9:00am PT by Kimberly Nordyke
Disney Channel Promotes Programming Exec Joe D'Ambrosia to General Manager
Joe D'Ambrosia has been promoted to general manager at Disney Junior.
D'Ambrosia, who most recently was senior vp original programming at the preschooler brand, will now oversee all extensions of the Disney Junior experience on- and offscreen. He'll also continue to be responsible for all development and production of Disney's original programming content for kids two to seven, as well as acquisitions for the preschooler demo.
D'Ambrosia joined Disney in 2011 and is credited with playing a key role in Disney Junior's success as the top-preschooler network for the past six years. In 2018, he led the development of a live tour, Disney Junior Dance Party on Tour, the first of its kind for the brand.
He'll continue to report to Nancy Kanter, executive vp content and creative strategy at Disney Channels Worldwide, who previously held the title.
"It's more important than ever that the people we have leading our creative and strategic content development are the best in the business and that they are empowered to seek out the most exciting talent and innovative storytelling," Kanter said in announcing the promotion. "Joe has been integral in growing the Disney Junior brand and establishing our position as the No. 1 preschool network. His impeccable instincts for story and character along with a genuine interest in impacting the lives of young children make him the perfect person for me to hand over the reins and lead us into the next stage for Disney Junior."
In addition, Kanter unveiled a "realignment" in the animation development department under Meredith Roberts, senior vp animation strategy. Emily Hart, Shane Prigmore and Alyssa Sapire will lead the development of animated programming for Disney Channel, Disney Junior and the upcoming Disney+ platforms.
Hart, vp original programming, will lead development on Disney animated content for kids six to 11. She joined Disney in 2003 and oversaw Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Fancy Nancy, The Lion Guard, The 7D, Miles From Tomorrowland and Jake and the Never Land Pirates.
Sapire, also vp original programming, will spearhead Disney animated content for kids two to five. She joined Disney Junior in 2016 and shepherded shows including Muppet Babies and Vampirina and the upcoming Monsters, Inc. series.
Prigmore, vp creative and artistic development, will lead creative development across animated programming for both kids two to five and kids six to 11 demographics. He joined Disney in 2014 to develop and serve as co-executive producer on Tangled: The Series before moving into the role of vp creative, shepherding shows including DuckTales and the upcoming Amphibia.
In addition, as part of Disney's commitment to diverse programming and learning-focused content, Vicki Ariyasu has been appointed vp educational resource group, and diversity and inclusion, at Disney Channels. Ariyasu, who joined the company in 2013, led the formation of the Disney Junior Educational Resource Group to ensure all content incorporates the best practices in early childhood education and development and helped establish the Disney Junior Advisory Board, a council of prominent academics that further guides Disney Junior's curriculum. She will report to Kanter.
"Emily, Alyssa and Shane share a genuine commitment to outstanding storytelling and they're each widely regarded by the creative community," Kanter said. "Vicki is a trusted resource who we will rely on to ensure our programming continues to reflect and accurately depict our diverse world. With these leaders and their teams in place I am excited to move into the next phase of our business and content development."