Nickelodeon president Cyma Zarghami, recently named head of the newly formed MTVN Kids and Family Group, has announced key executive promotions to support Nick's growth as a multiplatform kids and family brand.
Tom Ascheim, a 16-year veteran of Nickelodeon has been promoted from Nick Digital Television, to evp/gm, Nickelodeon Television, expanding his responsibilities and giving him oversight of day-to-day operations for all of Nickelodeon's television businesses, including Nickelodeon, the number-one rated cable network for more than 10 straight years; Noggin, The N and Nicktoons Television. His responsibilities will encompass all programming, production and marketing of the channels. Additionally, Ascheim will be leading a production and creative group to produce and program content across multiple platforms. Ascheim will report to Zarghami.
Steve Youngwood moves up from svp, entertainment products for Nickelodeon and Viacom Consumer Products, to the newly created position of evp Nickelodeon Digital Media. Also, Sarah Kirshbaum Levy, previously svp, strategy and business development, has been named evp, strategy and business operations, Nickelodeon.
"While we are at the forefront of emerging new platforms, television is still and will continue to be the number-one entertainment choice for kids, and Nickelodeon Television is in great hands under Tom Ascheim," said Zarghami. "Tom combines tremendous leadership and business skills with the heart of a true Nickelodeon veteran. He also has the finest creative team in the industry behind him, and that combination of talent will ensure Nickelodeon's success as we continue to move forward into this multiplatform era."
Jeff Dunn had decided to depart his position as coo Nickelodeon Networks Group and president, Nickelodeon Film and Enterprises. "It is with great respect that we accept Jeff Dunn's decision to leave the company," said Zarghami. "We thank him for his tremendous contributions over the years. He leaves us very well positioned to continue our growth in consumer products and the many other businesses he helped build. We will miss him and have enormous pride in what he has accomplished here."
As evp, Nick Digital Television, Ascheim oversaw the growth of Nickelodeon's channels Noggin, The N, Nickelodeon Games and Sports and Nicktoons Television. The N has become recognized as a hot brand for teens behind original shows such as DeGrassi: The Next Generation, Instant Star and its newest series, South of Nowhere. Noggin has continued to be the home of some of the highest quality preschool programming, and Nicktoons Television is emerging as a home for new and emerging hot animation talent.
Ascheim was gm for Noggin/The N from 1999 to 2004, where he oversaw all day-to-day operations including on-air programming, online content, scheduling and marketing. Ascheim first joined Nickelodeon in 1990.
In his new role as evp, Nickelodeon Digital Media, Youngwood will report into Zarghami with a dotted line to MTVN chief digital officer Jason Hirschhorn. Youngwood will lead and manage Nickelodeon's expansion across current and future digital platforms, assuming the day-to-day management of Nickelodeon's growing online efforts, including Nick.com, Nicktoons.com, Nickjr.com, Noggin.com, The N.com and GoCityKids.com. Additionally, he will oversee the group's wireless, gaming, interactive television and digital video initiatives.
"Steve is one of Nickelodeon's secret talents and has been a driving force in expanding our programming and creative content to exciting new platforms, from video games and records, to DVDS and cell phones, and most recently, iTunes," Zarghami said. "Steve will ensure that Nickelodeon will continue to be a leader with the best creative entertainment, as well as coordinate an overall digital strategy for our future, tapping into the MTVN infrastructure led by chief digital officer Jason Hirschhorn."
A nine-year Nickelodeon vet, Youngwood expanded the Nickelodeon and Viacom Consumer Products portfolio across numerous entertainment platforms, including videogames, video/DVD, wireless, records and book publishing. He was a key member of the team that created TAK, Nickelodeon's first hit original videogame property that is now being developed as a TV series; led the growth of Nickelodeon to becoming the number one source of licensed kids' videogames; led the growth of the Nickelodeon and Comedy Central DVD businesses into the top two basic cable brands on DVD with hits like DORA, THE EXPLORER, SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS, CHAPPELLE'S SHOW, SOUTH PARK and RENO 911; led the team that most recently introduced MTV Networks programming to iTunes; and helped establish the recently launched Nick Records label.
Youngwood first joined the Nick in 1997 as a director, business development. Previously, he was a consultant at McKinsey and Co. in both the U.S. and Germany.
As evp, strategy and business operations, Levy will continue to oversee the finance, strategic planning, ancillary business operations and business development activities for the company, as well as oversee Nickelodeon recreation and magazine divisions. The former svp of strategy & business development for Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, TV Land & Spike TV, joined the company as director of business development for Nickelodeon in 1998.
"Sarah Kirshbaum Levy truly has a gift for strategic thinking," Zarghami said. "She will be a key contributor as we build the kids and family brands and businesses."
During her tenure at the company, Levy has overseen acquisitions work for the division, including Neopets, GoCityKids.com and Noggin. She also played important roles in myriad projects from the repositioning of TNN to Spike TV, the development of Nickelodeon's online and wireless strategies and the strategic partnership for the first Nickelodeon-branded hotel.
Levy received a BA degree in Economics from Harvard College and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Prior to business school, she was a senior analyst in Disney's corporate strategic planning group, concentrating on the filmed entertainment and recorded music divisions, including Disney's acquisition of Capital Cities/ABC. She also worked in the Mergers & Acquisitions department at Goldman Sachs & Co.
MTV Networks (www.mtv.com) is a unit of Viacom Inc. one of the world's leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms. MTV Networks, with more than 120 channels worldwide, owns and operates the following television programming services MTV: MUSIC TELEVISION, MTV2, VH1, mtvU, NICKELODEON, NICK at NITE, COMEDY CENTRAL, TV LAND, SPIKE TV, CMT, NOGGIN, LOGO, MTVN INTERNATIONAL and THE DIGITAL SUITE FROM MTV NETWORKS, a package of 13 digital services, all of these brands are trademarks of MTV Networks. MTV Networks connects with its audiences through its robust consumer products businesses and its more than 95 interactive properties worldwide, including online, broadband, wireless and interactive television services and also has licensing agreements, joint ventures and syndication deals whereby all of its programming services can be seen worldwide.
Nickelodeon (www.nick.com), in its 26th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the U.S. and around the world, plus consumer products, online, recreation, books, magazines and feature films. Nickelodeon's U.S. television network is seen in 89 million households and has been the top-rated basic cable network for more than 10 consecutive years. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom International Inc.