New York -- Shine America CEO Rich Ross, the former president of Disney Channels Worldwide, said Tuesday that “no one understands the power of fame” like Miley Cyrus, once Hannah Montana, whose new, sexed up image has caused an international sensation.
“Her constant reinvention reflects society’s expectations of what happens. At the same time, she knew what to manufacture. She has not just a sexy image but a number-one album. I am the last one to question how people get to a certain place as a means to an end, and it’s extreme. When I see the pictures, I guess I’m glad it’s not on my watch,” Ross said at NYC Television Week.
“Hyper-sexualized is tricky in general, for women and girls. And yet she’s the first person who’s talking about her empowerment, (that) this is theatrical, this is not me at home,” he told moderator Broadcasting & Cable’s editor-in-chief Melissa Grego.
Ross is back working with kids on Shine-produced hit MasterChef Junior, a cook-off for nine-to-12 year-olds in 11 countries that launched in the U.S. on Fox last month.
Another big project is The Bridge, a new drama on FX adapted from Bron, a series set on the border of Denmark and Sweden. The Bridge, showcasing Shine’s expertise in reproducing local versions of successful shows in different markets, is set on the U.S-Mexico border.
Shine is an international conglomeration of production companies founded by Rupert Murdoch’s daughter Elisabeth Murdoch. She sold it to News Corp. for about $650 million in 2011.
Ross last year, after a stint running Walt Disney Studios, said he’s found unqualified support and funding for new projects. “I didn’t expect less but you never know til you’re there.”
“I definitely learned a couple of things” at the film studio, he said. “I learned that being able to tell new original stories was going to be very challenging. The risks are great and the costs are extreme.”
And the marketing, he said, was brutally hard. “I missed the days (at TV networks) where you had a mouthpiece. The on-air commercial was the greatest single tool you had.”
“In TV, people are willing to spend money on great storytelling. Everyone works in TV now.”
But he said the chance to have worked in “both TV and film in so many roles is beyond a dream come true.”