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In a sign of the growing need for intellectual property rights, Disney Television Studios has formed a creative acquisitions department.
Elizabeth Newman and Jordan Moblo have been elevated to oversee the new division, reporting directly to Disney TV president of entertainment Craig Hunegs. In their new roles, the duo will identify and secure rights to books, podcasts, news stories and other IP. They will connect creators and rights holders with ABC Signature and 20th TV’s roster of showrunners, writers, directors and talent in a bid to supply series for Disney’s portfolio, including ABC, Hulu, Freeform, FX, Disney+, NatGeo and other platforms.
“Now more than ever, securing compelling IP which captures the imagination of showrunners and consumers alike can be the start of a hit television series,” Hunegs said. “Elizabeth and Jordan are talented executives with impeccable creative taste and deep relationships with agents, publishers, authors and producers. Together, they will strategically serve up source material to our studios and platforms which will redound to the benefit of all of Walt Disney Television.”
Newman’s new title is vp creative acquisitions. She most recently served as vp development at Touchstone Television (the former Fox 21) that late last year was consolidated into 20th Television. The former TV lit agent at CAA was responsible for identifying talent and literary material for the studio. During her tenure as a development exec, Newman has worked with top showrunners on Hulu projects including Curtis Sittenfeld’s Rodham (being adapted at Hulu with Sarah Treem) and Dopesick.
Moblo, who will be director of creative acquisitions, previously was at 20th TV, where he secured rights and helped develop fiction, nonfiction, podcasts, theater, journalism, foreign formats and life rights for series adaptations. He most recently worked with Issac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger on Hulu’s Love, Victor, as well as Liz Meriwether and others while setting up projects including Hulu’s Action Park, Out There and ABC’s The Growing Season. The former CAA talent exec, a member of the California Bar Association, also spent time as a casting manager at 20th before he pivoted to development. He is well known in the book community for his influential Instagram account, @Jordys.Book.Club, which boasts more than 67,000 followers.
“We believe in the power of storytelling to change the world and hope to champion material that is as culturally impactful and timeless as it is entertaining,” Newman and Moblo said in a joint statement Friday. “We’re excited to advocate for distinctive source material and create opportunities for the studios’ talent to bring these stories to the screen.”
The division is the latest in a series of restructurings across the Disney executive ranks as the Mouse House looks, like others, to better position itself for the future.
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