In Dana Walden‘s first personal move since being upped to Chairman of Disney General Entertainment three months ago, Walden has promoted three executives: Eric Schrierwho is taking on a new, larger role, as well Craig Erwich and Shannon Ryan who are expanding their current responsibilities.
The biggest surprise is the move of 20-year FX veteran Schrier, who has been most recently FX chairman John Landgraf’s number two, to become president of Disney Television Studios & Business Operations, Disney General Entertainment.
Erwich has been promoted to president, ABC Entertainment, Hulu & Disney Branded Television Streaming Originals. Ryan has been promoted to President, Marketing, Disney General Entertainment.
Bryan Noon, who joined the company from Netflix in November 2021 as President of Entertainment, replacing Craig Hunegs, is exiting as part of the shuffle.
In the top DGE post, Walden replaced Peter Rice following his shocking dismissal. The move raised questions as to whether she would fill her old job. Observers have noted that there had been an overlap between Rice and Walden’s duties and that Walden is known for her ability to multitask. Still, Disney’s structure is built on top executives having 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, FX Entertainment, a role he was elevated to in May 2019Schrier will oversee operations across Disney Television Studios including 20th Television, 20th Television Animation and ABC Signature.
Karey Burke, President of 20th Television and Jonnie 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 absorbing the responsibilities previously held by Noon, resulting in his exit.
This marks a rare departure from Landgraf’s close-knit senior executive team of two decades. But it represents an opportunity for Schrier, who has been a rising star at FX, to move up to a bigger job while staying at Disney. The move mirrors that of another former top Landgraf lieutenant, Chuck Saftler who is now a high-level executive on Disney’s distribution team. Landgraf, once considered a rival of Walden’s, offered effusive praise and equivocal support of her following her promotion to the top DGE post, calling her “a natural born leader.”
FX is yet to share its succession plan following Schrier’s exit but it is expected to include the two senior executives under him, Presidents of Original Programming Nick Grad and Gina Balian. Just like with Walden’s old job, Schrier’s role likely won’t be directly refilled, with remaining top execs taking on additional responsibilities.
Schrier, who started at FX as former Entertainment President Kevin Reilly’s assistant more than two decades ago, has grown into a rare TV executive who has excelled both on the creative and business side; he spearheaded the launch of FX Prods., came up with a business model for It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and also played a key role in such shows as Nip/Tuck, The Americans as well as breakouts The Bearin which Grad was also very involved, 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 patch. The exec behind recent series such as Only Murders in the Building, Dopesick and Abbott Elementary will now also oversee Disney Branded Television family-friendly originals for Disney+.
Ayo Davis, President of Disney Branded Television, will now report to Erwich for streaming strategy and content, and will continue to report to Walden for programming on the Disney Channel and Disney Junior cable networks.
Additionally, Erwich is also taking oversight of non-scripted 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 Walden associate, has led marketing and publicity for ABC Entertainment, ABC News, Freeform, Hulu Originals, Onyx Collective and Disney Television Studios since 2020 and will now expand her in-house marketing agency to include Disney Branded Television and National Geographic Content.
The promotion means that DBT and Nat Geo marketing and publicity chief Pam Levine, who had reported to Davis and Nat Geo Global TV Networks President Courteney Monroe, will now report to Ryan. There is no change at FX marketing, which is not reporting to Ryan. It will remain under the leadership of Stephanie Gibbons, president, Marketing, FX, who has overseen the brand for the past 18 years.
Ryan recently oversaw marketing campaigns for such breakout hits as ABC’s Abbott Elementary and Hulu’s Pam & Tommy and The Kardashians.
In addition to Erwich, Ryan and Schrier, Walden’s direct reports include Landgraf, Davis (on 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 be working with some of the very best executives in our industry, and Craig, Shannon and Eric are exactly that – the best. These are proven leaders with both incredible creative sensibilities and strong business acumen,” said Walden. “Additionally, they have long and impressive track records of supporting their teams and our amazing creative partners to do their very best work.”