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Headline News Ackerman New CEO of L.A. Studios/Margarita Mix

Aric Ackerman joins The L.A. Studios Inc. as ceo and will be responsible for the overall management and growth of the company's LA Studios and Margarita Mix audio post-production facilities. Based in the company's studios in Universal City, he will also oversee the Hollywood and Santa Monica-based studios. Former ceo, Jesse Meli, continues with the company as president emeritus, consulting on business development opportunities.

Headline News Dennis Hoffman to Head Production at Rainmaker Visual Effects

Dennis Hoffman has joined Rainmaker Visual Effects as head of production, a comparable position he most recently held at Digital Domain. Hoffman will report to Brian Moylan, managing director, Rainmaker Visual Effects.

"As Vancouver increasingly becomes a destination for high end visual effects, Rainmaker is pleased to have someone of Dennis caliber and experience join us as we move into more demanding and challenging projects, stated Warren Franklin, ceo of Rainmaker Ent. Inc.

Headline News 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.

Headline News Samantha Ryan to Helm Warner Bros. Interactive Ent.

Samantha Ryan moves up to svp, development & production, Warner Bros. Interactive Ent., while Jason Hall, who has served as svp, WBIE since its founding in 2004, will segue into a first-look videogame and feature film development deal through his wholly owned production company, HDFilms Inc.

Headline News Finkelman Cox Ankles Sony Pictures Animation Exec Post

Penney Finkelman Cox, who launched Sony Pictures Animation with her longtime business partner Sandra Rabins, is ankling her evp post to become a producer for the division.

She has one release under her belt, OPEN SEASON, and co-developed a busy slate with Rabins. Finkelman Cox moves into active development on several of the 10 projects she has shepherded at SPA, including DISENCHANTED FOREST and BIG NASTY.

Headline News Cartoon Network GM Samples Resigns Over Aqua Teen Scare

Cartoon Network GM Samples Resigns Over Aqua Teen Scare

Jim Samples, Cartoon Network's evp/gm, has stepped down as a result of the AQUA TEEN HUNGER FORCE marketing disaster, which caused a bomb scare in Boston, resulting in Turner Broadcasting System owing the city and homeland security $2 million. On a temporary basis, all CN execs will report to Turner Ent. Group president Mark Lazarus.

Headline News NaturalMotion Hires Andy Payne to Expand European Sales

NaturalMotion Ltd. has hired Andy Payne as vp of sales, Europe. Payne joins NaturalMotion from Autodesk, where he served as strategic accounts manager responsible for Maya and 3ds Max sales to companies such as Electronic Arts, Sony, Microsoft, Moving Picture Co. and Framestore CFC.

Headline News Redlitz & Arabia Move to DotComedy Broadband Channel

Sean Redlitz has been appointed md, DotComedy while C.J. Arabia has been named editorial manager, DotComedy, which is NBC Universal's new comedy broadband channel, an online home for edgy, original content, as well as having a wide variety of comedic video on the Web.

Headline News Dave Child Joins Golden Square

Dave Child, one of the industry's top vfx artists, has recently hooked up with leading post-production boutique Golden Square, having run the 3D department at One Post for three years and before that, senior animator at Rushes.

Child joins the recently expanded 3D department of six full-time animators plus permanent freelancers. Golden Square has recently refurbished a stylish and comfortable new space at no. 4 (Golden Square) to accommodate the ever-increasing workload and staff. No. 4 will also accommodate two new suites, Disqo and the design department.

Headline News Parker & Morrison to Steer Fox Animation as Part of Studio Restructuring

Fox Filmed Ent. launched a series of promotions in the wake of the studio's record $2 billion-plus global box office last year and the sudden departure two weeks ago of Fox Animation president Chris Meledandri to Universal.

Hutch Parker has been elevated to vice chairman of Twentieth Century Fox Film Group, which includes oversight of both Twentieth Century Fox and Fox Animation. Parker has been president of TCF since 2005. He joined Fox in 1995 as svp, production. He was named president of production in 1999.

Headline News Buhaj New Jetix Europe SVP of Programming

Cartoon Network exec Marc Buhaj will join Jetix Europe as svp of programming for Jetix Europe, effective April 2, 2007. His content oversight will encompass production, development, acquisitions, scheduling, on-air promotions, multimedia programming and administration for Jetix Europe

Headline News Ragosine Joins Fox Home Ent. as VP Public Relations

Industry vet Dorrit Ragosine joins Twentieth Century Fox Home Ent. (TCFHE) as vp of public relations, to drive the consumer public relations effort for the studio's new release, catalog and television titles and play an overall strategic role in communications for the division.

Headline News VES Announces 2007 Board of Directors

The Visual Effects Society (VES) has elected 15 new members to its board of directors, and the new board has elected Jeffrey A. Okun to a one-year term as chair. He replaces outgoing chair Carl Rosendahl, who held the position for three years.

"Seeing the board pass the leadership role to Jeff is very appropriate," remarked exec director Erc Roth. "He's been personally involved in so many aspects of the VES' work and cares very deeply about our members. The VES will be in very good hands."

Headline News Universal Pictures Lures Chris Meledandri From 20th Century Fox Animation

Universal Pictures has hired away Christopher Meledandri, the president of Twentieth Century Fox Animation and animation exec who oversaw the hit ICE AGE movies, to produce animated and live-action family films. Universal Pictures has entered into a five-year production agreement with Meledandri in what the studio sees as the first step in creating a separately financed production company to distribute family films via Universal Pictures worldwide distribution operations. The agreement, beginning in April 2007, was announced today (Jan.

Headline News DreamWorks Taps Christine Birch as Marketing Head

A day after announcing that Anne Globe has become DreamWorks Animation's new head of worldwide marketing and consumer products, DreamWorks has named Christine Birch to serve as president of marketing for live-action features, VARIETY reports.

Birch, who will report to co-chair-ceo Stacey Snider, was most recently exec vp of creative advertising at Sony Pictures. While spearheading marketing for DreamWorks, Birch will liaison with marketing heads at Paramount, which owns DreamWorks. Snider and Birch previously worked together at TriStar.