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President of Disney Channel Resigns

Walt Disney Productions, Burbank, announced that James P. Jimirro is resigning as president of the Disney Channel and also as president of the company’s telecommunications and non-theatrical unit.

The company said Jimirro would continue to play an “active role” until a new executive is named and will then continue as a consultant and marketing strategist. Jimirro, a 12-year Disney executive, declined an offer to “continue his affiliation with Disney in a corporate capacity,” Disney President Frank G. Wells said in a prepared statement.

Sources suggested that differences in philosophy or style arose between Jimirro and the new management team that took control of the studio last September. Jimirro, in a telephone interview, acknowledged that “little differences” occurred but praised the new executives as “terrific people” and said he is leaving the company to look for new challenges.

Jeffrey Katzenberg, chairman of Disney’s motion picture and television division, said Disney’s top executives have recently debated various strategies for the Disney Channel, but he insisted that Jimirro has “done an outstanding job, and it’s now going to move to the next phase.”

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Katzenberg, in a telephone interview, refuted industry speculation that the pay-TV service will be changed or merged with another company, saying that management is strongly committed to continuing the channel as a “stand-alone pay service.”

Disney is “not going to merge it into another service, and we are not going to (change) into a basic (service),” he said. “We are going to market, distribute and program the channel inside the four walls of this studio.”


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