How Disney Is Promoting Inclusivity With Their Television Network, Disney Channel

There’s a new executive role within Disney Channel and it’s changing the face of Disney’s all-white executive team. Here’s what we know about Theresa Helmer, her recent promotion, and why it’s so important for this television network.

Disney Channel promoted Theresa Helmer to a new role with the television network

This children-focused television network recently promoted Theresa Helmer to a newly created role, Executive Director, Integrated Content Strategy and Development, in an effort to promote inclusivity within Disney Channel and its leaders.

“Theresa’s unflagging determination, insight and passion have already contributed to enhancing our diversity, inclusion and belonging efforts,” said Gary Marsh, President and Chief Creative Officer, Disney Channels Worldwide in a Deadline exclusive. “In this new role as part of the senior leadership team, she’ll have a seat at the table that will allow her to reinforce further how we can authentically showcase underrepresented populations in our storytelling.”

Prior to this new role, Helmer served as the Director, Social Media Strategy for Disney Channel’s Marketing group. According to Forbes, “Earlier this year, Bob Iger, Disney’s executive chairman, made a promise to diversify the largely male, all-white executive leadership team by 2021.”

This wouldn’t be Disney’s only inclusion initiative 

Though some believe they’re long overdue, about a year prior, Disney added other inclusion initiatives at varying levels. That includes “the Executive Incubator Program,” which aims to create a pipeline of next-gen network executives, as well as the “Walt Disney Television Studios Intern Program,” which will offer a career path for diverse talent behind the camera.

These are, of course, in addition to the Disney College Program, which gives students real-world experience at one of the Disney theme parks, including Walt Disney World and Disneyland. 

Disney Channel and Disney+ introduced a few new television shows and characters

Within its casts and its television shows, Disney Channel and the Walt Disney Company has a whole has been slowly adding new voices to their stories. In 2014, Disney Channel had its first LGBTQ moms, with the show Good Luck Charlie

The first season of Disney+ original show, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series included two openly gay characters, Seb and Carlos, who even went to homecoming together. 

The streaming platform Disney+ is also creating a new version of the animated series, The Proud Family featuring the original cast, titled The Proud Family: Louder And Prouder. In fact, a number of Disney Channel series are available on Disney+, like That’s So Raven and Wizards of Waverly Place.

Disney Channel originals and Disney+ exclusive television shows, including High School Musical: The Musical: The Series and The Mandalorian, are available on the company’s streaming platform. To learn more about Disney+ and to subscribe, visit their website. 

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