Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Disney's Rich Ross: Hollywood's first openly gay studio chairman

Rich Ross (pictured), the openly gay president of Disney Channels Worldwide, has been appointed to run Walt Disney Studios. The acclaimed television executive will make the transition to movies, where he has the support of the powerful DreamWorks team of Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider.

Advocate reports:
“Steven and I are totally supportive of Rich,” Snider, the chief executive of DreamWorks, said in a telephone interview with The New York Times. “What he has done for the channel is extraordinary. You can’t help but notice the creativity and the robust effort that has gone into making that brand ubiquitous.” In his 13 years with the Disney Channel, Ross pioneered the “tween” programming that appeals primarily to young audiences between the ages of 9 and 14. He is the force behind young stars and programming such as Zac Efron of High School Musical, Miley Cyrus of Hannah Montana, and the Jonas Brothers. READ MORE

Disney's Rich Ross: Hollywood's first openly gay studio chairman

Los Angeles Times reports:
Judging from a quick canvas I made of gay filmmakers and executives, the news about Ross was something of a revelation, even in the gay community.

That may be because people in the film world don't always keep track of TV executives, especially ones making children's programming.

One filmmaker was aware that Ross was gay, but others I spoke to knew little about his professional life, much less his private life. As one executive put it: "Every day showbiz offers a new surprise."

But is it a good surprise?

"Absolutely," says producer Howard Rosenman, who's not only openly gay but played the role of David Goodstein, an early owner of the Advocate, in last year's Oscar-nominated film "Milk." READ MORE