EXCLUSIVE: The Great Resignation has claimed another top TV studio PR executive, Chris Alexander, who is stepping down as EVP of Publicity and Corporate Communications for Disney Television Studios. He is departing after combined three decades at Disney and Fox, including 13 years as head of publicity for 20th Century Fox Television and Disney TV Studios. Alexander’s last day will be Aug. 5, and he plans to take some time off before contemplating his next move.
As a professional communications executive, Alexander explained his decision to leave in a statement whose style will be very familiar to the dozens of recipients of his famous holiday letter that he has been doing for almost as long as he has worked in PR.
“In March, I received an email congratulating me on 30 years at the Walt Disney Company,” Alexander said. “While I certainly appreciated the acknowledgement, it became a wake up call of sorts. I’ve had a fantastic run and some wonderful experiences, but I realized that I want to do more than one thing in this life, and 30 years seems like a good round number on which to end. I am forever grateful to Dana Walden and Shannon Ryan who have been terrific mentors and friends; the wildly talented producers and actors who have shared their gifts with both me and the world; and most of all my incredible team, whom I will miss dearly and root for always. And of course, I am grateful to the members of the press with whom it has been my honor to work these many years. As I start this next chapter, I look forward to reading your breaking news alerts without the slightest inkling of what they will contain.”
A fixture in television PR for the past two decades, Alexander is known for his professionalism, calm demeanor and sense of humor and for his willingness to handle any inquiry thrown at him by the press, even controversial ones many in his line of work try to avoid. For most of his career, Alexander has been associated with Dana Walden as a key member of her team.
“We’ve had the privilege of working closely with Chris for many years. He’s been an exceptional leader, tremendous advocate and most importantly, a great friend to so many of us. His work launching some of the greatest shows and biggest hits in recent history speaks for itself, and his incredible relationships with talent, press, executives and creators are second to none,” Dana Walden, Chairman of Disney General Entertainment Content, and Shannon Ryan, President of Content Marketing, Hulu and General Entertainment, said in a joint statement. “From Glee, Family Guy and “Empire” to American Crime Story, Modern Family and This Is Us, just to name a few, Chris has championed some of the most celebrated and groundbreaking series of all time, and he’s done so with enthusiasm, grace under fire and a sense of humor, always. He leaves behind an incredible legacy of accomplishments, a long list of grateful showrunners and an impressive team that will continue doing great work. We are so appreciative of all his contributions over the last three decades and wish him the happiest and most fulfilling next chapter.”
As EVP of Publicity and Corporate Communications for Disney Television Studios, a position Alexander has held since the 2019 close of Disney’s Fox asset acquisition, he oversees all publicity, corporate communications, talent relations, awards, and social media for 20th Television, 20th Television Animation and ABC Signature. He has shepherded publicity campaigns for series such as This Is Us, the American Crime Story and 9-1-1 franchises, Pose and the longest-running primetime scripted series in the history of television, The Simpsons, as well as recent hits Only Murders in the Building, The Dropout and Dopesick. Alexander also has been a key architect of Disney Television Studios’ awards strategy which recently netted 67 Emmy nominations, the most for any studio.
Before moving to Disney post-merger, Alexander served as head of communications for 20th Century Fox Television for a decade. There, he was credited with raising the profiles of Walden and Gary Newman as they built the studio into an industry leader. During his two decades at 20th TV as SVP and EVP, Alexander was an early champion of Glee and oversaw publicity for the worldwide phenom and its ancillary businesses; helped earn Family Guy the first Best Comedy Emmy nom since The Flintstones, launched Modern Family and led the awards campaigns that needed the series five consecutive Outstanding Comedy Emmys; and handled Empire’s and This Is Us’ meteoric success. He also worked on Homeland, 24, How I Met Your Mother, Ally McBeal, The Practice and The Simple Life, and was the studio’s point on Ryan Murphy’s long list of hits, from Glee to American Horror Story to all the iterations of American Crime Story to 9-1-1 to Pose.
Prior to joining 20th, Alexander launched the MTV Networks educational channel for kids, Noggin, as its first Director of Communications during his one year spent away from Disney or Fox.
Alexander began his career as a production secretary on the daytime drama One Life to Live, later segueing to the ABC Television Network press department. After working on hits such as Roseanne and My So-Called Life, he was tapped to represent the ABC Newsmagazine 20/20, publicizing dozens of Barbara Walters’ memorable interviews including her blockbuster sit down with Monica Lewinsky. Twenty-four years later, he would work with Lewinsky as a producer of Impeachment: American Crime Story.
Alexander, who will now have more time for his menagerie of pets that includes dogs, cockatiels and a horse, joins such long-tenured heads of TV studios communications as Universal TV’s Curt King and CBS Studios’ Lauri Metros who also left this year for a break or a job outside of entertainment. He holds the distinction of having his professional services twice “acquired” by the Walt Disney Co. as part of M&A transactions: first when his employer Capital Cities/ABC was purchased in 1995 and later when 21st Century Fox, for whom he later worked, was acquired in 2019.
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