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The Walt Disney Company Announces Additions to Its Studio Entertainment Management Team

The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) announced that several senior film executives of Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. (“21st Century Fox” —NASDAQ: FOXA, FOX) are joining Disney’s Studio Entertainment management team, conditional upon closing of Disney’s pending acquisition of 21st Century Fox.

 “We’re pleased that these talented executives will be joining our incredible team of studio leaders once the acquisition of 21st Century Fox is completed,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. “Under Alan Horn’s leadership, Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm have reached unprecedented levels of creative and box-office success, and adding Fox’s impressive film brands and franchises to our studio will allow us to create even more appealing high-quality entertainment to delight audiences.”

“The addition of these respected film groups under the umbrella of The Walt Disney Studios will create endless possibilities as we continue to deliver first-rate motion pictures to audiences around the world,” said Mr. Horn, Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios. “This is an experienced group of executives, and Alan Bergman and I look forward to welcoming them to our leadership ranks upon completion of the acquisition.”

Reporting directly to Mr. Horn will be:

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  • Emma Watts, Vice Chairman, Twentieth Century Fox Film and President, Production, Twentieth Century Fox
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  • Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula, Chairmen, Fox Searchlight Pictures
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  • Elizabeth Gabler, President of Production, Fox 2000

Reporting to Mr. Horn and Ms. Watts will be:

        • Andrea Miloro and Robert Baird, Co-Presidents, Fox Animation
        • Vanessa Morrison, President, Fox Family

The executives will join Mr. Horn’s existing leadership team that includes:

        • Alan Bergman, President, The Walt Disney Studios
        • Sean Bailey, President, Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production
        • Ed Catmull, President, Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios
        • Jennifer Lee, Chief Creative Officer, Walt Disney Animation Studios
        • Pete Docter, Chief Creative Officer, Pixar Animation Studios
        • Kevin Feige, President, Marvel Studios
        • Louis D’Esposito, Co-President, Marvel Studios
        • Kathleen Kennedy, President, Lucasfilm
        • Ken Bunt, President, Disney Music Group
        • Thomas Schumacher, President & Producer, Disney Theatrical Group

Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox has received formal approval from shareholders of both companies, and Disney and 21st Century Fox have entered into a consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice that allows the acquisition to proceed, while requiring the sale of the Fox Sports Regional Networks. The transaction is subject to a number of non-U.S. merger and other regulatory reviews.

About The Walt Disney Company

The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries, is a diversified worldwide entertainment company with operations in four business segments: Media Networks; Studio Entertainment; Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products; and Direct-to-Consumer and International. Disney is a Dow 30 company and had annual revenues of $55.1 billion in its Fiscal Year 2017.

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

Management believes certain statements in this release may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are made on the basis of management’s views and assumptions regarding future events and business performance as of the time the statements are made. Management does not undertake any obligation to update these statements.

Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied. Such differences may result from actions taken by the Company, including restructuring or strategic initiatives (including capital investments or asset acquisitions or dispositions), as well as from developments beyond the Company’s control, including:

      • changes in domestic and global economic conditions, competitive conditions and consumer preferences;
      • adverse weather conditions or natural disasters;
      • health concerns;
      • international, political, or military developments; and
      • technological developments.

Such developments may affect entertainment, travel and leisure businesses generally and may, among other things, affect:

  • the performance of the Company’s theatrical and home entertainment releases;
  • the advertising market for broadcast and cable television programming;
  • demand for our products and services;
  • expenses of providing medical and pension benefits;
  • income tax expense;
  • performance of some or all company businesses either directly or through their impact on those who distribute our products; and
  • the completion of the pending transaction with 21CF.

Additional factors are set forth in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended September 30, 2017 under Item 1A, “Risk Factors,” in the Company’s Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended December 30, 2017 under Item 1A, “Risk Factors,” and subsequent reports.


Season Five of Disney Junior’s ‘Doc McStuffins’ Premieres October 26 on Disney Channel

Season five of Disney Junior’s Peabody Award-winning “Doc McStuffins” will premiere FRIDAY, OCT. 26 (11:00-11:30 a.m. EDT/PDT), on Disney Channel and the DisneyNOW app. The series, which tells the story of a young girl who aspires to be a doctor like her mom and communicates with and heals toys, has been lauded by parents, educators and health-care professionals around the world for having a lasting impact on how children see themselves and their future.

The new season will bring the series to a total of more than 150 episodes, shorts and specials. Included in season five will be “The Doc McStuffins Christmas Special,” premiering this December on Disney Junior. The special, which is part of Disney|ABC Television’s annual “25 Days of Christmas” programming event, will also air on Disney Channel, ABC and Freeform throughout the holiday season.

“Doc McStuffins” premiered in March 2012 and since then has become one of the most beloved preschool television properties of all time. Described by Emmy® Award-winning producer, socio-political comedian and dad to three girls, W. Kamau Bell, as “one of the most important shows in the history of television,” the series has been credited by many health-care professionals for helping to allay children’s fears of going to the doctor. “Doc McStuffins” has also been cited in recent reports, including a study done by The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media in partnership with IF/THEN, an initiative of the Lyda Hill Foundation, for having a positive impact on young kids’ aspirations, particularly girls, to pursue STEM careers.

