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Sharon Klein to Oversee Casting for Nearly Entire Disney TV Portfolio

The Hollywood Reporter logo The Hollywood Reporter 4/13/2021 Lesley Goldberg

Sharon Klein continues her Disney dominance.

The former Fox and 20th Television exec will now oversee casting for Disney’s entire television portfolio, adding to a purview that already included Disney TV Studios and FX.

In her new role as executive vp casting at Walt Disney Television, the Emmy-winner, who cast hits including Glee, Modern Family, This Is Us and Pose, will oversee casting teams at ABC Entertainment, 20th Television, ABC Signature, 20th TV Animation, Walt Disney TV Alternative, Hulu Originals and Freeform.

Klein will be responsible for casting all series and pilots, discovering talent for holding deals and spearheading casting and talent strategy for each division of Walt Disney Television. She continues to report to Craig Hunegs, president of entertainment at Walt Disney Television. (Exec vp casting Michael Katcher — who previously reported to both Klein and FX’s Gina Balian and Nick Grad — will now oversee FX casting solo.)

“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 [Walden] and me personally,” Hunegs said. “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.”

Klein most recently served as exec vp casting for Disney TV Studios and FX Entertainment. She oversaw casting on Nat Geo’s Genius: Aretha, ABC’s Big Sky and Rebel, Hulu’s Little Fires Everywhere, FX on Hulu’s Mrs. America, Hulu’s upcoming Only Murders in the Building, The Dropout, FX’s The Old Man and Impeachment: American Crime Story as well as Disney+ series The Mysterious Benedict Society, Mighty Ducks: Game Changers and Big Shot.

“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.”

Before moving to Disney as part of the conglomerate’s $73 billion Fox acquisition, Klein spent two decades overseeing 20th TV casting, working on shows including American Crime Story, Fresh Off the Boat, 911, How I Met Your Mother, New Girl and Homeland. Before joining the studio, she won an Emmy for HBO mini From the Earth to the Moon while she served as an independent casting director.

Klein’s expanded responsibilities are the latest in a string of executive restructuring as Disney shifts from its longtime legacy structure in favor of centralized groups focused on content. In February, ABC’s Rob Mills was tapped to lead an unscripted division for Disney that also sees him have oversight of Hulu’s nonscripted originals, also reporting in to Hunegs on the studio side (and ABC/Hulu chief Craig Erwich for development and production). Similarly, Disney Channel’s Gary Marsh was tapped in November to lead a Disney Branded TV division. Last month, Disney created a TV animation division at 20th TV with Marci Proietto at the helm. The three units are part of a restructuring under Disney’s General Entertainment Content chairman Peter Rice, who is shifting the company’s longtime legacy structure in favor of centralized groups focused on content. This means execs including Klein, Proietto, Mills and Marsh will have their hands on content across Disney’s entire portfolio.

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