Walt Disney chief Bob Iger is lining up his big guns in the first major reorganization of the Mouse House since it acquired the entertainment assets of Twenty-first Century Fox.
Fox President Peter Rice and Fox TV Group Chairman Dana Walden are both moving over to Disney, with senior roles and expanded oversight on the TV side, Disney said Monday.
Media-watchers had been speculating which execs from Fox would cross over to Disney once the $71.3 billion deal officially closes. Rice and Walden, who had been the odds-on favorites, will split the portfolio previously managed by Ben Sherwood, Disney’s outgoing TV chief.
Sherwood will remain in his current role through the transition period until the deal closes, Disney said. The merger is currently under regulatory review.
Rice, the president of Twenty-first Century Fox and CEO of the Fox Networks Group, will grab the reins as chairman of Walt Disney Television and co-chair of Disney Media networks. He will oversee all of Disney’s TV efforts except for ESPN.
Those include ABC, Disney Channels, 20th Century Fox TV, FX Networks and National Geographic channels. Rice, who has been earmarked as a potential successor to Iger, will report directly to the chairman and chief executive.
Walden, another star exec, will become chairman of Disney TV Studios and ABC Entertainment, and will report to Rice, as she did in her role at Fox.
She will continue to oversee 20th Century Fox Television, as well as ABC Studios. Walden, who currently holds the role of chairman and CEO of Fox Television Group, will also oversee Fox 21 TV Studios, ABC Entertainment, ABC Studios, Freeform and the ABC Owned TV Stations Group.
Other Fox execs making the move to the Magic Kingdom include FX CEO John Landgraf, who will serve as chairman of FX Networks and FX Productions, and National Geographic CEO Gary Knell, who will grab the title of chairman of National Geographic Partners. Both execs will report to Rice.
“The strength of 21st Century Fox’s first-class management talent has always been a compelling part of this opportunity for us,” Iger said in a statement. “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.”
Fox shares a common owner with News Corp., which publishes The Post.
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