Peter Rice, chairman of Walt Disney Television and co-chairman of Disney Media Networks, has been fired.
He will be followed by Dana Walden, president of Walt Disney Television Entertainment, one of Rice's top lieutenants.
Rice and his colleagues at Disney did not see this move coming.
Walden, who had worked closely with Rice and other executives, including FX's John Landgraph, was told about it an hour before Rice was called for a brief visit with Chapek.
Chapek received a vote of confidence from the Disney board following his decision to dismiss Rice. But if he had not been ousted, Rice would have been the strongest internal candidate to replace Chapek.