Disney has tapped Rob Mills to oversee its newly formed alternative production division as part of a wide-ranging promotion for ABC’s non-scripted chief
Mills has been promoted to EVP, Unscripted and Alternative Entertainment, Walt Disney Television and will now lead Walt Disney Television Alternative as well as taking on non-scripted development and production for Hulu as well as daytime programming for ABC.
He was previously SVP, Alternative Series, Specials and Late-Night Programming at ABC Entertainment.
The move comes as Disney has been looking to ramp up development and production of non-scripted content across the group – it revealed that it was planning to launch the unscripted programming production unit in December as part of the sweeping restructure that saw Karey Burke move from running ABC to lead 20th Television, Hulu content chief Craig Erwich take oversight of ABC Entertainment and Craig Hunegs become President of Entertainment, Walt Disney Television, reporting to Dana Walden.
It also brings ABC into line with other networks such as Fox and NBC, which have non-scripted studios such as Fox Alternative Entertainment and Universal Television Alternative Studio feeding their unscripted pipeline.
Mills will now report to Erwich on the ABC and Hulu side and Hunegs on the studio side.
ABC, under Mills, scored four of the top ten highest-rated unscripted series last year including The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and American Idol and has been credited with keeping some of the network’s biggest franchises on the air during the global pandemic. The fact that The Bachelorette and The Bachelor returned during the crisis was a boon for the network and American Idol, which was one of the first shows to power through the early days of the lockdown, is returning in relatively normal fashion later this month.
He has also had success with The Disney Family Singalong and Celebrity Wheel of Fortune as well as commissioning new series including a reboot of Supermarket Sweep, Ultimate Surfer and Pooch Perfect.
Mills joined ABC’s alternative department in 2003 and has been responsible for other titles including Shark Tank, Dancing with the Stars, America’s Funniest Home Videos, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, the Live in Front of a Studio Audience and Jimmy Kimmel Live!
“Rob is a respected and accomplished innovator in the unscripted business and his success is reflected in the countless hours of compelling content he has long championed,” said Craig Erwich, president of Hulu Originals and ABC Entertainment. “This promotion is not only a well-earned next step in his career, it also demonstrates our commitment to the type of groundbreaking programming that Rob’s team is known for.”
Hunegs added, “Rob Mills is one of the premier developers of unscripted programming in the industry. We are excited to expand his role to run a new business unit devoted to creating alternative hits for every Disney platform and to produce more of this dynamic programming than ever before.”
“I am honored to be leading this new enterprise as our company continues its efforts to grow the direct-to-consumer business and build on our success at ABC,” said Mills. “I am incredibly grateful to Dana Walden, Craig Erwich and Craig Hunegs for this tremendous opportunity and look forward to collaborating with the talented teams within this expanded portfolio to develop and produce a higher volume of culturally defining unscripted television.”
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