Shortly after the series launched, a group of female African-American physicians began a “movement” they coined “We Are Doc McStuffins.” Seeing a reflection of themselves in the Doc character and the opportunity to inspire young girls, the group grew to form the Artemis Medical Society, an organization which now boasts a membership of over 4700 women physicians of color from around the world, and has a mission of providing the foundation necessary to create a diverse physician workforce.

In addition to critical acclaim, “Doc McStuffins” has inspired an immersive traveling museum exhibit designed for kids age 2-7, spreading the show’s messages of care and compassion directly into local communities. The series is currently featured in the “Disney Junior Dance Party On Tour” live concert experience, which began its second leg of the U.S. tour last month, and the popular “Disney Junior Dance Party!” attraction at Disney California Adventure park, which will also be opening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort later this year. Additional brand extensions for the series include books, comics, activity books and a magazine from Disney Publishing Worldwide; multiple DVD releases from Walt Disney Studios and various soundtracks from Walt Disney Records. The multiple award-winning toy line is available at retailers nationwide, with new products debuting this fall.

In 2Q18, the series reached over 133 million viewers worldwide and aired in 157 countries in 28 languages. In its fourth season, “Doc McStuffins” generated over 37 million views on YouTube, more than 79 million views on the Disney apps and 25 million views on VOD.*

The series was created and is executive produced by Humanitas Prize and Emmy Award-winner Chris Nee. Emmy-winning Norton Virgien serves as supervising director and co-executive producer. The Hollywood Health & Society division of the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center serves as the series’ health and medical consultants, advising on basic health issues that are relevant to young kids and families. “Doc McStuffins” is a production of Academy Award®-nominated Brown Bag Films in association with Disney Channel.


Joshua Bassett Lands the Lead Role in ‘High School Musical: The Musical’

Joshua Bassett has been cast in the lead role of the highly anticipated “High School Musical: The Musical,” a series for Disney’s upcoming direct-to-consumer streaming service, which is set to launch in late 2019. It is based on the iconic Emmy® Award-winning “High School Musical” franchise. The series will be filmed in Salt Lake City, Utah, in a single camera documentary style.

Bassett will play Ricky, a cynical but charming high school junior who launches a bold plan to win back his ex-girlfriend Nini – by auditioning to star opposite her in the school’s production of “High School Musical.”

“Joshua’s interpretation of the Ricky character was brilliant – funny, winning and, at the same time, uniquely vulnerable. The audience is going to love watching this charismatic young actor put his stamp on this next chapter of the ‘High School Musical’ franchise” said Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer, Disney Channels Worldwide.

The 10-episode story follows as a group of high school students who stage a performance of “High School Musical” for their fall theater production, only to realize that as much drama happens offstage as onstage. Every episode will include a new rendition of a beloved song from “High School Musical” as well as an original song.

Bassett said, “As someone whose childhood was shaped by the cultural phenomenon that is ‘High School Musical,’ I am thrilled to have the opportunity to continue to tell this story. Go Wildcats!”

A native of Oceanside, California, 17-year-old Bassett is an actor, singer, dancer and guitarist. Since age seven, he has performed in over 30 musical theater productions and had roles in several commercials and television series, including a recurring role in Disney Channel’s “Stuck in the Middle” and a guest starring role in the upcoming crime anthology “Dirty John” for Bravo.

“High School Musical: The Musical” is executive produced by novelist, former Broadway performer, and Golden Globe® and Academy Award®-nominated screenwriter, Tim Federle (“Ferdinand”), as well as Emmy Award-nominated producer Oliver Goldstick (“Pretty Little Liars,” “Ugly Betty”), who also serves as showrunner.  Emmy Award-winning “High School Musical” executive producers Bill Borden and Barry Rosenbush are also set to executive produce the series.


Bette Midler Joins Freeform’s ‘Hocus Pocus 25th Anniversary Halloween Bash’

Freeform announced today that Bette Midler will join Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker for the network’s “Hocus Pocus 25th Anniversary Halloween Bash,” an all-star party in honor of the cult classic film’s milestone anniversary. The two-hour special, filmed at the iconic Hollywood Forever Cemetery to celebrate the movie’s status as a Halloween staple, will premiere on SATURDAY, OCT. 20 at 8:15-10:15 p.m. EDT/PDT, as part of Freeform’s “31 Nights of Halloween” programming event.  

