ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., January 10, 2006---Michael D. Eisner, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Co., has joined CNBC, the world leader in business news, as the host of a new bi-monthly primetime interview program, “Conversations With Michael Eisner,” it was announced today by Mark Hoffman, President, CNBC.
“Conversations With Michael Eisner,” will feature 60 minutes of freewheeling and probing dialogue conducted by one of the most dynamic and accomplished leaders in business. Unlike any other interview program on television, “Conversations With Michael Eisner” will focus on the importance of creativity and innovation in all pursuits, from business to politics to entertainment. Throughout his remarkable career, Eisner has been the embodiment of the true “creative executive” and, as such, will explore with, among others, other entrepreneurial leaders how to recognize, nurture and develop great ideas and fresh talent. The program will be seen worldwide on CNBC, CNBC Europe and CNBC Asia. The premiere airdate will be announced shortly.
The program will originate from Studio 8-H at NBC Universal headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, where a very young Michael Eisner worked as a page.
“We are so proud that Michael will be joining our team,” said Hoffman. “Our affluent audience, which includes business executives, financial professionals, investors and other well-educated individuals, expects CNBC to give them access to the top business and political leaders of the day and provide them with perspective and insight that they cannot get anywhere else. Today’s announcement reinforces our commitment to that promise and I know that Michael’s unique point of view and the guests that he assembles will be compelling, informative and highly entertaining.”
“I can think of no better place for my first new venture than CNBC, which itself is an innovative leader in the ever-changing media world,” Eisner said. “I am very excited that in my 'circle of life,' I am returning to the same NBC studio where I was a page for the ‘Tonight Show with Johnny Carson’ in the 1960s.
“When my wife suggested the ‘What's Next’ campaign for Disney in the 80s, I never thought that I would be able to ask, ‘Now that I've had the greatest and most satisfying 21 years running Disney, what would I possibly do next?’ My answer, of course, is not only am I going back to Disneyland with my kids, but also I'm going back to NBC.”
Eisner is no stranger to the one-on-one interview format. He was a guest host on public television’s “Charlie Rose” program on October 7, 2005 when he interviewed media executive Barry Diller and actor John Travolta.
In addition to hosting the program, Eisner will serve as an Executive Producer of “Conversations With Michael Eisner.”
For more than four decades, Michael Eisner has been a leader in the entertainment industry, helping to shape this key area of the American economy.
He began his career at ABC, where he rose to senior vice president of prime time production and development, taking the network from number three to number one in daytime television, children’s television and prime time television with landmark prime time shows and mini-series, including Happy Days; Barney Miller; Rich Man, Poor Man; and Roots.
In 1976, Eisner became president of Paramount Pictures, leading the studio to become number one in box office and profitability, with such films as Raiders of the Lost Ark, Saturday Night Fever, Grease, Ordinary People, and Terms of Endearment.
In 1984, Eisner assumed his position as chairman and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company, and immediately implemented a number of successful growth strategies.
At the theme parks, attendance and revenues climbed due to popular new attractions, the addition of 80 buildings designed by world-class architects, including new hotels with more than 30,000 rooms, and an entire new theme park, The Disney/MGM Studios. The Disney Studios shot from last place to first with live-action films such as Down and Out in Beverly Hills; Three Men and a Baby; Good Morning, Vietnam; and Dead Poets Society, and continued its winning ways with hits like Pretty Woman, Father of the Bride, Sister Act, The Rock, Armageddon, Remember the Titans, Pearl Harbor, The Princess Diaries, The Rookie, Signs, Sweet Home Alabama, Bringing Down the House,Pirates of the Caribbean, National Treasure and, most recently, The Chronicles of Narnia.
Renewed efforts at Disney animation resulted in such fiscally and creatively successful films as Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Little Mermaid, Beauty & the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Mulan, Tarzan, Dinosaur, Monsters, Inc., Lilo & Stitch, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles.
Disney created the Touchstone Television division, which has produced such hit shows as Home Improvement, Golden Girls, Lost, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and Desperate Housewives.
Under Michael’s leadership, Disney opened Disneyland Paris; expanded the Walt Disney theme parks; acquired Capital Cities/ABC, which included the ABC television network and equity ownership in ESPN, The History Channel, Lifetime, A&E, and E!; developed such leading Internet sites as Disney.com, ESPN.com, ABCNews.com, ABC.com, and Family.com; acquired Miramax Pictures; created Walt Disney Theatrical, which produced Beauty & the Beast, Aida,The Lion King and Mary Poppins; developed the Disney Cruise Line; and acquired the Fox Family Channel (now ABC Family). In September, the 11th Disney theme park opened in the world’s most populous nation – Hong Kong Disneyland.
Under Eisner’s leadership, revenue at The Walt Disney Co. rose to $32 billion in 2005 compared with $1.5 billion in 1984. Operating Income rose to $4.7 billion in 2005 from $291 million in 1984. Disney stock closed on Jan. 9, 2006 at $25, compared with $1.33 in September 1984. The enterprise value as of August 17, 2005 was $63.2 billion, compared with $2.8 billion in 1984.
Eisner is the author of two books, Work in Progress, which he wrote with Tony Schwartz about his involvement in the entertainment industry, and Camp, about the life lessons learned during his formative years at Keywaydin summer camp in Vermont.
Born March 7, 1942 in New York, he graduated from The Lawrenceville School in 1960 and Denison University in 1964 with a B.A. in English literature and theater. He serves on the boards of California Institute of the Arts, Denison University, American Hospital of Paris Foundation, the Aspen Institute, and is a member of The Business Council. He has established and funded The Eisner Foundation, a philanthropic organization headed by his wife, Jane.
He and Jane have three sons, Breck, Eric, and Anders.About CNBC
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