Michael J. Wolf has been named president/coo of MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom Inc. In this newly created senior executive position, Wolf will lead the company's business and technology operations, including Advertising Sales, Affiliate Sales and Marketing, Business and Strategy Development, Business and Legal Affairs, Finance, Information Systems and Technology, and Production Operations. He will also help set and implement MTVs evolving multiplatform strategy to serve its audiences across all screens with the most compelling content.
Ken Olshansky joins Granada Kids as vp, creative affairs: kids, responsible for developing pre-school and animation programming with a specific focus on the U.S. market.
He will be based in New York and travel frequently to London to work with the teams based there.
Olshanskys extensive experience includes serving as svp at Scholastic, overseeing CLIFFORDS PUPPY DAYS (PBS) and the Emmy Award-winning I SPY (HBO). Previously he was vp, creative affairs, at Sunbow Ent., and was the creative force behind THE CRAMP TWINS (Cartoon Network, BBC).
Continuing to grow, visual effects, animation and finishing studio KromA has added producer/sales representative Jen Lahotski to its staff. Lahotski will work to support the companys current expansion into visual effects work for television and feature films. Her responsibilities will include new business development and client relations. She will also help to facilitate in-house production.
First celebrities invaded the world of animation voice over. Now theyre stepping in behind the scenes. Joe Strike looks into this growing trend and what it means to the overall animation community.
Jason Hirschhorn has been appointed MTV Networks inaugural chief digital officer (cdo). cross-company strategies for growing MTV Networks' existing and future brands -- including the music, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and Spike channels -- across all existing and emerging digital platforms. He will also coordinate the business, product development and technical operations of MTV Networks' expanding portfolio of digital media businesses while overseeing new acquisitions in the interactive space, including recently-acquired IFILM.
Karl M. von der Heyden has been elected to the DreamWorks Animation board of directors.
He served as vice chairman, a member of the board of directors and cfo of PepsiCo Inc. from September 1996 to February 2001. During that period, he was instrumental in the company's spinoff of its restaurant operations, the acquisitions of Tropicana and Quaker Oats, and the IPO of the Pepsi Bottling Group.
As part of the reorganization and establishment of the recent Warner Bros. Home Ent. Group, Ronald Sanders has been named president, Warner Home Video. He assumes responsibility for the overall worldwide operation of Warner Home Video, including sales, marketing, distribution, finance, administration and physical operations.
In an increasing American animation tradition, another animation studio founder is leaving the studio he created, as Jeff Nodelman leaves Noodlesoup Prods. to pursue his own independent portfolio. Nodelman will continue to collaborate periodically with the studio on specific projects, according to Nathan Graf, ceo of Noodlesoup.
Bruce Shutan explores the workload and trends that are driving several prominent vfx studios around the world.
Harry E. Sloan, a member of the MGM board of directors, has been named chairman/ceo of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. Sloan will also invest in MGM and become part of the ownership group, which ownership is currently as follows: Providence Equity Partners (29%), Texas Pacific Group (21%), Sony (20%), Comcast (20%), DLJ Merchant Banking Partners (7%), and Quadrangle Group (3%).
Thomas C. Emma joins MarVista Ent. in the newly created position of vp, business affairs for the companys production, acquisition and distribution activities, as well as utilize his experience in new media and new business development to guide their participation in future business opportunities.
His entertainment career includes senior level management positions at Artist View Ent., The American Film Marketing Assoc., Hal Roach Studios, Harmony Gold and Philips Media Inc.
Adapting to an ever-changing media landscape, Concrete Pictures has announced the restructuring of its business development efforts a move that will take operations in-house and ultimately optimize communications between the company and its branding services clients. In making the change, Concrete Pictures has hired Bob Lowery as vp, business development, and has promoted Michele Pew to exec producer/writer. Both will report to Miles Dinsmoor, the companys svp of production.
With two stop-motion features hitting theaters this year, Gerard C. Raiti looks at another trailblazing stop-motion legend Gumby, who is celebrating his 50th year, with a talk with Clokey Prods. head Joe Clokey, the son of Gumby creator Art Clokey.
Anchor Bay Ent. has named Kaoru Mfaume as managing director for Manga Ent. He recently held the post of vp acquisitions for the company.
Anchor Bay is proud to have Kaoru as part of our team, stated Ted Green, ceo of Anchor Bay. He is a true leader within the anime world and has co-produced a number of top-selling anime titles including STREET FIGHTER: ALPHA GENERATIONS, DEAD LEAVES and GHOST IN THE SHELL: STAND ALONE COMPLEX. His unparalled vision and leadership will help us develop this genre to its fullest potential.
Set to step down from the Walt Disney board at the next annual meeting, Michael Eisner quietly exited the post early on Sept. 30, the same day he left the company as ceo. Buried in a filing late Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Disney included the statement Eisner "no longer provides any services" for the company.
Paul OHiggins has been appointed vp, marketing, Walt Disney Television, EMEA, to oversee all aspects of marketing, on and off air, across Europe, Middle East and Africa. He will be responsible for creating major marketing campaigns for Disneys key TV shows and channel launches, plus work with local markets to create the most successful strategies for them.
OHiggins was vp, creative at Nickelodeon, where he led the creative plans for on- and off-air, creating programming stunts, marathons, competitions and short-form interstitials.
Web veteran Jim Moloshok joins Media Ventures in the newly created position of president, responsible for exploring new opportunities for HBO, focusing on the point of intersection between innovative content and changing technology.
"Jim has a keen understanding and much valuable experience in the world of cross-media programming, said Chris Albrecht, ceo of HBO, who made the announcement. We are really excited to have him on our team."
Jules Borkent has been promoted to vp, programming, Nickelodeon International, responsible for coordinating Nickelodeon's global programming and acquisitions strategy, with a particular emphasis on working with our local programming heads to coordinate and develop pan-regional deals for Nickelodeon's 13 localized channels across Europe.
Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) Europe has shuffled about its organization to support emerging areas in its business mix and grow its entertainment brands starting with naming Dee Forbes vp/gm of TBS UK and Ireland, responsible for all commercial and channel activities plus its operating units: distribution sales, ad sales and S&P, programming and acquisitions, marketing, PR, creative services, presentation, research, strategy and consumer products.
Dale Wahl joins LAIKA as ceo in Portland, Oregon. Robert Harold, the longtime Nike financial exec who came out of retirement to serve as interim ceo since March, 2005, will assist in the transition and retains his seat on LAIKAs board of directors.
Bill Damaschke has been promoted to head of creative production and development at DreamWorks Animation while Kristine Belson comes on board as the head of development.
John D. Maatta, has been named coo of The WB Television Network. In addition to being the network's general counsel, the network's business and operations departments will report to him, including Business Affairs, Finance, Network Distribution, The WB 100+ Station Group, Technology, Legal, Research, Network Operations, Broadcast Standards and Human Resources.
Maatta previously was evp and general counsel of the Network with Legal and Human Resources reporting to him.
Wild Brain Inc. has appointed Charles Rivkin, the former head of The Jim Henson Co., as ceo. This comes on the heels of Dan Rounds becoming a producer and development head at Wild Brain to nurture 3D-animated features.
New York-based studio Version2 has added Dante Piacenza as head of production/exec producer and Lydia Holness as vfx producer of its visual effects and design division.