EXCLUSIVE: Marc Buhaj, most recently SVP, Programming, and general manager, Disney XD, has been named VP, Unscripted Series and Specials, Disney Branded Television. He will oversee a nonfiction portfolio spanning documentaries and docu-series, unscripted formats, variety and specials for Disney+, and unscripted series and specials for Disney Channels. Buhaj will report to Ayo Davis, EVP, Creative Development and Strategy, Disney Branded Television.
Buhaj, a 14-year Disney veteran, fills the void left by the departure of Dan Silver, Disney+ VP of Nonfiction Originals, who left in December for a job at Netflix. The position, which will be now held by Buhaj, was broadened out in the November restructuring. Also a part of that realignment, the management of Disney XD was moved to Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution. The new appointment keeps Buhaj on the Content Creation side of the company.
This marks the second key programming executive hire for Davis since she took the creative reins of Disney Branded Television, following the appointment of 20th Television’s SVP Current Programming Reena Singh as SVP Development and Current Series.
“Marc will align our great strengths to support our great opportunities – he is an intuitive leader and strategic thinker with a deep appreciation for creative storytelling, and he now gains a highly effective team with complementary strengths,” Davis said. “His knowledge of the most effective ways to reflect and extend our core brands makes him ideally suited to propel their work and meet the needs of our viewers who want quality, innovative and appealing programs wherever they are watching our content.”
Reporting to Buhaj for Disney+ general audience content development are Nicole Silveira, director, Unscripted Formats; Marjon Javadi, director, Documentaries and Docu-series; Meghan de Boer, director, Variety and Specials; and Jordan Gilbert, director, Short-Form. He will also expand the unscripted development efforts for kids and families to deliver more original content on Disney Channels and as such, Claire McCabe, VP, Alternative Programming, will also report to him.
“I’m excited by the opportunity to work with this talented team to realize the full potential of unscripted storytelling for Disney+ and Disney Channels,” Buhaj said. “The development slate is deep, and we will continue to actively innovate and evolve the genre. Disney+ is the home of the most ambitious unscripted content with family, community and optimism at its core. We look forward to partnering with incredible storytellers around the world to inspire and delight new viewers, as well as fans of our premium brands.”
In his recent role as SVP, Programming, and general manager, Disney XD, Buhaj was immersed in unscripted e-gaming content for Disney XD in conjunction with ESPN. He previously led International Original Series and Co-Productions for Disney Television Animation. He also served as VP, Original Programming, Disney Channels, Europe, Middle East and Africa, overseeing Disney’s London-based production hub. He joined Disney in 2007 as SVP, Programming, Jetix Europe, after serving as VP, Programming and Scheduling for Cartoon Network and Boomerang in the U.S., and as executive director, Programming and Acquisitions, for Turner Entertainment Networks in Asia. Earlier in his career, he worked for the Seven Network in his native Australia.