DisneyLatest News and Opinion
Posted Wednesday 3/21/18 at 11:27PM EDT
Frank Oz: Disney doesn't get The Muppets
The legendary puppeteer says Disney's heart is in the right place in trying to revive the franchise, which included a failed ABC sitcom in the 2015-16 season. "As much as Disney loves The Muppets and wants the best for The Muppets — and they truly believe they can do it — they don't get it," says Oz. "They don't get the true rebellion and true affection underneath those characters."
Posted Thursday 3/15/18 at 9:38PM EDT
ESPN employees were "blindsided" by former president John Skipper's cocaine extortion revelation
ESPN employees, speaking anonymously, tell Deadspin there was never any indication that Skipper used cocaine in their interactions with him. Skipper's interview with ESPN historian James Andrew Miller raises the question of why he had to resign from his job when John Lasseter, the head of Pixar and the Disney animation studios, was allowed to take a six-month leave of absence after he was hit with multiple allegations of sexual harassment. ALSO: Some ESPN staffers were relieved by Skipper's revelation because they couldn't find any wrongdoing.
Posted Thursday 3/15/18 at 9:45AM EDT
Former ESPN president John Skipper: I resigned after my cocaine dealer attempted to extort me
Skipper's abrupt resignation on Monday, Dec. 18, 2017 -- just five days after he presided over a companywide meeting -- caught everybody off guard. Skipper said in his resignation announcement he was stepping down due to a substance addiction problem. Three months later, Skipper is speaking out about the nature of his problem. He tells ESPN history James Andrew Miller that he had been a long time casual user of cocaine. He never did it at work, nor with any of his colleagues. He was able to keep his illegal drug use secret. That is, until days before his resignation. "In December, someone from whom I bought cocaine attempted to extort me," he said. Skipper says "they threatened me, and I understood immediately that threat put me and my family at risk, and this exposure would put my professional life at risk as well. I foreclosed that possibility by disclosing the details to my family, and then when I discussed it with (Disney CEO) Bob (Iger), he and I agreed that I had placed the company in an untenable position and as a result, I should resign." Skipper admits he used "very poor judgment," adding: "Look, it was inappropriate for the president of ESPN and an officer of The Walt Disney Co. to be associated in any way with any of this. I do want to make it clear, however, that anything I did in this regard, and anything else resulting from this, was a personal problem. My drug use never had any professional repercussions, but I still have profound regret."
Posted Monday 3/12/18 at 10:04PM EDT
ABC's "Disneyfied" American Idol reboot is "eerily upbeat"
The Idol revival "packs an Epcot Center’s worth of anti-cynicism," says Spencer Kornhaber. "It is kind and gentle and proficient and fakey: Disneyfied in the classic sense. The opening montage crisscrosses the country with images of regular folks pursuing their dreams, set, naturally, to the sound of Coldplay. In the auditions that unfold, the focus is on the prospective stars who get told yes, with most of the nos relegated to a quick montage at the end of the episode. Even the folks who get the thumbs down are advised not that they are bad, but that this isn’t the right time for them, or maybe not the right show." ALSO: Katy Perry is worth $25 million -- she is carrying the show.
Posted Friday 3/09/18 at 11:05PM EST
Jon Favreau is the creative equivalent of vanilla ice cream, which makes him perfect for the live-action Star Wars TV series
Favreau is the perfect choice because he has a history of making stylistic, broadly appealing hits. "Lucasfilm doesn’t want to take anything close to a risk with its first live-action TV series," says Miles Surrey. "This will be the preeminent product of Disney’s new streaming service, an incentive for people who might not want to fork over another monthly fee if they’re not getting any worthwhile content. Think of Favreau’s new series like the way Netflix approached House of Cards: The company got a famous, recognizable director (David Fincher) and two bankable movie stars (Robin Wright and a pre-scandal Kevin Spacey) for its first big stab at original programming. Now that five years have passed and Netflix has the budget to produce 700 pieces of original content in 2018 alone, the company can afford to get a little strange through sheer volume. Dark never could have been one of Netflix’s first shows, but now, why not?"
Posted Friday 3/09/18 at 11:05PM EST
ESPN's choice for new president is raising eyebrows for his less than stellar reputation at Disney
James Pitaro now has one of the toughest jobs after a tenure at Disney that Variety describes as "turbulent."
Posted Thursday 3/08/18 at 12:17PM EST
Jon Favreau to write and produce the live-action Star Wars TV series
Favreau has been tapped to helm the live-action Star Wars TV series for Disney's upcoming streaming service. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy made the announcement this morning, saying the Iron Man and Elf director "brings the perfect mix of producing and writing talent, combined with a fluency in the Star Wars universe. This series will allow Jon the chance to work with a diverse group of writers and directors and give Lucasfilm the opportunity to build a robust talent base.” For his part, Favreau said: "If you told me at 11 years old that I would be getting to tell stories in the Star Wars universe, I wouldn’t have believed you. I can’t wait to embark upon this exciting adventure.”
- Some fans are unhappy that "another straight white dude" was hired for Star Wars, especially on International Women's Day
- "Bad PR timing," tweeted IndieWire editor Ann Thompson. "But women have a tough time getting the experience they need to compete for plum jobs like this."
