With the news of Rich Ross stepping down from his role as Chairman of Walt Disney Studios, we thought we’d give a little history about the man and his possible replacements.
Rich started his career at Nickelodeon, working his way up to Vice President of Program Enterprises. There he created Nickelodeon/Nick at Night talent relations department and was an executive producer for the first Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Awards show. In 1993 he became the Senior Vice President of Development and Production role at FX Networks where he helped launch the channel. Rich moved to the Disney Channel in 1996 where he worked his way up to president of Disney Channels Worldwide in 2004. He was very successful at the Disney Channel; he oversaw the expansion of its channels, radio and websites. He was also behind popular “tween” shows show as Hannah Montana and Wizards of Waverly Place and movies, such as the High School Musical series and Camp Rock. In 2009 Rich was chosen to become Chairman of Walt Disney Studios.
Rich had successful films during his time as chairman, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Tangled and Cars 2 just to name a few, the flops; in particular John Carter, and the lack of experienced employees hired by him, tipped the scales in the wrong direction for him. So, who are the possible replacements?
The front runner is Kevin Feige. He is President of Production at Marvel Studios (which is owned by The Walt Disney Company), a position he has held since 2007 and has produced many of its hit films, such as X-Men, Spiderman and Iron Man. His next film will be The Avengers which Disney hopes will lessen the loss from John Carter.
Another contender is Stacey Snider, Principal Partner, Co-Chairman, and CEO of DreamWorks Studio. She has held many high positions at companies like Guber Peters Entertainment, TriStar Pictures and Universal before starting DreamWorks. Stacey has been part of many film successes, most recently being The Help and War Horse.
Joe Roth is also in the running and has the advantage of being a previous Chairman at Walt Disney Studios (1994-2000). He has been Chairman at 20th Century Fox, Revolution Studios, which Joe created but closed in 2007 and he moved to Sony Pictures. He’s been involved with many films too including Black Hawk Down, Mona Lisa Smiles and Alice in Wonderland.
Scott Stuber’s name has also come up. Since 2004 he has been Co-President of Productions of Universal Pictures and in 2008 he was given a deal through Universal for his own production company, Stuber Pictures. Scott has most recently worked on Love and Other Drugs and has films Battleship and Ted being released soon.
Another possibility is Stuber’s former business partner, Mary Parent. Mary worked for New Line Cinema before taking the position of Co-President of Production at Universal (opposite Stuber). They were given a deal in 2005 by Universal for their company Stuber/Parent Productions but left in 2008 to become Chairperson at MGM’s Worldwide Production Group. She left MGM shortly before it filed for bankruptcy and now has a deal with Paramount for her own production company. Mary has worked on films such as The Kingdom and Pleasantville.
Lastly, Sean Bailey is also a candidate and currently working for Disney. He has worked with Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, Universal and many, many more production companies. Sean has worked on films such as The Core, Matchstick Men and Gone Baby Gone. In 2010 he became President of Production for Disney and worked on Tron: Legacy.
For now, it is actually left to Sean Bailey and Walt Disney Studios’ President who to fill in until a replacement for Rich Ross has been found.
Please join us for a discussion Thursday 4/26/2012@7pm/12UTC.