Disney Logo22ND UPDATE: We had the exclusive from our insiders 45 minutes before Disney hurried out a news release (see below). Last night, we both heard that Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production President Oren Aviv was being fired because Disney had “someone in mind” to replace him at the ready. But then that fell through when the candidate couldn’t get out of a contract and didn’t take the job. Now lots of names are swirling, and one being floated is long-time Disney Channel Head of Production Susette Hsiung. “[Walt Disney Studios Chairman] Rich Ross totally depends on her and they’ve worked together for 12 years. And she gets the global market having been a VP of Production at MTV Asia before Disney,” one of my sources says.

If that’s the case, then Ross is moving quickly to put his own team in place. Aviv’s ouster is the other shoe dropping from the Dick Cook firings. It’s certainly not unexpected; rumors began to swirl that the Cook loyalist’s top status would change the moment Dick was shown the door as Walt Disney Studios Chairman and replaced by Rich Ross. When Ross first came aboard, it was announced that Aviv would take on the added responsibility of Physical Production.

Here’s the Disney news release:

Today, Oren Aviv announced that he is
Avis said, “As of today, I’m stepping down from my position as president of Production, Walt Disney Studios. I have loved every day that I have been at the studio and feel incredibly privileged to have been part of a team that enriched my life for 20 years.

I will miss all the amazing filmmakers, the many talented actors and most importantly the lifelong friends I’ve been so lucky to work with throughout my Disney career.

I’m proud of the hundreds of movies I’ve helped to make and market, especially the studio’s upcoming films, from Alice in Wonderland and Prince of Persia to The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Tron. All have been extremely rewarding creative and personal endeavors for me, and have allowed me to work with the best group of executives and staff in the business.

I wish Disney, Bob Iger, Rich Ross and their new teams great success for many years to come.“

Rich Ross, chairman, The Walt Disney Studios stated, “Oren’s significant contributions to The Walt Disney Studios are well-documented and countless movie-goers have been entertained by his diverse portfolio of films,” said The Walt Disney Studios Chairman, Rich Ross. “We appreciate his work and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

A successor will be named at an appropriate time.