Rich Ross, Chief Executive Officer
As the Chief Executive Officer for Shine America, Rich Ross is responsible for driving the ongoing commercial strategy of the Shine Group in the United States.
Ross, who was named to his current position in October 2012, oversees all aspects of Shine America’s production, distribution and marketing of original programming across broadcast, cable and digital platforms. Current Shine America programs include MasterChef and MasterChef Junior, The Biggest Loser, The Face, as well as The Bridge, and upcoming series Gracepoint and Utopia.
Prior to joining Shine America, Ross served as Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, where he oversaw worldwide production, distribution and marketing for the company's range of live-action and feature–animated film labels including: Walt Disney, Touchstone, Disney•Pixar and Marvel. In that role, which Ross held from October 2009 to April 2012, he also led Disney's theatrical and music groups. During his tenure at Walt Disney Studios, Ross worked with leading filmmakers and focused on branded content, overseeing the release of such hit films as Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides, Cars 2 and Alice in Wonderland, to name a few.
Prior to being named Chairman of TWDS, Ross served as president of Disney Channels Worldwide from 2004-2009, where he managed the unprecedented growth and success of the company's global kids' TV business, a total of 94 kid-driven, family-inclusive entertainment channels and/or channel feeds available in 163 countries in 32 languages. He was responsible for overseeing Disney Channel, Disney XD, Playhouse Disney, Disney Cinemagic, Jetix, Radio Disney and Disney XD brands. Under his leadership, the group developed a multi-platform strategy that included subscription video-on-demand and content-rich broadband websites DisneyXD.com and DisneyChannel.com – which ranks as the #1 kids' entertainment website among kids 6-14. Ross was also in charge of Radio Disney, which over the past decade, set the radio industry standard for kid and family content.
Prior to his global role as president, Ross was Disney Channel president, entertainment from 2002-2004, General Manager and Executive Vice President, programming and production from 1999-2002, and Senior Vice President, programming and production, from 1996-99.
Ross directed the development of the highly successful original programming block for kids ages 6-14, which delivered many global hit series such as "Hannah Montana," "Wizards of Waverly Place," "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody," "The Suite Life on Deck," "That's So Raven," "Phineas and Ferb," "The Proud Family," "Lizzie McGuire," and "Even Stevens." Among his numerous accomplishments, Ross built the hugely successful Disney Channel Original Movie franchise, which includes the international smash hit High School Musical. Its sequel, High School Musical 2, is the highest rated telecast in the history of cable television, posting 18.6 million total viewers.
Disney Channels Worldwide programming extends into other lines of business for The Walt Disney Company, including the double-platinum-selling "Hannah Montana" soundtrack, which made history as the first TV soundtrack to debut at #1 on the Billboard Top 200, and the quadruple-Platinum-selling High School Musical soundtrack, which was the #1 album of the 2006 in the U.S. High School Musical also made history as the first TV movie soundtrack to reach #1 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart and by entering the Billboard Hot 100 chart with an unprecedented nine songs.
Throughout his career, Ross has held senior level positions in all facets of cable television. Prior to his tenure at Disney Channels Worldwide, he was Senior Vice President, development and production for FX Networks from 1993-1996, where he was a member of the executive team that launched the cable network. Among his accomplishments was the critically acclaimed "Breakfast Time," which eventually migrated to the Fox broadcast network.
Before joining FX Networks, Ross was at Nickelodeon from 1986-93, where he served as Vice President of program enterprises and was involved in all original-programming deals, including those for co-production. In addition, he launched "Nick News" with Linda Ellerbee into syndication, Nickelodeon's first syndication success, and was a part of the launch team for Nickelodeon's first international network, Nickelodeon UK.
Ross also built the Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite talent relations department, overseeing network casting and talent booking, which included Nick hits such as "Clarissa Explains It All" and "Hey Dude." He served as executive producer of Nickelodeon's "Kids' Choice Awards," the first televised kid-voted award show.
A native of New York and a 1983 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and English, Ross received his J.D. degree from New York's Fordham University in 1986.