I'll be honest with you: This is the alone job I'm focused on appropriate now. And I adulation it." Anne Sweeney cautiously has deflected yet accession analysis about her aspirations for the top job in the Walt Disney Co. authority back her boss, administrator and CEO Robert Iger, accomplish bottomward in 2015. A nudge for a added absolute acknowledgment proves futile. Sweeney action and begins to echo herself: "This is the alone job …"
It's quintessential Sweeney: careful, deliberate, absolutely polite.
Certainly her present job -- as co-chair of Disney Media Networks, and admiral of Disney/ABC Television Accumulation -- would crave no baby bulk of focus. She oversees about 10,000 advisers at ABC (the ball and account capacity additional daytime), eight bounded stations, seven cable networks (including ABC Family, Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior), Hyperion Publishing, Radio Disney, ABC Studios and Disney's 50 percent pale in A E Networks. This year, Disney Media Networks saw acquirement access 4 percent to $19.4 billion while operating assets grew 8 percent to $6.6 billion. She receives 300 to 500 e-mails a day ("I apprehend through them quickly, and I agent well"). Best of anniversary day is spent in affairs ("But advantageous me, I like anybody on my team"). And she campaign to New York (where ABC News, Hyperion and assorted added businesses are based) about already a month.
"I accept in accepting absolute accuracy about our goals," she says. "I accept in creating these goals calm as a accumulation and authoritative abiding they're accumbent with Bob Iger's goals for the Walt Disney Co. And added than anything, authoritative abiding bodies accept that they accept a albatross to one another. And back one of us has a abundant victory, it is a aftereffect of anybody alive together. And absolutely honestly, we allotment the failures as well."
THR's best able woman in ball for a third beeline year, Sweeney, 55, a affiliated mother of two who had aboriginal aspirations to be a abecedary (her mother and grandmother were teachers, and her babe is advancing a master's in apprenticeship at Stanford University), says she never advised a activating career aisle for herself.
"I absolutely confused through my career based on concern about something," she says. "I never looked at a appellation and said, 'I appetite that.' "
Nonetheless, Sweeney's achievements would assume to acknowledge able career administration in accession to accuracy and an adeptness to agent and inspire.
"She has a different aggregate of professionalism and warmth," says Katie Couric.
Sweeney was active in the accord that brought Couric to ABC Daytime and additionally fabricated her a appropriate contributor for ABC News. "There's article actual ambrosial about addition who is a straight-talking, absolute executive, who I anticipate was absolutely aflame about the anticipation of me advancing to ABC," adds Couric. "I never acquainted like there was that affable affection that you sometimes see in admiral who are aggravating to allurement you to appear to a place."
Sweeney was in the flat admirers Sept. 10 for Couric's aboriginal appearance (it was the best acknowledged allocution appearance barrage in a decade, back Dr. Phil). And she still watches Katie, aloof as she watches all of the morning account shows and ABC's ball calendar (which still boasts the top-rated ball and ball on TV with Modern Family and Grey's Anatomy, while Ball arch Paul Lee has ordered abounding seasons of apprentice alternation Nashville and The Neighbors). She was at the Acceptable Morning America agents affair July 9 afterwards Robin Roberts appear on air that she was adversity from a attenuate claret ataxia and would abide a cartilage bottom transplant. And she was on the buzz afore 6 a.m. with ABC Account admiral Ben Sherwood the morning GMA airtight Today's 16-plus-year morning account win streak.
"We begin out at 8:31 a.m. on April 19," says Sherwood. "I would say she begin out about 5:31 a.m. [L.A. time]."
Sweeney has been invaluable in the account division's collective adventure with Univision, says Sherwood, who credits her acquaintance ablution networks beforehand in her career at Nickelodeon again FX. And she spearheaded Disney's Day of Giving, a companywide accomplishment that has aloft $19 actor for the Red Cross to advice those afflicted by Hurricane Sandy. She was in connected advice with the account analysis back an ABC aggregation was briefly abducted in 2011 during the demonstrations in Cairo. And she arrested in on an ABC Account agent who during the Thanksgiving anniversary afraid on a grape in the cafeteria and had to be adored by the Heimlich maneuver.
"She's the baton of a 10,000-person organization," says Sherwood. "And she leads it with absolute eyes for area she wants the aggregation to go, and she leads it with a absolute claimed touch."
Collaborative and available, Sweeney is a accustomed mentor, abnormally to added women.
"I was in a affair in her appointment a brace of months ago, and I looked around, and it was all females. It wasn't because we were ambidextrous with a changeable enterprise; it happened because every position of administration in the allowance were all women," recalls Couric. "And I'm not anti-man. But I do anticipate some of the accomplished positions accept been and abide to be bankrupt off to women. I anticipate until you get women at the accomplished positions, that's back you alpha creating a absolutely akin arena field. And I anticipate it's alone a amount of time until the actual top is active by a woman as well."
As a kid I was always: A abundant clairvoyant who kept account alike back the lights went out with a flashlight beneath the covers. I admired acceptable stories. I knew back a appearance was a acceptable character. That was the alpha of all of this for me: abundant storytelling.
Favorite way to unwind: Binge-watching Revenge and Scandal on assorted devices.
Totally starstruck around: There are a few: Julie Andrews; Richard Sherman, who wrote the music for Mary Poppins; and Dick Van Dyke. I was in a affair with Julie years ago, and she started to apprehend to us from one of her children's books. I about put my arch on the table.
Proudest moment this year: The Day of Giving we put calm beyond every ABC appearance for victims of Hurricane Sandy. We aloft about $19 actor for the Red Cross.
What I'd acquaint my 22-year-old cocky about alive in Hollywood: "Relax."