The relationship between Dana Walden and John Landgraf has long been subject of corporate intrigue. The superstar TV executives had run on parallel tracks at Fox and continued to do so after they both made the transition to Disney following the 2019 acquisition until this past June. The shocking dismissal of Peter Rice, which was followed by Walden’s elevation to his post as Chairman of Disney General Entertainment, changed the dynamic between the two veteran executives, with one of them (Landgraf) reporting to the other (Walden) for the first time since Landgraf joined FX in 2004.
The move got tongues wagging in the Hollywood gossip-filled echo chamber. During the FX executive session at TCA today, Landgraf put any rumors about a potential discord to rest by offering effusive praise and equivocal support to Walden in his opening remarks
“Speaking of my good fortune to have such long and successful relationships, Dana Walden who many of you know very well, was recently promoted to Chairman of Disney General Entreatment, and she now oversees FX as part of her large portfolio of brands and studios,” FX Chairman Landgraf said as he acknowledged his longtime colleagues at FX. “I’m thrilled about Dana’s very well deserved promotion. She and I have been colleagues and friends for more than 23 years, from before my time at FX when I was running Jersey Television which had an overall deal with 20th where Dana was at that time president. “
“She is as outstanding an executive as I’ve ever worked with and a natural born leader,” Landgraf continued. “We have been creative partners on American Horror Story, American Crime Story, American Horror Stories, Feud, The Americans, Mayans, Fosse/Verdon, The Old Man and Sons Of Anarchy to name a few iconic shows. I know first hand just how exceptional she is at both the creative and business sides of her job, and I am genially excited that I and the FX team will now have Dana’s support and insight across all of the FX programming and marketing in her role.”
A widely recognized statesman of the TV business, Landgraf has always been less corporately minded and has been focused on the creative side of the FX brand, which has expanded in the past couple of years to include original programming for FX, FXX and Hulu.
He and Walden have been able to successfully co-exist, and relentless speculation about a potential rift early in the duo’s Disney tenures pretty much came to an end when both took on major content roles at Hulu in the past two years, with Walden overseeing Hulu originals and Landgraf shepherding FX-branded exclusive original content.