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Disney fires TV content chief Peter Rice in abrupt shakeup

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Peter Rice, then-chairman and chief executive officer of Fox Networks Group Inc., speaks on the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, May 3, 2017.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Disney has abruptly fired Peter Rice, its most senior television content executive, multiple sources CNBC Thursday.

Rice didn’t know the firing was coming, in accordance with an individual with knowledge of the matter.

It was not immediately clear what led to Rice’s sudden departure from the corporate. According the the Latest York Times, Rice was “an ailing fit with Disney’s corporate culture.” Other sources told Variety that the abrupt decision was strategy-related and had nothing to do with any personal behavior of Rice’s.

Rice has greater than three many years of experience within the entertainment industry and rose up through the ranks at 21th Century Fox. When the corporate’s sale to Disney was finalized in 2019, Rice joined Disney’s team Dana Walden, who also made the transition from Fox to Disney, will take over his duties.

The firing comes as Disney is aggressively working to expand its streaming audience. Rice oversaw twentieth Television, ABC Entertainment, ABC News and FX, amongst other brands.

Disney’s board expressed support for CEO Bob Chapek, who delivered the news to Rice earlier this week.

“The strength of the Walt Disney Company’s businesses coming out of the pandemic is a testament to Bob’s leadership and vision for the corporate’s future,” Susan Arnold, chairwoman of Disney’s board, said in an announcement. “On this essential time of business growth and transformation, we’re committed to keeping Disney on the successful path it’s on today, and Bob and his leadership team have the support and confidence of the board.”

— CNBC’s Julia Boorstin and Alexander Sherman contributed to this report.

That is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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