Veteran casting director and executive Sharon Klein has been named EVP of Casting, Walt Disney Television. In the new, expanded role, she will lead the casting teams of ABC Entertainment, 20th Television, ABC Signature, 20th Television Animation, Walt Disney Television Alternative, Hulu Originals and Freeform. Klein will be responsible for the casting of all series and pilots and identifying talent for holding deals across all entities under her purview.
Klein, who signed a new multi-year contract with Disney as part of the promotion, was most recently EVP, Casting for Disney Television Studios and FX Entertainment, overseeing casting for 20th Television, Touchstone Television (now part of 20th TV), ABC Signature, FX and FX Productions.
Her new responsibilities reflect the recent major restructuring of Disney’s TV operations where Hulu and ABC were put under the same top programming executive, Craig Erwich, and a new Disney Branded Television unit was created, with former ABC head of casting Ayo Davis tapped as Head of Creative Development. Going forward, FX Entertainment casting will be solely the responsibility of EVP, Casting Michael Katcher, who formerly had a dual report to Klein and FX’s Gina Balian and Nick Grad.
“Sharon is a spectacular casting executive with taste, strategic thinking and insight to spare; and in many ways she is a not-so-secret weapon to our executives, our producers, and to Dana and me personally,” commented Craig Hunegs, president of Entertainment, Walt Disney Television. “Her track record is no accident — when you have Sharon at the helm of your talent search, you are guaranteed to assemble a best-in-class ensemble of actors. Her expanded portfolio is a win for all involved.”
In her previous role as EVP, Casting, Disney Television Studios and FX Entertainment, Klein oversaw casting on such recent series as Genius: Aretha, Big Sky, Rebel, Little Fires Everywhere, Mighty Ducks: Game Changers and Mrs. America; as well as the upcoming Only Murders in the Building and The Dropout for Hulu; The Old Man and Impeachment: American Crime Story for FX; and The Mysterious Benedict Society and Big Shot for Disney+.
A longtime close associate of Walt Disney Television Chairman Dana Walden, Klein has led 20th Century Fox TV’s casting team for more than two decades, assembling the acting ensembles of 9-1-1 and 9-1-1: Lone Star, Fosse/Verdon, Empire, This is Us, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, Pose, Single Parents, The People V. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story, Modern Family, Glee, How I Met Your Mother, New Girl, and Homeland, among dozens of other series.
Prior to joining the studio, Klein served as an independent casting director and won an Emmy for casting the HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon.
“I’ve been a longtime viewer and fan of the programming at ABC, Hulu Originals and Freeform so the chance to work with Craig Erwich, Tara Duncan, and Rob Mills and their talented teams directly was incredibly appealing,” Klein said. “And I’m excited to continue the successful collaboration with Jonnie Davis, Karey Burke and Marci Proietto on their projects. I cannot thank Craig Hunegs and Dana Walden enough for their support and votes of confidence. I will be the first to tell you that casting is a team effort, and I owe a tremendous debt to my casting partners and, of course, the producers who deliver such brilliant material.”
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