Hosted by Vanessa Hudgens and Jordan Fisher, “Hocus Pocus 25th Anniversary Halloween Bash” will feature exclusive interviews with the Sanderson sisters themselves, Bette Midler (“Winifred Sanderson”), Kathy Najimy (“Mary Sanderson”), and Sarah Jessica Parker (“Sarah Sanderson”), plus musical performances by Dove Cameron, Sofia Carson, Jordin Sparks, Jordan Fisher, Emily Estefan, PrettyMuch and Junior New System, as well as a “Hocus Pocus” themed costume contest, judged by Sharon Osbourne, Kelly Osbourne, Margaret Cho and hosted by Ross Mathews. The special will also include exclusive interviews with “Hocus Pocus” cast and crew members Kenny Ortega (Director), Mick Garris (Writer), David Kirschner (Writer), Omri Katz (“Max”), Thora Birch (“Dani”), Vinessa Shaw (“Allison”), Sean Murray (“Thackery”), Amanda Shepherd (“Emily”), Doug Jones (“Billy Butcherson”), Larry Bagby (“Ernie”), Jason Marsden (voice of “Thackery Binx”), Tobias Jelinek (“Jay”), Peggy Holmes (choreographer) and John Debney (Composer). Drag superstar Lady Bunny will be rocking the spooky beats throughout the evening as the resident DJ. 

The night of Oct. 20 will be full of bewitching fun as the network will also be airing a “Pop’n Knowledge” edition of “Hocus Pocus,” before and after the Bash at 6:05 p.m. EDT/PDT and 10:15 p.m. EDT/PDT. The special edition will celebrate everything about the iconic film and the fandom with a mix of trivia, funny observations and commentary around key moments and quotes. This “Pop’n Knowledge” version of “Hocus Pocus” is an experience no fan should miss! 

“Hocus Pocus 25th Anniversary Halloween Bash” is executive produced by Kenny Ortega and Michael Levitt. 

Twenty-five years after its theatrical release, “Hocus Pocus” is more popular than ever – exclusively airing on Freeform during the Network’s “31 Nights of Halloween” stunt, the film reached 8.2 million Total Viewers in its first week. If NATO’s average ticket price of $8.97 were applied to the film’s performance, “Hocus Pocus” would have had a weekend box-office equivalent of approximately $73.6 million in its first five days if it were released today. 

During the first week of “31 Nights of Halloween,” Freeform ranked as the No. 1 cable network in the daypart among Women 18-34 (164,000) and Females 12-34 (202,000).

Freeform has expanded their annual Halloween programming event to “31 Nights of Halloween,” bringing more thrills and chills to the entire month. From Oct. 1, the network will be invaded by everyone’s favorite witches, a murderous barber, out of control dinosaurs and everything else that goes bump in the night. “Hocus Pocus” will air throughout the most haunting stunt on television, as well as conclude the event with a day-long marathon featuring the Sanderson Sisters on Oct. 31.

Set List Announced for Disney Night on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars

“Disney Night” – The nine remaining celebrities are putting on their Mickey ears and getting ready to transform into some of their favorite Disney characters and celebrate the magnificence of “Disney Night” on “Dancing with the Stars,” live on MONDAY, OCT. 22 (8:00-10:00 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network, streaming and on demand.

The Disney spirit shines as the show opens with a spectacular number, featuring “Dancing with the Stars: Juniors” host and Season 25 Mirrorball winner Jordan Fisher singing and dancing with the stars, pros and “Dancing with the Stars: Juniors’” Ariana Greenblatt, Jason Maybaum and the Juniors pros. Jordan returns later in the show to sing “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” from “Cinderella,” alongside “Dancing with the Stars: Juniors’” Ariana Greenblatt and Jason Maybaum. In addition, there will be a special guest performance by Andrea Bocelli and Mateo Bocelli of the song “Fall on Me” from Disney’s upcoming motion picture, “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.” And hitting the ballroom floor in style throughout the night will be Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Goofy, Donald Duck and Daisy Duck. Each couple will perform to songs from Disney films, including Walt Disney Animation Studios’ upcoming “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” and classic films “Beauty and the Beast,” “Mulan,” “The Little Mermaid” and “Tangled,” among others. Each couple will perform a foxtrot, waltz, Charleston, jazz, jive, quickstep, Viennese waltz or contemporary.

Each couple will dance to the following magical songs (in alphabetical order):

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Alexis Ren and Alan Bersten – Foxtrot – “Just Around the Riverbend” from “Pocahontas”

 

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Bobby Bones and Sharna Burgess – Waltz – “Part of Your World” from “The Little Mermaid”

 

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DeMarcus Ware and Lindsay Arnold – Charleston – “A Star is Born” from “Hercules”

 

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Evanna Lynch and Keo Motsepe – Jazz – “When Will My Life Begin?” from “Tangled”

 

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Joe “Grocery Store Joe” Amabile and Jenna Johnson – Jive – “Zero” from “Ralph Breaks the Internet”

 

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John Schneider and Emma Slater – Quickstep – “I Wan’na Be Like You” from “The Jungle Book”

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Juan Pablo Di Pace and Cheryl Burke – Viennese Waltz – “Gaston” from “Beauty and the Beast”

 

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Mary Lou Retton and Sasha Farber – Contemporary – “Reflection” from “Mulan”

 

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Milo Manheim and Witney Carson – Quickstep – “Incredits 2” from “The Incredibles 2”

For week five, viewers may cast their votes for their favorite “Dancing with the Stars” couples via phone and online at www.ABC.com, beginning from the start of the episode on the East Coast at 8:00 p.m. EDT/5:00 p.m. PDT and closing at 4:00 a.m. EDT/1:00 a.m. PDT on Tuesday.