After the shocking news that Peter Rice has been ousted as the head of TV content for Disney, and will be replaced by his top lieutenant, Dana Walden, media insiders are left scratching their heads and speculating about the behind-the-scenes dealmaking taking place. For the uninitiated, Variety has put together a primer on the incoming and outgoing heads of Disney television.
Born and raised in the U.K., Rice’s family was close to Rupert Murdoch’s family, which lead to a Fox film internship in 1987. Rice was like family to the Murdochs, and Rupert helped Peter elevate his career in strategic ways, including a controversial but ultimately successful move from film to television in 2009. Despite those ties, Rice is seen as a very polished and capable executive in the media world.
Fox Filmed Entertainment from 1989 — 2009, including roles such as president of Fox Searchlight Pictures and executive vice president of production for Twentieth Century Fox.
During his time at Fox Filmed Entertainment, Rice worked with young creatives such as Danny Boyle, Bryan Singer and Baz Luhrmann. During his tenure at Fox Searchlight, Peter Rice oversaw a multitude of critically acclaimed films including “Juno,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” “Sideways, “Bend it Like Beckham,” “The Last King of Scotland” and “Napoleon Dynamite.” Under his watch, Searchlight received 51 Oscar nominations and eight wins, including best picture for “Slumdog Millionaire.” He also oversaw juggernauts such as the “X-Men” film series.