Last month the news hit that Disney Chairman, Dick Cook, stepped down after eight years, with rumors citing everything from personal decision to "disagreements" between him and Disney CEO, Bob Iger. Beyond the Johnny Depp/Pirates of the Caribbean 4 debate, speculation ensued over who would replace Cook. Two big names being thrown around were Pixar head honcho, John Lasseter, and head of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige.
So who's been chosen as Cook's replacement? Lasseter or Feige? Well, surprisingly neither, as The Hollywood Reporter tells us that the President of Disney Channels Worldwide, Rich Ross (damn, I was thinking of trademarking that name...), has been appointed the new Chairman of Walt Disney Studios. Ross helped to make Disney Channel an international sensation - he was named senior VP in 1996, and was promoted to the top spot in 2004. Apparently, the amazing job Ross has done crafting Disney Channel shows and stars (such as Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers) into household names didn't go unnoticed by the guys at the top.
No word at the moment on when or whether a new president will be appointed to Disney Channels Worldwide.
So what makes Ross a good choice to be the Chairman of Disney? Well, as mentioned he has made household names of Disney shows and stars, in multiple countries and languages. Disney is also impressed with his familiarity with digital-distribution platforms; although he's got limited feature film experience, I'm guessing his other skills at making worldwide hits is more than enough for Disney to put their trust in him.
Ross will oversee all worldwide production, distribution and marketing (that sounds SO powerful for me to say...) for Disney's live-action and animated features, from various labels which include Walt Disney, Miramax, Touchstone and, of course, Pixar. On top of all that, he'll also head Disney's theatrical and music groups. There's a good chance Ross will bring a real boost to the music side of things, since he helped make the soundtracks from High School Musical and Hannah Montana huge hits.
On a side note, buried in THR's article about Ross' new appointed Chairman position is the possibility that production president Oren Aviv might be, "on his way out." His credits include the likes of National Treasure 2, Rocketman and the upcoming Nicolas Cage starring The Sorcerer's Apprentice. No word more than that on Aviv's fate...for now.
But I digress...
So what could Ross being the Disney Chairman mean for the movies? Well, since he was the President of Disney Channel and partly responsible for the mega successes of the likes of Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers (put your pitchforks away, folks...), you'd be forgiven for thinking it would be bad news. But do you really think Ross would damage Disney overall by making it more "kiddy?" He's got too much responsibility and too much on his plate to be messing around like that. But that's not to say we won't see a difference.
I just wonder if Ross will get the support of Mr. Johnny Depp, after the departure of Cook left him less than enthused...
What do you think of Rich Ross replacing Dick Cook as the Chairman of Disney? Should they have gone for Feige or Lasseter instead?