. pp. A8.
*The New York Times. December 6, 1994. pp. D5. Missing or empty
|title=(help)|date=February 1995 |journal=CD-ROM Today |volume=3 |issue=2 |pages=26}}
*Windows Magazine. 6 (3): 42. March 1995. Missing or empty
- Weinraub, Bernard (March 7, 1995). "THE MEDIA BUSINESS; Top Disney TV Official May Leave". The New York Times. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
- Weinraub, Bernard (April 9, 1995). "Clouds Over Disneyland". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 17, 2019.