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The repeat honor is no fluke, as the married mother of two helped bring Disney Media Networks revenue to $18.7 billion in 2011 — a 9 percent increase — in addition to spearheading partnerships between ABC News and Yahoo; Canada’s ABC Spark, the Disney Television Group’s first international millennial channel; ABC On Demand; and a multiyear deal to bring Katie Couric to ABC in 2012 with nationally syndicated talk show, already sold to more than 80 percent of U.S. TV households.
Asked whether it was a surprise to be named No. 1 for a third consecutive year, Sweeney told THR, “I’m always surprised, but it really is a measure of how well the Walt Disney Company has done and the contributions of a very, very large team. We had a banner year. We did extraordinary things. We have great shows on the air across all of our networks, so in a lot of ways our performance really determines our place on this list.”
Sweeney is trailed by Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chairman Amy Pascal and NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment chairman Bonnie Hammer, tied for second place this year. While THR’s 20th annual ranking honors the industry’s leading ladies, Sweeney had a bit of advice for industry hopefuls of both genders.
“I think the must have power qualities for a female or male power leader are really the ability to focus, to work hard, to be extremely goal oriented and to not let the noise and the nonsense interfere with your mission — what you really feel you want to do with your career and your life,” she said on the red carpet. “Don’t do it unless you love it. It just isn’t worth the time. And once you figure out what you love, just commit to it and go a million miles an hour.”
The coming year looks to bring even more challenges and successes for Sweeney, who admits she’s most excited to expand the company’s reach in the digital realm.
“I’m excited about everything that we’re doing in the digital space, how we’re reaching our viewers and our customers, our consumers in the future. That thrills me to no end,” she said. “I’m so excited about a lot of the great creative product on Disney Channel and ABC family and ABC this year, the upcoming launch of Disney Junior. We have a lot to look forward to!”
Watch THR’s complete interview with Sweeney in the clip above. Click here to read the full Women in Entertainment Power 100 list.
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