- Even movie theater chain Alamo Drafthouse criticized the decision not to pick a woman
Posted Monday 3/05/18 at 2:51PM EST
ESPN names new president
James Pitaro, who has been head of Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media and a Yahoo Media veteran, succeeds John Skipper, effective immediately. ESPN historian James Andrew Miller says of Pitaro's promotion: "This is as close to an 'in house' selection without being from within current @espn ranks as one could get. Pitaro may not know where all the bathrooms are at Bristol HQ but he knows company's past and current challenges extremely well."
Posted Thursday 2/22/18 at 3:48AM EST
Disney and Black-ish producers are adapting the comic book series Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur
The comic book about a 9-year-old super genius named Lunella Lafayette who teams with a bright red dinosaur could end up on Disney XD or Disney Junior. It is being produced by Black-ish and Grown-ish executive producers Laurence Fishburne and Helen Sugland.
Posted Wednesday 2/21/18 at 2:03PM EST
The Muppets may be rebooted again, for Disney's streaming service
It's only been two years since ABC canceled the critically panned Muppets reboot, but there are already plans to create a new Muppets for Disney's upcoming streaming service.
Posted Thursday 2/15/18 at 4:30AM EST
Fox exec: Ryan Murphy's Netflix deal is "extremely disruptive," and was a direct result of the Disney merger
“Were the Disney deal to have never happened, I think he would have been close to a new deal with us,” said Dana Walden, co-CEO of the Fox television group and the Fox executive who has worked most closely to Murphy. “If the Disney move happened a year ago, and the transaction was completed by now and we were part of the Disney Company, I think he would be part of us.” Walden adds that Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, in striking a deal with Murphy, "was extremely disruptive and sent a message to the entire talent community: These old deals that seemed incredibly lucrative at the time, there’s a new template in town. For any uber-premium creator, the value has gone up 10 times. And Ryan is a once-in-a-lifetime creator.” ALSO: The TV industry was abuzz Wednesday talking about the Murphy deal.
Posted Wednesday 2/14/18 at 5:44PM EST
Netflix is looking like a "parallel TV universe" following the Ryan Murphy and Shonda Rhimes deals
Netflix has been considered everything from an online-video platform to a network to a cable channel. "The Murphy and Rhimes deals suggest something else: It’s an entire parallel TV universe, and it’s still expanding," says James Poniewozik. "Think of Netflix as the Upside Down in its sci-fi series Stranger Things. By this I don’t mean that it’s a nefarious or dangerous force. But it is a kind of alternative TV dimension, overlaying and replicating the known world of traditional television, that tries to acquire one of everything that exists in the universe of TV." Poniewozik says his first instinct was to liken Netflix to cable. But cable channels have brands. They have specialties and sensibilities to cater to a specific audience. "Netflix doesn’t have that; in fact, it is specifically anti-that," he says. "Its brand is 'stuff that you like to watch on TV.' It developed a vast library of reruns, and with that, a proprietary trove of data on who likes to watch what and how much. Then it made more of that, or bought it. If you liked 30 Rock, here’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. If you liked Damages, here’s Bloodline."
- FX responds to Ryan Murphy's Netflix deal, points to its deep bench of shows its "very successful track record of identifying and developing talented writers"
- Who's next? Will Kurt Sutter, Donald Glover and Noah Hawley also bail on FX?
- Losing Murphy and Rhimes deals a blow to a Disney's planned rival streaming service
- What the Netflix deal means for each of Ryan Murphy's shows, from 9-1-1 to American Horror Story
- Rhimes and Murphy's Netflix deals should put traditional networks on alert
- Netflix's poaching of Murphy could change TV for good
Posted Wednesday 2/14/18 at 2:16AM EST
Ryan Murphy inks deal worth up to $300 million to move to Netflix
The prolific producer has signed a five-year deal worth as much as $300 million to move from 21st Century Fox to the streaming service in what The New York Times is calling one of the biggest deals ever for a TV producer. The deal will hurt Disney, which reached a deal to acquire Fox in December. Murphy has been one of the 21st Century Fox's most prolific producers with hits ranging from American Crime Story to Nip/Tuck to Glee and American Horror Story. Last month, Murphy said he felt uncomfortable with Disney's takeover of Fox despite reassurances from Disney CEO Bob Iger, pointing out “point-blank the stuff I do is not Disney." The Times reports Amazon also courted Murphy, whose Fox deal expires this summer. “The history of this moment is not lost on me,” Murphy said in a statement. “I am a gay kid from Indiana who moved to Hollywood in 1989 with $55 in savings in my pocket, so the fact that my dreams have crystallized and come true in such a major way is emotional and overwhelming to me.” ALSO: Murphy's current shows aren't going anywhere.
# TOPICS: Ryan Murphy, FOX, FX, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, Glee, Nip/Tuck, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, Bob Iger, 21st Century Fox, American Horror Story Franchise, Disney
Posted Tuesday 2/06/18 at 11:36PM EST
“A few” Star Wars TV series are being developed for the Disney app
Disney CEO Bob Iger said of the potential Star Wars series during an earnings call Tuesday: “We are developing not just one, but a few Star Wars series specifically for the Disney direct-to-consumer app. We've mentioned that and we are close to being able to reveal at least one of the entities that is developing that for us. Because the deal isn't completely closed, we can't be specific about that.”
Posted Tuesday 2/06/18 at 11:36PM EST
ESPN will charge $5/month for its “ESPN Plus” subscription service
Disney CEO Bob Iger says subscribers will have access to “thousands” of hours of live sporting events not currently available on ESPN, plus the contents of the 30 for 30 library. But it won’t include the games that will be broadcast on ESPN’s cable channels.