Walt Disney Outgoing Chair Bob Iger Ponders Reviving Weatherman Gig, His Early Dream; In Clio Awards Chat, Says Streaming Shift Biggest Risk He Ever Took
Walt Disney executive chairman Bob Iger said when his tenure’s up he’d love another shot as a weatherman – a first gig in his early 20s that he dearly hoped would lead to an anchor job but never panned out.
“I discovered that I was not as good as I thought I was and I was never going to fulfill my ultimate goal of being an anchor,” Iger said during a fireside chat with Asad Ayaz, president of marketing for Disney Studios Content, at the virtual Clio Awards. The Clios, the major ceremony for creative advertising, gave Iger an honorary award.
“I would say the one thing I would like to do is to be a weatherman on one of our television stations, or maybe on Good Morning America,” he joked (?) in response to a question by Ayaz. “This is not something I’ve done for 47 years and it would be a nice way to go out.” He said he’s warned general managers at ABC stations he may be knocking on their door as his tenure draws to a close.
Iger, who is also Disney’s chairman of the board, was CEO for 15 years (and at Disney and ABC for 47) before handing the reins to Bob Chapek last February. After overseeing the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasilm, Marvel and the entertainment assets of 21st Century Fox capped by the hugely successful launch of Disney+, Iger will step down at the end of this year.
Asked about risk, he said the deals listed above were all considered risky, “although not as risky in my mind because of my confidence in our ability to execute.” The real, “tremendous risk” was “the complete pivot strategically to OTT, DTC digital entertainment platforms” Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ from linear channels, cable and satellite.
There was “technology and execution” risk — to create a product that worked seamlessly; there was business risk — whether people would come and pay a monthly subscription fee for them; and there was creative risk — given all the new creative product needed to populate the platforms.
“It was a triple threat from a risk perspective. It’s incredible to think it was less than two years ago. It all worked out”
Asked about the “craziest idea or pitch” he’d ever heard, he named Cop Rock, a musical police procedural series created by the late, great Steven Bochco that aired on ABC in 1990. Iger said that “creatively risky Twin Peaks had not yet failed — although it never really failed – so I thought we could do anything. And we did Cop Rock. It lasted 11 episodes, but after the first ten minutes we knew it wasn’t going to work.”
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