Neuman, Hirschhorn replace Valentine

Following the departure of Walt Disney TV and Walt Disney TV Animation prexy Dean Valentine, Disney moved quickly Tuesday to reassign his former duties to David A. Neuman and Charles Hirschhorn, who were both promoted.

Hirschhorn was named president of Walt Disney TV and executive vice president of the Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group, while Neuman was named president of Walt Disney Network TV and president of Touchstone TV, both of which are newly created titles. Both report to Walt Disney Studios chairman Joe Roth.

Valentine was named president and CEO of UPN on Tuesday (see story, page 1).

Neuman, formerly prez of Walt Disney TV, becomes the top network primetime TV exec at Disney, in charge of developing programming for all six broadcast webs. Neuman joined Disney in 1996 after serving as prexy of programming for Channel One Network and working for five years at NBC.

“Dean (Valentine’s) role in building Walt Disney TV was monumental, and I want to continue in his tradition and build on it,” Neuman said. “We just had our most successful development season ever, and I’m very excited and optimistic about the future.”

Peter Aronson is also being upped to executive VP of creative affairs at Walt Disney Network TV and exec veep of creative affairs at Touchstone TV, reporting to Neuman and overseeing development and production of all series. Previously, Aronson was senior vice prez of creative affairs, but his responsibilities will remain essentially the same.

With the exception of network primetime development, Hirschhorn is taking over many of Valentine’s former duties. Hirschhorn started his career at Fox Broadcasting Co., joined Hollywood Pictures in 1989, and has been executive vice prez of Hollywood Pictures and president of Disney Telefilms since 1996.

Hirschhorn was and continues to be in charge of ABC’s upcoming movie franchise “The Wonderful World of Disney,” and he is adding responsibility for direct-to-video projects and Walt Disney TV Animation. On the feature side, his new title reflects a role he’s been performing: to develop and supervise production of features for the entire studio.

Jim Jinkins, president of Jumbo Pictures, who reported to Valentine, will now report to Hirschhorn, as will Sharon Morrill, veepee of direct-to-video and specials at Walt Disney TV Animation.

Also newly reporting to Hirschhorn is Barry Blumberg, who has been promoted to senior vice president of Walt Disney TV Animation series from VP series development. Blumberg will get additional duties in animation, overseeing all aspects of development and production.

Several execs will report jointly to Neuman and Hirschhorn: Mitch Ackerman, exec VP of TV production; Gene Blythe, senior VP of Walt Disney TV casting; Alan Duke, senior vice prez of business and legal affairs; Joanna Spak, veepee of finance for Walt Disney TV and Walt Disney TV Animation, and Heidi Trotta, vice prexy of advertising, publicity and promotion.

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