WOKE DISNEY’S MASSIVE Layoffs And Reorganization! IGER Can’t Fix This Mess, Peltz Exposing It All!

by 01.29.2023

The initial exuberance and relief following Bob Iger’s return as Disney CEO has been replaced by anxiety as speculation about a pending corporate restructuring is intensifying — and with it, rumors about the layoffs that are likely to follow. Nelson Peltz already inadvertently forced out Bob Chapek and Bob Iger is next on the chopping block!



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Form PRRN14A Walt Disney Co Filed by: TRIAN FUND MANAGEMENT, L.P.

Rumblings of a new org-chart unveiling are growing louder amid mounting pressure on the company (including from activist investor Nelson Peltz) to stage a rebound with Iger back at the controls. Details on the restructuring moves, which could potentially include some sort of consolidation within the company’s marketing operations as well as at Disney Television Studios, are likely to emerge soon and could coincide with the company’s next quarterly earnings report February 8, sources tell Deadline.

And then there is the future of the Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution executive ranks.

Iger didn’t waste time issuing one high-profile pink slip after replacing Bob Chapek last November; not even a full day after his restoration to the corner office, DMED chairman Kareem Daniel left the company. Iger had made no secret of his dislike of DMED, which was created by Chapek as a way of centralizing distribution decisions under Daniel, a Chapek loyalist. The division mainly succeeded in fomenting resentment and mistrust, taking decision-making power away from the company’s creative leaders and straining creative relationships.

Disney did not respond to a request for comment from Deadline.

Bob Iger’s Christmas Carol & The Ghosts Of Past, Present & Future
While DMED is going to be dismantled, there are questions about how the unwinding will happen and about the fate of the remaining executives. Atop the list are Debra OConnell, president of Networks for Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, and her top lieutenant, head of business operations Chuck Saftler, both of whom highly respected within the company and beyond.

The longest-tenured FX employee having joined the network in December 1993, Saftler was an integral part of FX Networks chairman John Landgraf’s team before he was promoted to the DMED post. Saftler has been closely involved with the networks in his current role – he is credited with the recent ratings resurgence at FXX through the programming of off-network comedies and movie acquisitions. There are different takes on what would happen to him, but it is conceivable he could remain part of the close-knit group of FX executives who have been together for decades.

Another area drawing a lot of speculation is Disney Television Studios, which consists of 20th Television, ABC Signature, 20th Animation and Walt Disney Television Alternative. (Additionally, there are two other separate TV production arms, FXP and Searchlight Television.)

The situation is reviving questions raised at the time of Disney’s $71.3 billion acquisition of Fox assets as to whether Disney would keep then-ABC Studios and 20th Century Fox Television separate. Ultimately, they did remain stand-alone studios with their own infrastructures, though Fox 21 Studios was folded into 20th TV, which is now run by Karey Burke. Meanwhile, 20th Television Animation was made a separate division led by Marci Proietto, and ABC Studios was rebranded as ABC Signature with Jonnie Davis at the helm.

The consolidation chatter is even stronger this time around, with various scenarios circulated about what divisions could be merged. Everything seems to be on the table.

A successful potential consolidation of 20th TV and ABC Signature will depend on melding their two very different cultures. “Can two fried eggs become an omelet?” a well-positioned observer asked. Dana Walden, who has risen to the role of chairman of Disney General Entertainment Content, does know plenty about bridging divides as the highest-ranking former Fox exec now in Burbank.

Walden just recently consolidated another area of the division she took over last summer, bringing back together publicity and communications years after they had been split. One position was eliminated as a result, with more cuts likely.

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