Federal Judge Disqualifies Himself From Hearing Disney Lawsuit

A federal judge on Thursday disqualified himself from hearing Walt Disney Co.’s civil suit against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and other state officials, citing a small financial interest in the company by a relative.

Disney/ABC Head Of Affiliate Relations John Rouse To Retire After 33 Years

John Rouse, who has been with The Walt Disney Co. for the past 33 years, most recently as EVP of affiliate relations for the ABC Television Network, is stepping down at the end of July. Rouse announced his upcoming retirement Wednesday in a note to ABC affiliates and station group heads. The position, which reports to Justin Connolly, president, Disney Platform Distribution, will be refilled.

Disney Finishes Laying Off 7,000 Employees

Disney reached its 7,000 layoffs goal, handing out notices to the remaining employees impacted in its third round of job cuts last Friday ahead of the Memorial Day holiday weekend. The Mouse House’s target was to conclude these companywide layoffs, which focused most heavily on the media divisions and left the parks largely untouched, ahead of the summer. The company still has plans to eliminate more roles internationally over a period of time, according to a source close to the situation.

Disney’s ABC, ESPN Weakness Adds Pressure To Make Streaming Profitable

Earnings from traditional TV have fallen sharply after helping to offset Disney+ losses in recent years.

DeSantis Asks That Judge Be Disqualified From Disney’s Free Speech Lawsuit

DeSantis ‘ attorney filed a motion in federal court in Tallahassee on Friday seeking to disqualify Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker from overseeing the lawsuit filed by Disney last month. The lawsuit alleges that DeSantis and his appointees violated the company’s right to free speech, as well as the contracts clause, by taking over the special governing district that previously had been controlled by Disney supporters after Disney opposed Florida legislation that critics have dubbed “Don’t Say Gay.”

Disney Scraps Plan To Move Staffers To Florida From California

Just over a week ago, Bob Iger rhetorically asked the adversarial  Gov. Ron DeSantis if Florida really wanted Disney’s considerable business and tax revenue, or not. Now, without mentioning the would-be presidential contender or his attacks on the company, the Mouse House has pulled some of that business and taxes revenues from the Sunshine State. In a note that just went out from Parks and Resorts boss Josh D’Amaro to Disney Parks, Experiences & Products employees, Disney is abandoning its plan to move around 2,000 staffers and their families to central Florida from California.

Disney CFO Says Advertising Will Come Back

Rita Ferro, Disney president, advertising sales: “The Walt Disney Co. has the best broadcast, the best of cable, the best of sports and the best of streaming, coupled with the best investments around data and technology that really enable advertisers to buy in as close as they want to, to make sure that they’re spending the right money around the right KPIs.”

Disney Leans Into Spectacle In Extensive Upfront Pitch

There weren’t any actors at Disney’s Tuesday presentation at Manhattan’s Jacob Javits Convention Center, but Kim Kardashian, Ryan Seacrest, Serena Williams and Damar Hamlin were brought out to wow the crowd of media buyers.

Disney Asks Florida Court To Toss Lawsuit Brought By Ron DeSantis’s Handpicked Board Over Walt Disney World Jurisdiction

The Walt Disney Co. is asking a judge to dismiss or stay a state lawsuit brought by the special district that oversees its Florida property, calling the litigation “moot” given recent actions taken by the state. In a motion filed in Florida state court in Orange County, Disney also said that Florida law requires that the state court sideline the lawsuit until the company’s own federal case against Governor Ron DeSantis is resolved.

Comcast CEO Says It’s ‘More Likely Than Not’ It Will Sell Remaining Hulu Stake To Disney

It seems more and more likely that Disney is going to fully own Hulu. It just comes down to price. Speaking Tuesday at MoffettNathanson’s Technology, Media and Telecom Conference in New York, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts addressed Comcast selling its 33% stake in the streamer. “I think it’s more likely than not,” Roberts said.

Former Disney CEO Bob Chapek, Current CFO Named In Shareholder Lawsuit Alleging ‘Fraudulent’ Streaming Statements

Bob Chapek, the former Disney CEO who was abruptly ousted from the company last November, is among a group of executives facing a lawsuit claiming violations of securities law for allegedly providing misleading statements and omissions about Disney+ and its subscriber growth.

Bob Iger Rebuilt Disney. Fighting DeSantis Could Define His Legacy

Corporate America is closely watching to see whether one of the country’s most powerful companies can face down a threat to its self-governance and free speech.

Disney Stock Falls On Uncertainty Over Streaming Profitability, Ad Weakness

Shares of Disney slipped as much as 9% in trading Thursday after the media conglomerate reported earnings for the first three months of 2023. Disney’s earnings report showed progress on the cost-cutting front — with streaming losses narrowing for the quarter — but analysts cited a weak advertising outlook and uncertainty over when its streaming business can contribute to the bottom line.


