President's Award Winners3/28/2004 7:00 PM Eastern
Anne Sweeney is president, ABC Cable Networks Group and Disney Channel Worldwide. She oversees The Walt Disney Co.'s entertainment cable television networks (ABC Family, Disney Channel, Toon Disney and SoapNet), the company's television production for kids (Walt Disney Television Animation), and programming for kids in the United States and on multiple cable and broadcast television platforms worldwide, including 22 international Disney Channels.
Sweeney also directs the company's majority interest in the international Fox Kids channels and the Disney-branded and Jetix-branded programming (formerly branded Fox Kids) on television platforms reaching more than 800 million households worldwide. In addition, she manages Disney's equity interest in cable groups Lifetime Entertainment Services, A&E Television Networks and E! Networks.
The daughter of educators, Sweeney holds a master's degree in education from Harvard University and is a lifelong proponent of teaching, learning and community outreach. She inspired and guided the inception of ABC Cable Networks Group's multimillion-dollar public affairs/education initiative "Learning Together!" That ongoing program is designed to improve kids' learning and personal growth, specifically through family involvement.
"Learning Together!" encompasses all channels within ABC Cable Networks Group, each of which has a customized program to meet the goals of the initiative. An equivalent of $25 million dollars in public-service announcements promoting the value of reading, communication and creativity rotate on each channel. In partnership with local cable affiliates, the "Learning Together!" outreach last year resulted in the donation of thousands of books and dollars to local schools and charities. Disney Channel's "Imagineer That!" helps kids unlock their creativity through in-school workshops developed in association with Disney's famed Imagineers, the chief creative architects of Disney's theme parks and attractions.
For preschoolers, Disney Channel produces Stanley's Great Big Story Time Adventure, a stage show that tours throughout the nation, providing an opportunity for children and families to celebrate the fun of learning through interactive storytelling. SoapNet features "Talk It Over Soaps," a forum held in local markets, in conjunction with the American Counseling Association. That program uses soap opera storylines to foster communication between teens and parents. Toon Disney's "Passport to Reading" is a youth reading program, in conjunction with the Association of Library Service to Children; in addition ABC Family's new program will bridge the network, its affiliates and local communities by fostering family volunteerism.
Emphasizing a deeper approach to preschoolers' development, Sweeney also steered the implementation of the Whole Child Curriculum, a multilevel approach to learning that underlies the entire brand of the critically acclaimed "Playhouse Disney," a daily programming block for preschoolers on Disney Channel. Leading by example, Sweeney's commitment to both individual and corporate good citizenship continues to inspire pro-social subject matter, including tolerance and diversity in the lauded Disney Channel Original Movie franchise.
She is a board member of the Special Olympics Inc. and Women in Cable and Telecommunications, and is an honorary chair of Cable Positive.