Posted: Thurs., Jan. 22, 2009, 10:34am PT

Disney announces restructuring

ABC programming unit merges with production


By Cynthia Littleton
Variety

Stephen McPherson has expanded his domain at Disney.

ABC's programming chief has taken on oversight of the ABC Studios production wing in the long-awaited restructuring of Disney-ABC TV Group, announced Thursday.

Former ABC Studios prexy Mark Pedowitz has segued to a newly created role as senior adviser to Anne Sweeney, co-chair of Disney's Media Networks division. Sweeney said Pedowitz would work closely with her on big-picture business issues, labor relations and new-media matters.

McPherson, who is now prexy of the newly created ABC Entertainment Group, will remain the hands-on exec overseeing ABC's entertainment programming, while ABC Studios' production chief Barry Jossen and biz affairs head Howard Davine will report to him.

Sweeney emphasized that the impetus for the restructuring was less about cost-cutting than the desire to create a more "cohesive creative vision" for the network and studio. Still, it's likely there will be some downsizing of staff as the creative and development departments are melded together in the next few months.

"The landscape of our business and an opportunity to coalesce the creative process dictated this change in creative structure," Sweeney said in announcing the reorg.

ABC insiders said there would be no immediate layoffs and that McPherson would take his time in assembling the staff hierarchy for the combined units. Having served as prexy of the Mouse's TV studio (then known as Touchstone TV) before moving to ABC, McPherson is very familiar with the staffing needs of both entities.
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Disney announces restructuring - Entertainment News, TV News, Media - Variety