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Disney abruptly sacks its top TV content executive

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The move marks the latest strategic shift in the Bob Chapek era at the entertainment giant.




In a major executive shake-up, Peter Rice, chairman of Disney’s entertainment and programming, is exiting the company, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.


Sources say embattled Disney CEO Bob Chapek summoned Rice to his office Monday and relieved the former Fox exec of his duties. The CEO, who took over for Bob Iger last year, is said to have felt that Rice was no longer a fit.


The move comes as a shocker considering Chapek re-upped Rice to a new long-term deal last summer. Sources say Rice has more than two years remaining on his contract and will receive a rich payout.


Rice’s top lieutenant, Dana Walden — who also made the move from Fox to Disney — will be taking over his responsibilities.



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10 minutes ago, brucoe said:

Was Disney having problems on the tv side of the house? I kind of thought they were doing pretty well.


I think they are, but who really knows?


This is a HUGE story in the entertainment industry so I'm sure that reporters are gonna be going all out to find out what the hell happened.

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Peter Rice Exiting Disney; Dana Walden Taking His Post




Rice had to spend the past few months fending off wide rumors that Warner Bros Discovery chief David Zaslav would tap him to run the entertainment business for him. When it was clear Zaslav wanted execs to report directly to him, Rice pulled himself out of the running, making this a true shock.


Rice signed a new contract just last summer. Meanwhile, Walden's contract was up this year, and she had been negotiating a new one with Disney over the past couple of months. Clearly, for Disney CEO Chapek, it came down to choosing between the two executives, and he made his pick.



Chapek's contract is up for renewal in February 2023 so it definitely appears that he chose an executive who (theoretically) appears to pose no threat to that renewal and sacked the one who did.


I imagine that this has probably raised a few eyebrows with/prompted some phone calls from the Disney board.

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11 minutes ago, Kal-El814 said:

Imagine being as fragile as Chapek, it boggles the mind.


From The Hollywood Reporter article:




This dismissal took place in a seven-minute meeting Monday evening, according to sources. Chapek told Rice that he was not a fit in "the new Disney culture," to which Rice said words to the effect that he thought they were in the midst of building the new Disney culture. He asked in what way he did not fit and Chapek responded, "Now is not the time" and dismissed him.


Some of the town's most powerful insiders responded with anger. "Peter is beloved," said one agent, noting that he was overseeing a successful division. Referring to Chapek, he said, "How many times does a person have to show you who they are?"



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