Disney Junior Joe D'Ambrosia

Disney made some staffing moves and realignments across Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, and the forthcoming Disney+ streaming platform. The appointments were made official by Nancy Kanter, executive vice president, content and creative strategy, Disney Channels Worldwide.

Joe D’Ambrosia (pictured top) was promoted to general manager, Disney Junior, expanding upon his current role of senior vice president, original programming. He will now oversee all extensions of the Disney Junior experience — on and off screen — and will continue to be responsible for all development and production of Disney’s original programming content for kids ages 2 to 7. He will also remain responsible for acquiring preschool content. He recently led the development of Disney Junior Dance Party On Tour.

Animated Programming Development:

Some key roles under the leadership of Meredith Roberts, senior vice president, animation strategy were realigned. Emily Hart, Shane Prigmore, and Alyssa Sapire will lead the development of animated programming.

  • Emily Hart, vice president, original programming, will lead development on Disney animated content for kids ages 6 to 11. Hart joined Disney in 2003 and oversaw the Emmy Award-nominated Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Fancy Nancy, The Lion Guard, The 7D, Miles from Tomorrowland, and Jake and the Never Land Pirates. She will report to Roberts.
  • Alyssa Sapire, vice president, original programming, will spearhead Disney animated content for kids ages 2 to 5. Recent projects include Muppet Babies and Vampirina and the upcoming Monsters Inc. series. Prior to Disney, she was vice president, development and programming for FremantleMedia Kids & Family Group. She will report to D’Ambrosia and work closely with Roberts.
  • Shane Prigmore, vice president, creative and artistic development, will lead creative development across animated programming for two demographics — kids ages 2 to 5 and 6 to 11. The Annie Award winner joined Disney in 2014 to develop and serve as co-executive producer on Tangled: The Series. Following a move into the role of vice president, creative, projects included DuckTales and the upcoming Amphibia. His theatrical credits include The Iron Giant, The LEGO Movie, How to Train Your Dragon, and Coraline. He will report to Roberts.

Educational Resource Group, and Diversity and Inclusion, Disney Channels

Vicki Ariyasu was appointed vice president. She led the formation of the Disney Junior Educational Resource Group to ensure all content incorporates the best practices in early childhood education and development. She also helped establish the Disney Junior Advisory Board, a council of prominent academics that further guides Disney Junior’s curriculum. She will continue to report to Kanter.

Photo Credit: Disney Channel/Bob D’Amico

About the author

James Zahn

James Zahn

James Zahn, AKA The Rock Father, is Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book, a Senior Editor at The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider, and Editor of The Toy Report, The Toy Book‘s weekly industry newsletter. As a pop culture and toy industry expert, Zahn has appeared as a panelist and guest at events including Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) Wizard World Chicago, and the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Zahn has more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment, retail, and publishing industries, and is frequently called upon to offer expert commentary for publications such as Forbes, Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, the Washington Post, and more. James has appeared on History Channel’s Modern Marvels, was interviewed by Larry King and Anderson Cooper, and has been seen on Yahoo! Finance, CNN, CNBC, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, CBS, WGN, The CW, and more. Zahn joined the Adventure Media & Events family in 2016, initially serving as a member of the Parent Advisory Board after penning articles for the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family, PBS KIDS, Sprout Parents (now Universal Kids), PopSugar, and Chicago Parent. He eventually joined the company full time as a Senior Editor and moved up the ranks to Deputy Editor and Editor-in-Chief.