In Dana Walden’s first personnel move since he was elevated to chairman of Disney General Entertainment three months ago, Walden promoted three executives: Eric Schrier, who is taking on a new, larger role, and Craig Erwich and Shannon Ryan, who are expanding their current responsibilities.
The biggest surprise is the move of 20-year FX veteran Schrier, who until recently was FX chairman John Landgraf’s number two, to become president of Disney Television Studios & Business Operations, Disney General Entertainment.
Urwich has been promoted to president of ABC Entertainment, Hulu & Disney Branded Television Streaming Originals. Ryan has been promoted to President, Marketing, Disney General Entertainment.
Brian Nunn, who joined the company from Netflix in November 2021 as President of Entertainment, replacing Craig Hunegs, is leaving as part of the reshuffle.
In the top job at DGE, Walden replaced Peter Rice following his shock dismissal. The move raised questions about whether she would keep her old job. Observers noted that there was overlap between Rice’s and Walden’s duties and that Walden was known for her ability to multitask. Still, Disney’s structure is built on senior executives with few reports. The promotions for Schrier, Erwich and Ryan, who will all report to Walden, help reduce the number of her direct reports without bringing in a direct replacement for her previous position.
Most recently president of FX Entertainment, a role he was promoted to in May 2019, Schrier will oversee operations at Disney Television Studios, including 20th Television, 20th Television Animation and ABC Signature.
Carrie Burke, president of 20th Television and Johnny Davis, president of ABC Signature, who previously reported to Walden, as well as Marci Proietto, EVP, 20th Television Animation, and Trisha Husson, EVP of Strategy & Finance, will now report to Schrier. whose new role is taking over the responsibilities previously held by Noon, leading to his departure.
This marks a rare departure from Landgraf’s close-knit senior executive team of two decades. But it represents an opportunity for Schrier, who is a rising star at FX, to move on to bigger work while staying at Disney. The move mirrors that of another former top Landgraf lieutenant, Chuck Saftler, who is now a high-level executive in Disney’s distribution team. Landgraf, once considered Walden’s rival, praised and ambivalently endorsed her after her promotion to the top job at DGE, calling her a “natural born leader.”
FX has not yet shared its succession plan following Schrier’s departure, but it is expected to include the two top executives under him, presidents of Original Programming Nick Grad and Gina Balian. Just as with Walden’s old job, Schreier’s role likely won’t be directly filled, with other senior executives taking on additional responsibilities.
Schreier, who started at FX as a former assistant to Entertainment President Kevin Reilly more than two decades ago, has grown into a rare TV executive who excels on both the creative and business sides; he led the launch of FX Prods., devised a business model for It’s always sunny in Philadelphia and also plays a key role in such shows as Nip Tuck, The Americans as well as breakthroughs The bearin which Grad was also much engaged, and The old man.
In addition to overseeing the linear ABC network and streamer Hulu, Erwich is adding Disney Branded Television Streaming Originals to his slate. The artist behind recent series as Only murders in the building, Dopesick and Abbott Elementary will now also oversee Disney Branded Television Family Originals for Disney+.
Ayo Davis, president of Disney Branded Television, will now report to Erwich on streaming strategy and content and will continue to report to Walden on programming for the Disney Channel and Disney Junior cable networks.
Additionally, Erwich also oversees unscripted programming with Rob Mills, EVP of Unscripted and Alternative Entertainment reporting to him, in addition to Sharon Klein, EVP of Casting.
Ryan, a longtime close associate of Walden, has led marketing and advertising for ABC Entertainment, ABC News, Freeform, Hulu Originals, Onyx Collective and Disney Television Studios since 2020 and will now expand his in-house marketing agency to include Disney Branded Television and National Geographic content. The promotion means DBT and Nat Geo head of marketing and advertising Pam Levine, who reported to Davis and Nat Geo Global TV Networks president Courtney Monroe, will now report to Ryan. No change in FX Marketing, which does not report to Ryan. It will remain under the leadership of Stephanie Gibbons, president, marketing, FX, who has led the brand for the past 18 years.
In addition to Erwich, Ryan and Schrier, Walden’s direct reports include Landgraf, Davis (of Disney Channel/Disney Jr.), Monroe, Tara Duncan, president of Freeform and Onyx Collective, and Kim Godwin, president of ABC News.
“I am incredibly fortunate to work with some of the best executives in our industry, and Craig, Shannon and Eric are just that – the best. These are proven leaders with both incredible creative sensibilities and strong business acumen,” said Walden. “They also have a long and impressive track record of supporting their teams and our amazing creative partners to do their best work.”