Burbank-based Walt Disney Co. has confirmed a major front-office shakeup.
Chief content officer Peter Rice will be replaced by company TV entertainment exec Dana Walden, the company said in a statement. Both Rice and Walden joined Disney in 2019 when the company acquired 21st Century Fox.
A statement from Disney announcing Walden's promotion made little mention of Rice, saying only that he is leaving the company. Walden's appointment is effective immediately.
Citing sources familiar with the move, trade magazines reported that the ouster of Rice -- who had two years remaining on his contract -- came as a shock at the studio. CNBC reported that CEO Bob Chapek felt Rice was "no longer a fit" in the position.
Rice was not aware the firing was coming, CNBC reported, citing a person with knowledge of the matter.
A Disney spokesperson declined to comment. Rice couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
Walden will have the title of Disney General Entertainment Content chair. She had been serving under Rice as chair of Disney television entertainment.
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She will oversee ABC Entertainment, ABC News, Disney Branded Television, Disney Television Studios, Freeform, FX, Hulu Originals, National Geographic Contact and Onyx Collective.
"Dana is a dynamic, collaborative leader and cultural force who in just three years has transformed our television business into a content powerhouse that consistently delivers the entertainment audiences crave," Chapek said in a statement. " Chapek said in a statement.