This week’s Disney Headlines run the gamut from ESPN broadcasters making bank to CEO Bob Chapek trying to patch the biggest chink in his armor.
Also, a Disney act drove through a shootout the other night, and no. It wasn’t on a movie set.
We’ll talk about all these things and Bob Iger’s interest in footie today.
Announcers Paid Like Athletes
Everything in life is cyclical, and that’s doubly true in the media industry.
To wit, ESPN famously released some of its most recognizable talents a few years ago.
The outcome of that ill-considered tactic included a fascinating tale of immediate regret.
A dude recently paid by ESPN broke an Urban Meyer scandal – not that one – which ESPN had to cover.
You can imagine the humiliation stemming from the guy they let go beating them on a headline-grabbing scoop.
Lately, ESPN+ has proven a new revenue stream for the company. Finally, his head, Jimmy Pitaro, has come around on the idea of paying talent. And my goodness has he ever.
Disney recently poached the NFL broadcast team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman from their longtime homes at Fox.
The two football announcers will helm Monday Night Football, making the program less embarrassing than it has been in many years.
Of course, that acquisition came at a price…an Avert Your Eyes price. The two broadcasters will earn a combined $165 million over the next few years.
Remarkably, ESPN didn’t stop there, either. The same company that recently fired Ed Werder, later paid him for years not to work, and then rehired him has apparently learned from such mistakes.
Adam Schefter and Adrian Wojnarowski just signed multi-year extensions with the company.
Gambling organizations had flirted with both individuals about more lucrative gigs.
Schefter and Woj chose to stay loyal, and their reward was a combined $16 million per year. As a result, Schefter will earn $9 million annually, while Woj gets $7 million.
Remember these numbers when ESPN+’s price goes up by a dollar in a year or so.
Meet the New Boss
Former CEO Bob Iger held a secret weapon throughout his time at Disney.
Her name was Zenia Mucha, and she held the titles of Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Communications Officer at Disney.
During her 15-year tenure working with Iger — after five turbulent years with Michael Eisner) — Disney PR was the gold standard in the corporate world.
Iger leaned on Mucha to tell his narrative in the best but also modest way. So even though Humble Iger always seemed like a sham, the pairing worked.
Not coincidentally, after Mucha left the company, Disney turned into the Community meme:
Chapek’s greatest struggles thus far have involved poor public relations decisions.
A few months ago, Disney’s CEO hired Geoff Morrell, a former Chief Spokesperson for the US Department of Defense and, later, Exxon’s Communications EVP.
Disney never intended Morrell to be the forward-facing part of the PR department. Instead, he’ll claim myriad duties within the company.
The other day, Disney named Morrell’s tip of the sword, the person who will become the new Zenia Mucha. And Chapek made an excellent hire here.
You may not know the name of Kristina Schake. However, you and your family owe your good health to her.
Schake ran the COVID-19 vaccine campaign for the Department of Health and Human Services. yeah She’s pretty good.
Morrell and Chapek will lean on Schake to develop the solutions that prevent Disney’s CEO from screwing up publicly so often.
If Chapek turns things around, I strongly suspect that Schake will prove one of the essential reasons why.
We’ve got three VERY different headlines left to discuss. The most traumatic of them involves the sibling music act, Aly & AJ.
The Michalka sisters are extremely successful actresses who also tour together as a duo.
Alyson Michalka, aka Aly, starred in Disney’s Phil of the Future and later appeared in two movies I love, Easy A and Bandslam. She also co-starred on The CW’s iZombie for a while.
Meanwhile, Amanda Michalka, aka AJ, has remained in the Disney fold on ABC sitcoms The Goldbergs and Schooled.
The women were playing a gig in Sacramento the other night. If you keep up with the news, you know where this story is heading.
They were sitting in their tour bus just outside the Crest Theater when the mass shooting occurred within steps of the crime scene.
While musicians Aly & AJ kicked off their A Touch of the Beat tour the night before at the Crest Theatre, the sisters revealed their bus was “caught in the crossfire” as they were leaving the area. https://t.co/ajStGP2dib
— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) April 4, 2022
The sisters huddled up in the bus and hid until authorities arrived on the scene and eventually ended the situation.
By that point, six people had died, and 12 more were wounded. The sisters tweeted this about their experience:
Disturbed by the mass shooting last night outside the venue in Sacramento. All of our thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives and those recovering today. We’re praying for the health care workers caring for them. We hope all our fans made it home safe 🙏
— Aly & AJ (@alyandaj) April 3, 2022
I don’t know how to change topics from that in a tasteful manner. Anyway, another Disney headline emanates from Walt Disney World.
Disney has confirmed its intent to add two more 75-megawatt solar arrays in different parts of the greater Orlando area.
Park officials had previously committed to “net zero emissions by 2030.” The Disney campus already includes two solar arrays combining for 55 megawatts of power.
These arrays power 10 percent of Walt Disney World’s theme parks already. However, Disney cannot add more here due to weather concerns.
So, the new arrays will go in two different locations, increasing the odds of sunlight hitting at least one of the arrays throughout the daytime.
Disney wants to power 40 percent of the parks this way.
You don’t need to be much of a soccer fan to know that the Chelsea FC team is up for sale. Unfortunately, the owner…made mistakes.
Without pointing fingers, this individual championed a somewhat unknown politician named Putin to lead Russia. yeah
The dude was last seen driving his mega yacht to international waters to prevent it from being claimed by the government.
It’s a scene straight from The Wolf of Wall Street. I’d link it, but I think it includes every one of George Carlin’s seven words you can’t say on television.
Anyway, this story brings us back to Bob Iger. The former CEO currently enjoys plenty of free time, has the cash to burn, and carries respect.
So, current Boston Celtics owner, Steve Pagliuca, has approached Iger about joining a bid to purchase Chelsea.
🚨 BREAKING 🚨
Boston Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca has approached former Walt Disney chief Bob Iger about backing his bid to buy Chelsea FC. 💰 pic.twitter.com/4aDN49XcwG
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) April 5, 2022
Several ownership groups are putting together bids as we speak. Even so, I believe there’s a real chance Iger does this, and his/Pagliuca’s bid wins.
At that point, ESPN would cover its old boss’ professional sports team. Crazy, right?