This may come as bad news in some parts of Hollywood, but Disney has re-signed Stephen McPherson as president of the network. Based on what’s been written, this is not a nice guy. At a television critics convention, he supposedly told a group of reporters that he hoped one of their absent colleagues had been in a car crash. He once called NBC executive Ben Silverman "either clueless or stupid." What he does do well - too well for the Mouse House to ignore - is develop successful TV shows, including "Grey's Anatomy" and "Dancing with the Stars." The new contract was hashed out after months of negotiations – and some uncertainty about whether CEO Bob Iger would have the stomach to keep him on. Here's the story about his new deal and here's an earlier NYT profile:
He exhibits a blunt, temperamental style that at times creates a frosty relationship with his superiors and leaves subordinates ducking for cover, say current and former Disney executives. He fires off nuclear e-mail messages, fumes over downbeat ratings and once yanked a $10 million comedy after a single broadcast because he didn’t like its creative direction. “He’s confident in his opinions. He doesn’t sugarcoat. His position doesn’t sway in the wind,” said Rich Frank, former president of Walt Disney Studios. “That can leave people raw.”
Writers credit him with making specific creative tweaks that helped some of these shows become hits. Marc Cherry, the creator of “Desperate Housewives,” said Mr. McPherson persuaded him to rethink the casting of the show’s narrator. “He suggested — not ordered, suggested — that I consider a voice with more theatrics in it,” Mr. Cherry said. “I will be forever grateful for that observation.” When Mr. McPherson took over ABC three years ago, he made some important operational changes, too. He stopped marketing new shows equally, a vestige of the pre-cable era intended to keep producers happy. And he was the first Big Four network executive to aggressively court the country’s growing Hispanic audience (including dubbing shows into Spanish and pushing his staff to cast more Hispanic actors).