Rich Ross is president of Discovery Channel. Based in the company’s LA office, Ross oversees creative and brand strategy, development, production, marketing and all day-to-day operations for the network. He reports to David Zaslav, President and CEO of Discovery Communications.
Ross joins Discovery from Shine America, where in his role as CEO since 2013, he drove the ongoing commercial strategy of Shine Group’s US operations. He oversaw all aspects of Shine America’s production, distribution and marketing of original programming across broadcast, cable and digital platforms, including such programs as MasterChef and MasterChef Junior (FOX), The Biggest Loser (NBC), The Face (Oxygen), Restaurant Startup (CNBC), Fake-Off (TruTV) and Peabody Award-winning The Bridge (FX), Gracepoint (FOX) and the upcoming drama Utopia (HBO).
Prior to joining Shine America, Ross had a successful career at The Walt Disney Company from 1996 to 2012, most recently in the role as Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios from 2009-2012, where he oversaw worldwide production, distribution and marketing for the company’s range of live-action and feature-animated film labels, including Walt Disney, Disney-Pixar and Marvel, and worked with leading filmmakers and focused on branded content. Previously, Ross served as president of Disney Channels Worldwide from 2004-2009, where he managed the unprecedented growth and success of the company's global television and radio portfolio for kids, including six brands and more than 70 kids TV channels around the world. His focus was on creating top-quality content for global consumption by kids and families on multiple platforms; on expanding the business around the world; and strengthening franchise opportunities for other divisions at The Walt Disney Company. Under Ross's leadership, Disney Channel delivered basic cable TV's top two scripted telecasts of all time in Total Viewers and cable TV's top two telecasts ever among Kids 6-11 and Tweens (2007's High School Musical 2" and 2009's "Wizards of Waverly Place The Movie" -- the latter was finally unseated in 2014). A Disney Channel Original Movie was basic cable TV's #1 movie with Kids 6-11 and/or Tweens 9-14 from 2002-09. In addition, Ross launched a string of hit series that helped define a generation for kids and families including "Lizzie McGuire," "Even Stevens," "That's So Raven," "Hannah Montana," "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody," "Wizards of Waverly Place," "The Proud Family" and "Phineas and Ferb." 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 1996-1999.
Prior to his tenure at Disney, Ross 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. Ross began his career at Nickelodeon, rising to the role of VP of Program Enterprises. He holds a JD from Fordham University and a bachelor of arts from the University of Pennsylvania. Among his industry and philanthropic affiliations, Ross serves on the Board of Trustees for AFI and on the Board of Directors of the Fulfillment Fund.
Speaking on: In Conversation With Rich Ross, President, Discovery Channel