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Disney+ VP Dan Silver joins rival Netflix to become director of documentary feature films

Dan Silver, Vice President of unscripted originals at Disney+ has left to accept a position at Netflix. Pictured: Silver in Hollywood, California, October 2019

A Disney+ vice resident has left the streaming platform for a position at its largest rival.

Dan Silver, vice president of nonfiction originals, has been hired as director of documentary feature films at Netflix, an exclusive report from The Hollywood Reporter reveals.

Silver had spent the past year at Disney fronting projects such as Muppets Now and The Imagineering Story.

Sources told the website that Silver left due to the company’s huge reorganization that led to more than 100 layoffs this week.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Silver started his career at ABC News, which is owned by Disney, where he eventually rose through the ranks to become an executive producer.

He then transitioned to senior director of development at ESPN Films, also owned by Disney, working on the 30 for 30 documentary series. 

Silver was then hired to be in charge of nonfiction content at Marvel Entertainment, spearheading projects such as Marvel Live! Eat the Universe, before moving on to Disney+.

However, Silver’s tenure at the company has been interspersed with several departures, changing whom he reported to constantly.

In July, Disney+ content chief Agnes Chu left to head up Condé Nast Entertainment, with Silver reporting to content president Ricky Strauss. 

Then, a few days ago, that changed when Disney entertainment content chief Peter Rice did a reorganization and Disney Channel president Gary Marsh became chief creative officer of Disney Branded Television, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

March then created position of Executive Vice President of Creative Development and Strategy, and hired Disney casting executive Ayo Davis.

This means over the last four days, Silver reported to Strauss, then Marsh and finally Davis.

In his new role at Netflix, he will be reporting to Lisa Nishimura, Vice President of Independent Film and Documentary Features.

She has overseen projects such as American Factory, Period, End of Sentence, Icarus and The White Helmets, all of which have won Oscars.

Silver, who oversaw projects such as Muppets Now and The Imagineering Project, is now director of documentary feature films at Netflix

Silver, who oversaw projects such as Muppets Now and The Imagineering Project, is now director of documentary feature films at Netflix

It comes as Disney laid off more than 100 staffers on Thursday during a massive reorganization of its television side to focus on streaming

It comes as Disney laid off more than 100 staffers on Thursday during a massive reorganization of its television side to focus on streaming

Other recent Netflix documentaries that have received critical acclaim include American Murder: The Family Next Door, Blackpink: Light Up the Sky, Dick Johnson is Dead, and The Social Dilemma.

It is unclear if Silver’s role at Disney+ will be replaced.  

Netflix and Disney have a long-standing rivalry since September 2016, when Disney-owned Fox alleged the streaming platform had illegally poached two executives.

Netflix counter-sued and proclaimed Fox had engaged in unlawful and anti-competitive business practices.  

After Disney+ launched, Disney-owned content including movies and films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, according to Deadline.

Additionally, Disney underwent a massive reorganization of its television side to focus on streaming.

The Hollywood Reporter says head of the General Entertainment Content unit Peter Rice centralized departments such as marketing, publicity, scheduling and media planning into three groups run by the heads of Hulu, Disney+ and Netflix.

It means certain networks, such as ABC and Freeform, no longer had departments just dedicated to them.

Additionally, more than 100 staffers were laid off from the General Entertainment Content unit and Walt Disney Television division, which includes ABC News, on Thursday. 

However, it’s not the only platform to make ground-breaking news this week.

On Thursday, Warner Bros announced it would be releasing all of its movies in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously for 2021.


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