Anne Sweeney is co-chair, Disney Media Networks, and president, Disney/ABC Television Group, which includes The Walt Disney Company’s global entertainment and news television properties, as well as radio and publishing businesses.
In this role Ms. Sweeney oversees ABC Studios, the ABC Owned Stations Group, and the ABC Television Network, which provides entertainment, news and kids programming to viewers via more than 200 affiliated stations across the U.S. She also oversees Disney Channels Worldwide, a portfolio of 94 kid-driven, family inclusive entertainment channels, including Disney Channel, Disney XD, Playhouse Disney, Disney Cinemagic, Hungama, GXT and Radio Disney brands. Additionally, Ms. Sweeney’s responsibilities include cable networks ABC Family and SOAPnet, the company’s equity interest in A&E Television Networks, and Disney’s publishing imprint, Hyperion.
In 2005, Ms. Sweeney led the industry into the digital era when the Disney/ABC Television Group became the first media company to put television content on new platforms. The group was the first to leverage iTunes, the first to introduce an ad-supported full episode player online, and the first to deliver an application for the revolutionary iPad. Under her leadership, the Group continues to combine high-quality content with strategic use of traditional and emerging distribution platforms to deliver compelling news and entertainment viewing experiences to hundreds of millions of people around the world.
From October 2000 to April 2004, Ms. Sweeney served as president of ABC Cable Networks Group and Disney Channels Worldwide, where under her leadership Disney Channel more than quintupled its subscriber base. In April 1998, she also oversaw the successful launch of the 24-hour channel Toon Disney (now known as Disney XD), and later the launch of SOAPnet in January 2000.
Ms. Sweeney joined The Walt Disney Company in February 1996 as president of Disney Channel and executive vice president of Disney/ABC Cable Networks. Previously she was chairman and CEO of FX Networks, Inc., since 1993. During her tenure there, she presided over the launch of two basic cable networks, entertainment-focused FX and FXM: Movies from Fox, Hollywood’s first studio-based movie network.
Before joining Fox, Ms. Sweeney spent 12 years at Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite in various executive positions, most recently as senior vice president of Program Enterprises. Among many accomplishments, she oversaw Nickelodeon’s international expansion, including launching the channel in the United Kingdom, resulting in a joint venture with British Sky Broadcasting.
Active in organizations both within and outside the television industry, Ms. Sweeney is a board member of Lifetime Television, the Paley Center for Media, the American Film Institute, the Special Olympics and an honorary chair of Cable Positive.
Since assuming her current role as co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group, Ms. Sweeney has repeatedly been named the “Most Powerful Woman in Entertainment” by The Hollywood Reporter, one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” by Fortune and one of “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” by Forbes. In 2008 she was honored with the Broadcasters Foundation of America’s Golden Mike Award for Outstanding Contributions to Broadcasting, the Matrix Award for television from New York Women in Communications, Inc., as well as the National Cable & Telecommunications Association’s Vanguard Award for Distinguished Leadership. Ms. Sweeney was inducted into the Cable Center’s Hall of Fame in October 2007 and recognized by the Producers Guild of America in 2006 with the President’s Citation for her efforts on behalf of diversity across the Disney/ABC Television Group. In 2005 she was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable “Hall of Fame,” and in 2004 received the Muse Award from New York Women in Film & Television. She has been honored repeatedly by Women in Cable & Telecommunications -- as Executive of the Year in 1994, Woman of the Year in 1997, and in 1998 as the recipient of the Advocate Leader Award from WICT’s Southern California chapter. In 1995 she received the prestigious STAR Award from American Women in Radio and Television. She was inducted into the American Advertising Federation’s Advertising Hall of Achievement in 1996. In 2002 she received Women in Film’s esteemed Lucy Award and has been awarded the Cable Television Public Affairs Association’s President’s Award.
Ms. Sweeney earned a BA degree from The College of New Rochelle and an Ed. M. degree from Harvard University.