×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Disney-ABC TV Chief Ben Sherwood Touts Iger’s Streaming Strategy at CES

Ben Sherwood, president of Disney-ABC Television Group, said that his division will be the largest contributor to Disney’s planned 2019 internet-video subscription service — and that the media conglomerate overall is well poised to manage the transition to next-generation TV.

“We’re going through this unbelievable moment of transformation in how we take television and distribute it,” said Sherwood, speaking at Variety‘s Entertainment Summit at CES 2018 on Wednesday.

Disney-ABC TV will supply 7,000-8,000 episodes from its library, plus 3-4 original series, and 3-4 original movies. That will include an original series based on Disney’s “High School Musical” franchise, with the original producers on board, Sherwood said.

Sherwood, who was interviewed by Variety co-editor-in-chief Andrew Wallenstein, declined to comment on the pending acquisition by Disney of 20th Century Fox assets, including cable networks. Disney CEO Bob Iger has “laid out the strategic vision” for the deal, “and we’ll leave it at that.”

The Disney-ABC TV exec also called out the biggest change in morning television, when several “very brave women” came forward and told their stories about sexual harassment from male talent.

“It’s a very important moment, not only in television but in society,” Sherwood said, noting that the morning news programs form NBC (absent Matt Lauer) and CBS (absent Charlie Rose) have both lost their male anchors.

“That said, the battle of the morning is every day, five days a wek, plus weekends,” Sherwood said. “We’re in for a long period of battle for morning television, but I like ‘GMA’s’ chances.”

Asked about the challenges facing traditional TV — with declining viewership — Sherwood responded, “Every decade, the obituaries are written about television. In my view, the sky is not falling. The sky is rising.”

Sherwood added, “People sometimes mistake watching the television on the wall for television as distribution. There are lots of different ways to distribute the best content.”

The typical American watches 5 hours and 29 minutes of video content per day. “If we continue to make great stuff, we’ll be able to get our fair share of that,” Sherwood said. “People will be watching more television than ever in the ways it’s distributed to them.”

Meanwhile, Sherwood recalled that when the deal between Shonda Rhimes — a longtime producer with ABC Studios — was announced with Netflix last year, “I got a call from my 86-year-old mother asking me if I was OK.”

He pointed out that ABC is still Rhimes’ broadcast home, with five shows on the air or in development. “Our hope is her work is going to be on ABC for some time, even as I go binge on whatever she creates for Netflix.”

More TV

  • Game of Thrones Final Season: Best

    The Best 'Game of Thrones' Merch to Get You Ready for the New Season

    We’re just weeks away from the premiere of the final season of “Game of Thrones,” and whether you’re a die-hard fan, on the hunt for a novelty gift, or a serious collector hoping to nab some memorabilia before the series signs off for good, we’ve found 10 pieces of merch that pay tribute to one [...]

  • Ryan KadroPaleyLive NY: The News Is

    Ryan Kadro Will Join Quibi to Oversee News Programming (EXCLUSIVE)

    Ryan Kadro left CBS News several weeks ago, but he isn’t leaving the news business. Kadro, the former executive producer of “CBS This Morning” is set to join Quibi, the company led by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman that is devoted to short-form  content. Kadro is expected to oversee news programming for the subscription-based service, [...]

  • Jussie Smollett

    Jussie Smollett Charged With Filing False Police Report

    “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett has been charged with filing a false police report, the Chicago police said Wednesday. “Detectives will make contact with his legal team to negotiate a reasonable surrender for his arrest,” police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said on Twitter. Smollett is due to appear in court for a bond hearing at 1:30 p.m. [...]

  • Coast Guard Lieutenant Hit List

    Coast Guard Lieutenant Targeted CNN, MSNBC Anchors and Democrats for Attacks

    Anchors at CNN and MSNBC and prominent Democrats were targeted for attack by a Coast Guard lieutenant arrested Friday on a firearms charge, according to federal prosecutors in Maryland. In court documents revealed Wednesday, prosecutors describe the firearms and controlled substance charges Christopher Paul Hasson is facing as “the proverbial tip of the iceberg.” CNN’s [...]

  • TV News Roundup: HBO Releases 'The

    TV News Roundup: HBO Drops Trailer for 'The Case Against Adnan Syed' (Watch)

    In today’s TV news roundup, HBO released the first official trailer for its upcoming docu-series “The Case Against Adnan Syed,” and Freeform announced three new cast members for its upcoming comedy series “Besties,” starring Jordin Sparks. DATES Netflix’s upcoming docu-series “Formula 1: Drive to Survive” is set to premiere March 8 on the streaming platform. [...]

  • Rory O'Malley A Legacy of Changing

    NBC Pilot 'Like Magic' Adds 'Hamilton's' Rory O'Malley

    Rory O’Malley, best known for his turn as King George in the Broadway run of “Hamilton” as well as the show’s first national tour, has been cast in the upcoming NBC single-camera comedy pilot “Like Magic.” He will play Michael V., the quieter partner in a two-man magic team with a character named Michael B. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content