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Lazarus Named President of Turner Broadcasting Animation Division

With little fanfare and no company statements, Turner Broadcasting has named Mark Lazarus, president of the entertainment group, to president of the company's animation division, which oversees cable channel Cartoon Network and its animation studio, according to the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, which was confirmed by a CN spokesperson.

Many have been waiting to see who would head the animation group, when Turners new ceo Philip Kent restructured Turner last year into three separate divisions: entertainment, news and animation.

The animation and entertainment divisions will remain separate, but this could mean collaboration on new programming initiatives including a potential late-night programming block under consideration for flagship channel TBS.

"When the opportunity is right, we could share resources," Lazarus said. "There could be an opportunity to tap into the expertise we have at Cartoon to see what we're going to do with TBS in the late-night hours."

Lazarus had already been running animation on an interim basis. News is led by CNN News Group president Jim Walton.

In an internal memo, Kent disclosed that he had interviewed other candidates for the position, according to the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, but ultimately decided that Lazarus should continue in the post.

"My objective in naming Mark interim head of animation was to allow the new operating structure time to successfully take hold," Kent wrote. "Ultimately, I have decided that animation should and will remain under Mark's leadership."

Lazarus already oversees programming, marketing and ad sales responsibilities for TBS, TNT, Turner Classic Movies and Turner South. Lazarus also is president of Turner Sports.

"I think it's a huge endorsement of how we've been doing over the past year," said Jim Samples, evp/gm of Cartoon Network. "We'll continue with the same momentum we've had."

Adult Swim has enjoyed great success on CN as a late-night block aimed at young adults. Discussions on a like-minded block for TBS are in the preliminary stages, according to Lazarus.

TBS and CN have shared resources already, including the animated series FAMILY GUY, which runs in both Adult Swim and TBS' primetime schedule.