Disney Seeks Digital Ad Growth To Counter Linear Weakness

CEO Bob Iger: “We see that there’s going to be a substantial growth in digital advertising in this upfront — I mean quite substantial.” Regarding the linear networks, he said: “We’re seeing both sub declines and advertising weakness — and that’s forcing us to look at the cost structure of those channels, which also really comes down more than anything to spending on programming.”

Disney’s Streaming Losses Improve Even As Subscriber Numbers Decline

Disney reported that its streaming losses narrowed as price increases helped offset the loss of 4 million subscribers at Disney+. The company, which posted revenue and profit in line with Wall Street’s projections, also reported significant growth at its theme parks during its second fiscal quarter. Its linear TV unit struggled, however.

Disney Sues DeSantis, Alleging Harm To Its Business

The Walt Disney Co. is suing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and other state officials, alleging that DeSantis is harming the company’s business operations. The lawsuit comes after months of Disney and DeSantis sparring over legislation that DeSantis has signed and steps the governor has taken to increase the state’s control over Disney.

Disney TV Layoffs: Cuts In Animation, Syndication, Marketing, PR & Unscripted Lead Day 2

Disney TV Animation, responsible for 1,200 half-hours of animated content, including Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, is the latest division to be hit as it also merges the current and development teams. This has led to the departure of a number of executives including Khaki Jones, SVP current, who has been with the company for nearly 13 years, as well as a number of director level roles. Disney’s first-run syndication operation has been dissolved. Departing as part of that is Brent Jones, director and head of production finance and operations for first-run syndication.

ABC And Freeform Among Divisions Hit By Disney TV Layoffs

Day 1 of Disney’s second wave of layoffs impacted ABC and Freeform’s senior programming ranks, Disney Television Studios marketing, which is being dissolved, and its music operations, which are being consolidated. Here are some of those affected.

Disney Begins Largest Wave Of Layoffs, Will Get More Than Halfway To Target Of 7,000 Staff Cuts This Week

Disney is initiating the second and largest round of its planned layoffs today and expects to reach 4,000 of its projected 7,000 staff cuts by Thursday. A staff memo from Disney Entertainment Co-Chairmen Alan Bergman and Dana Walden delivered the news, indicating that affected workers would be notified from now through Thursday. A final round will take effect before the start of summer.

Disney Communications Chief Kristina Schake Gets One-Year Contract Extension And Pay Raise

Kristina Schake, who joined Disney a little more than a year ago as EVP and chief communications officer, is getting a pay raise and a contract extension. In an SEC filing, the company said it made the moves due to an “increase in her responsibilities,” though it did not elaborate.

DeSantis Seeks To Control Disney With State Oversight Powers

Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida lawmakers ratcheted up pressure on Walt Disney World on Monday by announcing legislation that will use the regulatory powers of Florida government to exert unprecedented oversight on the park resort’s rides and monorail.

Bob Iger Offers Sit-Down With Ron DeSantis Over Disney Dispute

Disney CEO Bob Iger has offered to talk about his company’s dispute with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R). “I do not view this as a going-to-mattresses situation for us,” Iger said. “If the governor of Florida wants to meet with me to discuss all of this, of course, I would be glad to do that.”

Disney Names Marketing President Asad Ayaz First-Ever Chief Brand Officer

Effective immediately, Walt Disney Studios President of Marketing and 18-year studio vet, Asad Ayaz, has been named the first chief brand officer of The Walt Disney Co. CEO Robert Iger just announced the news Thursday. In this newly created position reporting to Iger, Ayaz will be responsible for stewarding and elevating the Disney brand globally across the entire ecosystem of company touchpoints and consumer experiences.

Disney EMEA Staff Bracing For Layoffs And Content Cuts

Analyst Sees A More Magical Kingdom If Apple Acquires Disney

Some things just go better together, and Needham analyst Laura Martin believes Apple and The Walt Disney Co. are two of those things. “Combining Apple’s distribution footprint of 1.25 billion unique customers with Disney’s 570 million consumers reached each year would drive 15% to 25% valuation upside for Apple shareholders,“ Martin said in a research note.

Disney Eliminates Its Metaverse Division As Part Of Company’s Layoffs Plan

Walt Disney Co. has eliminated its next-generation storytelling and consumer experiences unit, the small division that was developing metaverse strategies, according to people familiar with the situation, as part of a broader restructuring that is expected to reduce head count by around 7,000 across the company over the next two months.

Disney To Begin Layoffs Of 7,000 Staffers This Week

Disney will begin layoff notices this week for more than 7,000 staffers whose positions will be eliminated as part of a deep cost-cutting effort that will be felt across all of the company’s key divisions. Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed Monday morning in a memo to employees that the layoffs will come in three waves, starting today. Iger disclosed the plan to significantly cut Disney’s overhead with massive staff reductions on Feb. 8. The cuts are expected to hit across the board and hit senior management levels as well as lower-level executives.

