Betty Cohen announced on June 15, 2001 that she will be stepping down from her post as president of Cartoon Network Worldwide effective July 16, 2001. Cohen, a 13-year veteran of Turner Broadcasting, will stay within the ever-expanding world of AOL Time Warner/Turner Broadcasting however, as she moves over to AOL in order to develop multi-platform programs and services for a target audience of young adults and teens. Cohen said, "I am an entrepreneurial builder, and Jamie Kellner [Chairman and CEO of TBS, Inc.] has afforded me the opportunity to pursue a dream of mine. There is no better time to do that than right now." For the past 10 years as its senior executive, Cohen has overseen the creation and launch of Cartoon Network, which is currently seen in 73.1 million U.S. homes and 145 countries around the world. In her role, Cohen has led all business operations, creative direction, programming strategy and marketing for the channel, which is one of the most successful entertainment brands in cable television history. In addition to the Channel, she has also headed the start-up of CartoonNetwork.com and Boomerang, and overseen Turner Learning. While pursuing her new enterprises, Cohen will continue to run Turner Learning, the educational division of the company that creates and distributes select Turner Broadcasting resources for use in classrooms across the U.S. No doubt these contacts in the high school and collegiate communities will be invaluable in the development of her next venture. Cohen joined Cartoon Network as executive vice president in January 1992 to lead the team that readied the network for launch in October 1992. Previously, she had served as senior vice president and general manager of TNT, having signed on in 1988, during the network's planning stage, to create its on-air look and establish TNT's award-winning marketing, short-form programming and on-air promotion departments. Prior, Cohen was director of on-air promotion for Nickelodeon, where she was instrumental in re-packaging the network's on-air environment and launching "Nick at Nite." Cohen has also worked as a writer/producer of on-air promotion for Cable Health Network and was managing senior producer of on-air promotion for Lifetime Television. She began her career in television as a broadcast producer for the Public Media Center in San Francisco. Since being named president of Cartoon Network Worldwide in August 1994, Cohen has overseen the Cartoon Network brand and the popularizing of its characters, both classic and original, across multiple entertainment platforms. Cohen also supervises Boomerang, the Cartoon Network companion service launched last year, as well as programming strategies and brand marketing for four international versions of Cartoon Network; Cartoon Network Online (CartoonNetwork.com); and Cartoon Network Studios, the new animation-production facility in Burbank, CA. Last fall, Cohen was named among the "50 Most Powerful Women in Business" by FORTUNE magazine. R.E. Turner, Vice Chairman of AOL Time Warner, said, "Cartoon Network would not be the success it is today had it not been for Betty's vision and leadership. She turned our library of classic cartoons into one of the most valuable media properties in the world. I respect Betty as a business person and admire her as a colleague and friend. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next." Cartoon Network will now be overseen by Bradley Siegel, president of general entertainment networks for TBS, Inc. Siegel, another long term TBS exec, will continue to oversee TBS Superstation, TNT, Turner Classic Movies and Turner South in addition to Cartoon Network, thereby creating a unified Entertainment Networks group.
To read more about the wildly successful CartoonNetwork.com read "Come Together: Online and On-Air Converge on CartoonNetwork.com" by Brett Rogers.
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.