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Even as the world's stunned reaction to his $19 billion takeover of Capital Cities/ABC swelled around him last week, Walt Disney's Michael Eisner took time to discuss the future of his company with Advertising Age sister publication Electronic Media.

EM: Will the broadcast-related component of your new company be its mainstay?

Mr. Eisner: I think there are multiple mainstays. The Disney brand will still be the major growth component of the combined company, and I believe the other assets will enhance that growth and give it new possibilities, whether it's creating an ESPN/Disney Channel combination around the world, or combining ABC and Disney technology and content to provide interactive media and online services.

We have brands, such as our animated movies, that can be used for education and online services and interactive games.

EM: Will you label blocks of schedule time, such as a nightly family hour,

Mr. Eisner: There may be pockets of programming, whether it's an hour of prime time like we've always had on ABC and NBC for decades, or whether it's children's programming, which we have on ABC and CBS right now, or in our syndicated `Disney Afternoon.'

We'll also continue to be available to all distribution outlets whether owned by ABC or not.

EM: But will you carve out certain parts of the ABC

Mr. Eisner: The only possibility for a Disney environment right now would be the children's programming pieces wherever they may be-whether it's Saturday or Sunday morning. Right now, the only possibility would be Saturday morning.

EM: Would fall 1996 be the earliest that would materialize?

Mr. Eisner: The fall of 1996 seems a little early to me.

EM: Will international expansion be a major area of interest and expense for the new company?

Mr. Eisner: I'm not sure it's an area of major spending. It's an area of major concentration. I'm very impressed with the ABC guys. They have been the best at intelligently investing outside of the U.S. and getting their brand out there.

EM: Is the DreamWorks situation beyond repair, and what would it take to save its alliance with Capital Cities/ABC?

Mr. Eisner: We haven't even had a discussion about that. I don't even know the details of that arrangement. It is a joint venture and one of the many production arrangements they have with others like Brillstein/Grey.

EM: What other business elements do you want to bring into the mix that aren't already there-such as acquiring an interactive software company?

Mr. Eisner: I don't know. We are very aggressively in the interactive area at Disney developing products off of our feature film brands; and also working on interactive CD-ROM, online and the rest of it.

I don't anticipate any acquisitions in that area, although if someone came to us with a good idea, we'd look at it.

EM: Will the consolidation of these two companies lead to a realignment of the combined management strength you have?

Mr. Eisner: We've made it very clear these are not overlapping assets. I do not anticipate us changing manage-ment.M

Ms. Mermigas is financial editor of Electronic Media.


Michael Eisner

BIRTHDATE: March 7, 1942, in Mount Kisco, N.Y.

EDUCATION: B.A., Denison University, 1964.

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Began career with CBS' programming department; worked for ABC 1966-76, rising to senior VP-prime-time production and development; president-chief operating officer, Paramount Pictures, 1976-84; chairman-CEO, Walt Disney Co. since 1984.

PERSONAL: Married to Jane, three children

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