Under Bob Iger's new regime at Walt Disney Co. Mickey's hands are pointing to "hands-off."
That signal comes with Iger's first big decision. Disney's head of strategic planning, Peter Murphy, who gave the final green-light for many big-time Disney projects and initiatives, is being removed from his job. Iger has made no bones about decentralizing the company - and considering the bumpy ride the company has taken over the last five years, it's a good move - though Murphy's group will be replaced with a smaller planning unit.
One major problem under Murphy's domain was the major TV purchase of Fox Family Channel, now ABC Family. Disney execs acknowledged what publicly everyone knew for some time - that the company overpaid. It was then Murphy's job to renegotiate the deal.
In it's coverage of the story, Daily Variety seemed to pit a lot of Disney's problems on Murphy, but The New York Timestook a more diplomatic approach, instead saying Iger wanted to give more authority back to division executives.
Murphy looked at the big picture purchases - but a lot of these checks-and-balances kinds of decisions filtered their way down. Murphy wasn't the reason ABC didn't get "The Apprentice" - but ABC seemed to mull over the program just a bit too long for producer Mark Burnett.
All this sends a sign that, in the quick moving world of television, ABC can be agile. Yes, the network has had great success this year but it can't get sucked back in the "wait-and-I'll-call-you-back process" should it hit an occasional pothole. Being micro-managed by departing Disney CEO Michael Eisner wasn't always that bad. Sure, poor employees moan they never got credit for the good stuff, and got blamed for the bad. But, hey, this is capitalism. As long as you get to see your kids once in a while - and as long as the price your company shares goes up - life can be pretty good.
But when your company isn't doing well - all bets are off. Now Iger wants to make sure when some ABC executives go home every day, they'll have their fates in their own hands.