Disney has gone through significant changes in the last several months under the reappointment of Bob Iger as CEO. And during the company’s annual Upfront conference, it had to once again hide the effects of an industry-wide issue.
The Mickey Mouse brand presented on Tuesday and put a strong focus on sports via its ESPN brand — with some writers present at the event stating the company clearly needed to hide its potential lack of scripted products due to the ongoing writer’s strike.
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The Ankler’s Elaine Low noted that the first of the company’s two-hour presentations was dedicated exclusively to sports.
The company trotted out Pat McAfee, the former NFL player turned media star who reportedly was poached from FanDuel by ESPN on Tuesday. Tennis star Serena Williams announced her new docuseries, Peyton Manning announced a new series of the ‘Manningcast,’ and women’s basketball stars Angel Reese and Brianna Stewart promoted the growing women’s sports space.
And when the company finally touched on non-sports matters — starting with an “American Horror Story” feature by the Kardashians — there was nothing said about the writers strike that was present right outside.
But the effect was seen amid the silence.
Missing in Disney’s (DIS) – Get Free Report ABC fall line-up: scripted television. It leaned on new seasons of popular unscripted television shows like “Dancing with the Stars,” “The Bachelor,” and “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune.”
Amid the writer strike, so far only ABC has announced a lineup without scripted television as both CBS and NBC both have already announced their lineups. Fox has yet to make its declaration.
But what Disney and ABC didn’t do during upfront at all was even acknowledge the ruckus outside that’s causing them to shift strategies — something NBC at least did the day before.