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Nat Geo Kids Ent. Names Production VP & Franchise Marketing Director

To meet the demands of National Geographic Kids Ent.'s (NGKE) rapidly expanding production slate, Melanie Grisanti joins as of production while Darren Metzger takes on the newly created position franchise marketing director.

Grisanti will oversee the flow of all production for the kids' programming production unit and supervise series set up, budgeting, scheduling and studio management domestically and abroad to ensure creative integrity and production quality. She reports to NGKE president Donna Friedman Meir.

Metzger will oversee the direction and strategic marketing of National Geo Kids-branded properties globally and will report to Shannon Hebert, vp, integrated marketing, for National Geographic Ent.

"With the swift growth of National Geographic Kids Ent.'s portfolio of series, we are thrilled to have someone of Melanie's experience and passion for producing quality entertainment for kids, said Friedman Meir. Her vast experience will enable us to deliver exciting, breakthrough programming for children on time and on budget."

Friedman Meir continued, "Darren brings a wealth of experience and expertise in the development of successful entertainment brands domestically and abroad. His strong background in strategic marketing will greatly benefit National Geographic Kids Ent. as we continue to grow our brand and provide premium kids' programming across the globe."

Grisanti was a producer for 15 years at Cartoon Pizza Inc. (formerly Jumbo Pictures), where she was involved in overseeing all aspects of animation production for film, television and home entertainment.

Her credits include PINKY DINKY DOO for Noggin, CBC and BBC; the Emmy Award-winning STANLEY for Playhouse Disney; the Emmy-nominated series DOUG for Nickelodeon; BRAND SPANKING NEW DOUG for ABC; the theatrical release of DOUG'S 1ST MOVIE; and four educational animated home videos for Random House based on the popular preschool books by Richard Scarry.

Grisanti founded a media strategy and production company, Grisanti-McLeod Inc., where she produced advertising and corporate campaigns for such clients as CBS, Coca-Cola, Reebok, Hearst and New York Times Magazine Group.

Metzger has than 13 years' experience and a proven track record in building successful entertainment brands. During seven years at Nickelodeon, he helped launch its international channel, feature film and licensing businesses, developing children's properties such as RUGRATS, BLUE'S CLUES, JIMMY NEUTRON and SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS into hit franchises.

Most recently Metzger worked as director of ad sales marketing at Home & Garden Television/Scripps Networks, creating targeted lifestyle marketing programs and promotions for advertisers. Metzger developed and implemented integrated multi-platform, cross-network initiatives for DIY, HGTV, Food Network, Fine Living and Shop at Home.

Nat Geo Kids Ent. is an independent production entity of National Geographic Ventures ( Established in 2003, NGKE brings the renowned National Geographic brand to children's entertainment through the development and production of quality animated and live-action, entertainment-driven programming that excites kids to explore their world. NGKE will work with all major broadcast outlets in the U.S. and abroad.