Disney boss Bob Iger has confirmed that Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon will develop a Marvel-based TV series for the ABC network in the US.
Iger was speaking to analysts following Disney’s third-quarter results. It isn’t clear which of the Marvel properties will be worked up for TV, but Whedon is also signed up to write and produce the second installment of the Avengers feature film franchise.
“Marvel has just signed Joss Whedon to exclusive deal and he will write and direct Avengers 2 and help develop a Marvel based series for ABC,” Iger said.
ABC has previously developed AKA Jessica Jones and ABC boss Paul Lee confirmed to TBI earlier this year that a Hulk series is in development.
Iger also talked about Disney’s sports network ESPN, following its decision to exit its ESPN Star Sports Asian joint venture with News Corp and it losing key soccer rights in the UK. Latin America is now a key focus for ESPN internationally he said.
“On the international front, ESPN’s track record internationally has not really delivered the kind of bottom-line results that we would have liked or expected,” Iger said. “The bid that we made for instance for Premier League was we considered to be a rational bid to try to turn ESPN’s business in the U.K. into a profitable business and were outbid by very, very powerful local distributor making it not only impossible to compete with them, but it made no sense for us to do so because it simply would not have benefited our bottom line.”
Speaking about ESS Iger said that Disney did not see it driving great growth for Disney and that it has a different point of view about the direction of the business to its JV partner, News Corp. “We decided, basically, with News Corp. being very interested, to sell our interest back to them and to pursue other markets for ESPN internationally, notably Latin America.”
Disney reported third-quarter revenues of US$11.1 billion compared with US$10.7 billion in the corresponding period a year earlier. Quarterly net income was US$1.8 billion, a 24% increase year-on-year.