Advisory Board Chair
Group President, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Science Channel
Rich Ross serves as Group President of Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Science Channel and oversees all creative and brand strategy, development, production, marketing and day-to-day operations for all three networks. Ross is based in Los Angeles and reports to David Zaslav, President and CEO of Discovery Communications.
Ross earlier served as President of Discovery Channel. During his tenure, Discovery set records in a wide range of demos including millennials, core viewers, women, kids, and families, most recently in 2015 as Discovery delivered its best summer on record. Also in 2015, Ross led the network to its highest rated SHARK WEEK, its best second quarter during 2Q15 and its best quarter ever during 1Q15. NAKED AND AFRAID XL stands as the #1 unscripted freshman series on cable for 2015 to date.
Before joining Discovery, Ross served as CEO of Shine America, where he drove the ongoing commercial strategy of US operations. He oversaw all aspects of production, distribution and marketing of original programming across broadcast, cable and digital platforms, including such programs as MasterChef and MasterChef Junior (FOX) and Peabody Award-winning The Bridge (FX).
Prior to joining Shine America, Ross had a successful career at The Walt Disney Company from 1996 to 2012, most recently in the role as Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios from 2009-2012, where he oversaw worldwide production, distribution and marketing for the company’s range of live-action and feature-animated film labels, including Walt Disney, Disney-Pixar and Marvel, and worked with leading filmmakers and focused on branded content.
Earlier, Ross served as president of Disney Channels Worldwide from 2004-2009, where he managed the unprecedented growth and success of the company's global television and radio portfolio for kids, including six brands and more than 70 kids TV channels around the world. His focus was on creating top-quality content for global consumption by kids and families on multiple platforms; on expanding the business around the world; and strengthening franchise opportunities for other divisions at The Walt Disney Company. Under Ross's leadership, Disney Channel delivered basic cable TV's top two scripted telecasts of all time in Total Viewers and cable TV's top two telecasts ever among Kids 6-11 and Tweens (2007's High School Musical 2 and 2009's Wizards of Waverly Place The Movie -- the latter was finally unseated in 2014). A Disney Channel Original Movie was basic cable TV's #1 movie with Kids 6-11 and/or Tweens 9-14 from 2002-09. In addition, Ross launched a string of hit series that helped define a generation for kids and families including Lizzie McGuire, Even Stevens, That's So Raven, Hannah Montana, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, Wizards of Waverly Place, The Proud Family and Phineas and Ferb. Prior to his global role as president, Ross was Disney Channel president, entertainment from 2002-2004, General Manager and Executive Vice President, programming and production from 1999-2002, and Senior Vice President, programming and production, from 1996-1999.
Prior to his tenure at Disney, Ross was Senior Vice President, Development and Production for FX Networks from 1993-1996, where he was a member of the executive team that launched the cable network. Ross began his career at Nickelodeon, rising to the role of VP of Program Enterprises. He holds a JD from Fordham University and a bachelor of arts from the University of Pennsylvania. Among his industry and philanthropic affiliations, Ross serves on the Board of Trustees for AFI and on the Board of Directors of the Fulfillment Fund.
Speaking at: Opening Remarks