THR's Women in Entertainment 2011: Power 100
Her big achievement this year was the debut of Katie, Katie Couric's syndicated talk show, which has been cleared on ABC-owned stations and in most of the U.S. for next fall. It's a rare launch for Disney, where Marinelli has overseen domestic distribution since 1999. "We've never been a company with a huge portfolio of first-run content," she says, "but we felt Katie fit our company's brand -- high-profile, smart, credible. That's the sort of business we're in."
She sold the ABC drama Castle to TNT for syndication in what Marinelli calls "a huge deal," and she's now selling it in multiyear deals for weekends on local stations. She licensed Wipeout to truTV, getting what she said is a "huge license fee for a reality show." Last year, Marinelli added oversight of distribution in Canada, where the company has announced the launch of Spark, a network that will draw on ABC Family programming. And she extended her retail-sales jurisdiction of VOD and pay TV last year to include home video. She negotiated digital deals with Netflix and Amazon Prime designed to extract value from content already played out in other markets.
The native New Yorker, married 23 years, has done all this without missing out on watching her 19-year-old daughter play soccer at USC and her sons play high school sports. Her newest challenge will be to replace Regis Philbin, a critical choice requiring someone whom Kelly Ripa can "play off, have fun with, someone who is endearing." She insists Disney won't rush a decision, but rather will use co-hosting into next year as an audition process. "It's really the chemistry," Marinelli says. "Who is going to fit like a comfortable shoe in that role?"
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