Disney is set to merge US network ABC Entertainment and production arm ABC Studios in a bit to cut costs.
ABC Entertainment president Steve McPherson will run the new division, which will be known as ABC Entertainment Group. ABC Studios president Mark Pedowitz has become a senior adviser to Anne Sweeney, president of Disney-ABC Television Group and co-chair of Disney Media Networks, where he will consult on labor and new media issues.
This move reunites McPherson with ABC Studios, where he worked before moving to the network, and where he developed hits such as Lost and Desperate Housewives. The new company will now concentrate on producing shows for the ABC network, rather than rival networks. ABC Studios, for instance, has produced a number of hits for rival broadcasters including Criminal Minds and Ghost Whisperer for CBS. This move will allow Disney ABC ESPN Television to more easily exploit international distribution rights.
NBC also reorganized its network and studio divisions last year, merging NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios under the leadership of Ben Silverman and Marc Graboff.