Candle Media Hires Ex-ABC News Chief James Goldston to Lead Nonfiction Studio

Former ABC News president James Goldston is joining Candle Media, founded and led by ex-Disney execs Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs, to head a new division focused on TV shows and movies based on true stories.

Goldston will serve as president of the new division, which will produce scripted and nonscripted features and series “inspired by true stories,” according to Candle.

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Goldston spent 18 years at ABC News, including seven years as president, before exiting in 2021. After leaving ABC News, he founded Aquitania Films, creating documentary series for the U.S., U.K. and global market. With his move to Candle Media, Aquitania’s development slate will join Goldston and his team at Candle. Last year, the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol tapped Goldston to produce the hearings in Washington, D.C.

“Kevin and Tom have built a best-in-class team of storytellers at Candle Media,” Goldston said in a statement. “I’m thrilled to work with this brilliant group to create premium content based on the most compelling true-life stories.”

Mayer and Staggs said in a joint statement: “We have known James for many years, through our collective time together at Disney. He is a world class storyteller, with a unique ability to turn real life stories into engaging, premium content across a variety of formats and platforms. We look forward to working with him to integrate and expand these capabilities as part of Candle.”

During his tenure as president of ABC News, Goldston oversaw all aspects of the news division, including “Good Morning America” and “World News with David Muir.” He also led ABC News’ foray into podcasting and documentary projects, including “The Dropout” for Hulu, starring Amanda Seyfried as Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes, and John’s Ridley’s “Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992” documentary on the L.A. riots.

Candle Media, which has financial backing from Blackstone’s private-equity arm, bills itself as a “next-generation media company” that is assembling various assets to content, commerce. In 2021, the company acquired Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine and kids’ media player Moonbug Entertainment. Candle has since followed that with eight additional acquisitions in the company’s first 12 months of operations. Candle currently has nearly 1,000 employees, with offices in Los Angeles, London, New York, Nashville, Montreal, Mexico City, Tel Aviv, and Singapore.

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