EXCLUSIVE: Adam Bonnett, EVP, Original Programming, Disney Channels Worldwide, is leaving the cable network after 21 years to become a producer. He made the announcement to his team this afternoon. Bonnett, who will depart next month, has been overseeing all live action development and current original series and movies for Disney Channel and Disney XD as well as casting and talent relations for those channels. A replacement is expected to be named in the coming weeks.
“The demand for programming content across many platforms is at an all-time high so this is the right time for me to explore producing opportunities, something I’ve dreamt about forever,” Bonnett said. “I’m lucky to have had the benefit of a fulfilling career at Disney Channel working with many amazingly talented people. As I transition to an exciting new career chapter, it’s with unending gratitude to my longtime mentor Gary Marsh as well as Nancy Kanter for both their inspiring leadership and friendship throughout the years.”
Bonnett joined Disney Channel in 1997 and over the past 21 years, he developed such hit series as the Emmy Award-winning Wizards Of Waverly Place, blockbuster Hannah Montana, Good Luck Charlie, The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody, The Suite Life On Deck, Sonny With A Chance, That’s So Raven, Lizzie McGuire, Even Stevens and the animated shows The Proud Family and Kim Possible. He also was responsible for the development and oversight of such other popular series for kids and tweens as Andi Mack, Raven’s Home, K.C. Undercover, Stuck in the Middle, BUNK’D, Bizaardvark and Lab Rats.
“Adam’s own well-developed sense of humor and his exceptional understanding of what makes kids laugh has helped Disney Channel deliver decades of entertaining and iconic shows,” said Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer, Disney Channels Worldwide. “But it’s his compassion and humanity that has helped us deliver these same stories with heart. We’re truly going to miss him and look forward to being first in line to work with him as a producer.”
For the past 8 years, Bonnett also oversaw the Disney Channel Original Movie franchise which delivered six of the Top 7 original cable movies ever with more than 100 titles. He’s responsible for the #1 and #2 cable TV movies in total viewers of 2015, Descendants and Teen Beach 2, respectively. Descendants also ranks as fifth highest-rated original movie ever on U.S. cable TV in total viewers, and its sequel, Descendants 2, was watched by 21 million Total Viewers when it premiered with an unprecedented simultaneous premiere across ABC, Disney Channel, Disney XD, Freeform, Lifetime and Lifetime Movies in July 2017.
Bonnett was promoted to his current EVP post in 2013 and previously served as SVP original programming for Disney Channel.
Year to-date, the Disney Channel original movie Zombies is the #1 original movie on all cable TV among Kids and Tweens, and Andi Mack is the #1 series on all cable TV among Girls 6-14.
“Over the last 18 months as Adam and I have had a chance to work closely together I have learned more than I could have ever imagined about how to make smart, funny and heartfelt television for kids,” said Nancy Kanter, EVP, content and creative strategy, Disney Channels Worldwide, and general manager, Disney Junior Worldwide. “He has been a guiding light and fount of truly limitless inspiration and knowledge. I look forward to continuing to have the opportunity to tap into his imagination for a long time to come.”