Disney’s Rita Ferro Explains Bob Iger’s Upfront Return, Bundles and Her Family Guy Debut

Between the pandemic years and the writers’ strike, the television industry has not seen a standard week of upfronts in nearly five years—a lifetime ago in the rapidly changing TV ecosystem. However, at upfront presentations across New York this week, ad industry executives felt relief at the return to normalcy—or something like it—for the annual marketing extravaganza.

At Disney’s Tuesday presentation from the North Javits Center, celebrity talent once again graced the stage, the production pipeline has been reenergized and nobody sat out sick. For the first time in years, the focus was solely on the substance, which Disney’s event had in spades.

Additionally, the company’s forthcoming bundle with Max—not to be confused with its forthcoming MVPD with WBD and Fox—has spurred intrigue across the industry. Along with new tie-ups from other streamers, the collaboration between former rivals has altered the television landscape and cast conversations around scale in a new light.

For ADWEEK’s annual post-upfront interviews, we’ve already chatted with NBCU’s Mark Marshall, Fox’s Jeff Collins and TelevisaUnivision’s Donna Speciale. Now our conversations continue with Disney’s global ads president, Rita Ferro.

Ferro spoke with ADWEEK about the backstory behind the 2024 upfront event, including why Bob Iger graced the stage and what compelled her to appear as a Family Guy character. Disney also exclusively confirmed to ADWEEK that the company is back in upfront week next year on Tuesday, May 13, 2025.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

ADWEEK: What were your main priorities this year in terms of what you wanted to communicate to media buyers at the Disney upfront?

Rita Ferro: The No. 1 thing we wanted to communicate was the scale, depth and breadth of our content and storytelling. We have scale in streaming and sports, which are the main marketplaces that are moving in this upfront. Also, we wanted to emphasize the fact that the connection that Disney has with its fans and its guests is unlike any other you’ll see this week. Our franchises, like Star Wars, Disney, Marvel and National Geographic, are just so different and ingrained in the lives of our fans.

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