In a major shift for the Mouse House, Disney Channels Worldwide prexy Rich Ross has been named chairman of Walt Disney Studios.
He’ll oversee production, distribution and marketing for all of Disney’s pic labels, including Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone, Miramax and Disney/Pixar. In addition, he’ll also head Disney’s theatrical and music groups. He reports to Disney prexy and CEO Bob Iger.
Ross succeeds Dick Cook, who abruptly ankled the Mouse last month after a 38-year tenure, on the heels of string of B.O. disappointments including “Confessions of a Shopaholic,” “Race to Witch Mountain,” “G-Force” and “Bedtime Stories”
A successor to Ross at Disney Channels Worldwide will be named in the next few weeks, according to a company spokesman. Meantime, the TV division Ross has overseen will continue doing business as usual as he transitions immediately to his new role on the film side.
Ross emerged as the leading contender to succeed Cook almost immediately after the latter’s departure. Ross has long been seen as one of Disney’s brightest stars with a sterling track record of transforming the Disney Channel cabler into a franchise-generating powerhouse for the company.
Melissa Grego contributed to this report.