Disney Elevates Sonia Coleman To Chief Human Resources Officer

Disney is promoting HR exec Sonia Coleman to senior EVP and chief human resources officer, effective April 8 and reporting to CEO Bob Iger. Coleman, who most recently led HR for Disney Entertainment and ESPN, succeeds Paul Richardson, who is leaving the company after more than 15 years.

Bob Iger Says Succession ‘At The Top Of The List’ Of Things He’s Focused On At Disney

Disney CEO Bob Iger called succession top priority as he moves to turn the company around and, with the board, name a new chief executive before the end of his two-year contract. New board chairman Mark Parker heads the succession committee, which Iger noted met yesterday. “We all know that not only is it an important decision but that we don’t have endless amount of time to make it, and we are mindful of that,” he said. “Conversations have been great. I am confident that we will identify the right successor at the right time.”


What Did Disney Actually Lose From Its Florida Battle With DeSantis?

Under legislation DeSantis signed Monday, the state of Florida took control of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which essentially operated as Disney’s private municipal government in the area containing Walt Disney World and other parks. The move is widely seen as retaliation against Disney after the company, facing internal pressure, criticized a Florida education law known by critics as “Don’t Say Gay” because of its restrictions on classroom instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade. But what did Disney actually lose from its battle with DeSantis?

John Landgraf, Simran Sethi Get New Roles As Dana Walden Forms Team At Disney

Dana Walden, named co-chairman of Disney Entertainment under the new structure being implemented by The Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger, has made changes to senior management of the company’s television brands. John Landgraf (r) remains chairman of FX Content and FX Productions and also will oversee National Geographic and Onyx Collective. Simran Sethi (l) becomes executive VP, programming and content strategy for ABC Entertainment and Freeform.

DeSantis Takes Over Disney District, Punishing Company

A bill requires signed by Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, requires him to appoint a five-member board to oversee the government services that the Disney district provides in its sprawling theme park properties in Florida. The takeover of the Disney district began last year when the entertainment giant, facing intense pressure, publicly opposed “Don’t Say Gay,” which bars instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade and lessons deemed not age-appropriate.

Dave Hollis, Disney Exec Turned Self-Help Author, Dies At 47

DALLAS (AP) — Dave Hollis, who left his post as a Disney executive to help his wife run a successful lifestyle empire, has died at his home in Texas. He was 47. Hollis, whose ex-wife Rachel Hollis wrote the bestseller “Girl, Wash Your Face,” was pronounced dead Sunday afternoon at his home in Dripping Springs, […]

Disney Toasts A Century As Business And Political Challenges Mount

The company is opening two exhibitions that will tour the globe until 2028. It comes at a moment when its formidable stature in the culture has shown a few cracks.

Disney CEO Bob Iger Is Open To Selling Hulu

Disney CEO Bob Iger said today that he’s open to selling Hulu — instead of forking over billions of dollars to buy out Comcast’s stake in the streaming platform. Asked on CNBC about his plans for Hulu as a 2024 deadline to buy it or sell it approaches, he said: “Everything is on the table right now, so I am not going to speculate whether we are a buyer or a seller of it. But I obviously have suggested that I’m concerned about undifferentiated general entertainment, particularly in the competitive landscape that we are operating in, and we are going to look at it very objectively and expansively.”

Nelson Peltz Abandons Proxy Fight With Disney

Activist investor Nelson Peltz said this morning that he’s ending his proxy fight againt Disney after CEO Bob Iger announced sweeping restructuring and cost cutting plans yesterday alongside the company’s latest quarterly earnings.

Wall Street Welcomes Bob Iger’s Plan To Slash Costs At Disney


Disney’s Iger Restructures, Announces Major Job And Cost Cuts

The restructuring creates a new division called Disney Entertainment headed by TV content chief Dana Walden and movie studio boss Alan Bergman. The ESPN businesses will be a separate unit, run by current chief James Pitaro. And the Parks, Experiences and Products division will continue to be run by Josh D’Amaro. Those execs will be tasked with finding cost-cuts eventually totaling $5.5 billion annually. And that includes cutting some 7,000 jobs.

Disney Removes ‘Simpsons’ Episode In Hong Kong That Mentions Forced Labor In China

Analyst Sees Disney Cutting $1.3 Billion In Linear Costs

As The Walt Disney Co. gets closer to announcing earnings on Wednesday and holding Bob Iger’s first call with analysts since his return to the company, predictions about what will transpire are heating up. Evercore ISI media analyst Vijay Jayant is expecting Disney to beat consensus expectations with its first-quarter numbers. More importantly, Jayant is predicting Iger will come through on the cost cuts Wall Street and investors are looking for.