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Disney+ has lost a key member of its unscripted team.
Dan Silver, who has spent the past year as vp nonfiction originals at the streamer, has departed the Mouse House for a job at rival Netflix. Silver will serve as director of documentary feature films at Netflix and report to Lisa Nishimura, vp independent film and documentary features.
The move comes after Silver spearheaded development on Disney+ unscripted fare including the critically acclaimed The Imagineering Story, Howard, Encore, Muppets Now, Marvel’s 616 and the upcoming On Pointe in his role overseeing all of the streamer’s documentaries, docuseries, unscripted formats and specials.
Silver had deep roots at Disney and, before moving to the streamer, previously headed platforms and content/new media at Marvel Entertainment, where he also oversaw nonfiction content including Marvel Live! Eat the Universe and the podcast Wolverine: The Long Night. Before Marvel, Silver was an exec producer at ABC News Digital and spent time as a senior director of development at ESPN Films, where he worked on 30 for 30 and exec produces feature The Queen of Katwe.
Nishimura oversees independent films, documentary features and documentary shorts. Since 2016, Netflix docs have won an Oscar ever year, with wins for American Factory, Period. End of Sentence, Icarus and The White Helmets. Recent Netflix documentary features include Athlete A, Becoming, Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado, Crip Camp, Dick Johnson is Dead, Blackpink: Light Up the Sky, My Octopus Teacher, David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet, The Social Dilemma and American Murder: The Family Next Door.
Sources say Silver opted to leave Disney in the midst of the conglomerate’s massive reorganization. It’s unclear if Disney will replace his role. In the past few months, Silver went from reporting to Disney+ content chief Agnes Chu, and, following her July departure, answered to content president Ricky Strauss. That changed this month when Disney entertainment content chief Peter Rice reorganized his division and gave Disney Channel president Gary Marsh a considerably larger purview as chief creative officer of Disney Branded TV. Marsh then tapped longtime casting exec Ayo Davis in the newly created position of exec vp creative development and strategy at the recently launched Disney Branded Television department. Silver went from reporting to Strauss to Marsh and then Davis.
Disney and Netflix have a complicated history. The streaming giant has found itself battling legal disputes over exec poaching at both Disney and Fox.
More than 100 staffers were laid off this week at Disney as part of the TV side’s latest reorganization.
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