Dan Kupetz to Head Business Affairs at Disney's 20th TV

Dan Kupetz - Publicity - H 2020
Courtesy of 20th Century Fox TV

Disney's 20th Century Fox TV has named a new head of business affairs and operations.

CBS Television Studios veteran Dan Kupetz will join 20th in March to assume leadership of business affairs. He will take over from longtime head Howard Kurtzman, who is retiring in June; the two will work together until Kurtzman's departure to help ensure a smooth transition.

As executive vp business affairs and operations, Kupetz will report directly to 20th president Carolyn Cassidy, who is assuming solo leadership of the studio.

"Dan's reputation from his years at CBS is deservedly stellar, and I knew from our first meeting that he possessed exactly the right combination of strategic thinking, steady leadership and grace under fire that this important role requires," Cassidy said Monday in a statement. "He's a spectacular executive, and I'm thrilled he said yes. I am also grateful to Howard, not only for being a wonderful partner these last several months but for helping to identify Dan as the perfect executive to take the reins of our business affairs team going forward."

Kupetz has headed business affairs at CBS TV Studios since 2004, first as a senior vp and then as executive vp since 2014. During his time there, he oversaw all above-the-line deals in connection with the studio's development and production of scripted series, including the NCIS and CSI franchises, Blue Bloods, Hawaii Five-0 and The Good Wife on the CBS broadcast network, as well as studio-produced shows for other outlets, including Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard and The Good Fight (CBS All Access); Jane the Virgin and Nancy Drew (The CW); and Netflix's Dead to Me and Unbelievable.

Kupetz previously worked as an attorney in legal affairs for Touchstone Television, the forerunner of ABC Studios.

"I am so proud of and grateful for the success I have been a part of over the past 20 years at CBS, and wholeheartedly thank Debby Barak and David Stapf for their guidance, support and collaboration," said Kupetz. "Though I will miss my wonderful colleagues at CBS, I am thrilled to join Carolyn's team at 20th and to work closely with Craig Hunegs on business strategy for Disney Television Studios. In my meetings with Carolyn and Craig, their energy and excitement for their work and the future at Disney were infectious. It's also a special honor to succeed Howard Kurtzman, who has been a mentor and friend since I started my career in the television business."

Kurtzman announced his retirement last Tuesday. "Those close to me know that I have been talking about stepping down for quite some time, and I am so grateful to Dana [Walden] and Craig for their generosity through this process," he wrote in a memo to staff. "This career has been an incredible ride — an E-ticket ride, in fact."

Kurtzman has served as president of business operations at 20th since 2014, partnered with creative affairs chief Jonnie Davis. When Davis was tapped to lead ABC Studios last year, Kurtzman was teamed with Cassidy. Her tenure as president of the studio will be the first time in years that 20th has had a single executive at the top.