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Anne Sweeney, the co-chair of Disney Media Networks, is leaving her post at the biggest studio in Hollywood to pursue a new career as a television director. She is also the president of Disney’s TV arm - Disney/ABC Television Group.
The news was first reported in the Hollywood Reporter’s latest cover story. Sweeney, 56, is leaving behind a top position at the media empire to pursue a passion of her’s, directing television. She had worked at Disney for 18 years and previously held positions at Nickelodeon and FX.
In a statement, Sweeney said that her time at Disney was the highlight of her career as an executive, reports TheWrap.
“But as wonderful as the experience has been, there has always been a nagging voice in the back of my head pushing me to step out of the comfort zone of the executive ranks and more directly into the creative arena that enticed me to TV in the first place,” Sweeney added. “I finally listened to that voice and thought, ‘if not now, when?’”
Disney CEO Bob Iger told THR that Sweeney’s decision is her own and had nothing to do with the low ratings at ABC.
In her interview with THR, Sweeney admitted that she knows she has a lot to learn about directing. She does understand that she’s not a writer or an actor, though.
“And for the countless times I’ve been on our sets, that makes me a set visitor, that does not make me a director or a producer,” Sweeney explained. “So this is the place I intend to start. And I know I have a lot of shadowing to do. I have a lot of learning.”
Sweeney’s position at Disney made her one of the most powerful women in Hollywood. Just last year, the TV business earned $11.9 billion in revenue, plus $2.6 billion in profit.