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.
Tom Sito recounts his thoughts on visiting the Beijing Film Academy, giving a Western view of the education process in the East.
Alan Gregg has been upped to vp, production and distribution, children's television, at Alliance Atlantis Communications to fill the void by Ken Faiers departure to Nerd Corps Ent. Based in Alliance Atlantis head office in Toronto, Gregg is responsible for developing and implementing the overall strategy for the companys childrens properties, including all aspects of production and distribution.
San Francisco-based animation studio Wild Brain has hired Dan Rounds as producer/head of development. He will lead the feature development efforts in acquiring and developing the companys first 3D-animated feature. (OPUS, the proposed BLOOM COUNTY 3D-animated spinoff about the wisecracking penguin, was not given the green light once Miramax split from Disney.)
Stop-mo vet Mike Johnson describes what it like was co-directing the groundbreaking Corpse Bride with Tim Burton in this AWN exclusive.
Veteran TV publicity exec James Anderson joins Cartoon Network as vp of public relations, overseeing external and internal communications supporting the domestic Cartoon Network brand, including the flagship television network and its sister services, Adult Swim and Boomerang; and Cartoonnetwork.com.
Cookie Jar Entertainment, the entertainment arm of Cookie Jar Group, is expanding its U.S. Operations with the appointment of Lisa Tanzer to vp, U.S. marketing, and André Lake Mayer to vp, U.S. licensing.
Leading post-production boutique Post Logic Studios has hired noted feature film colorist Sheri Eisenberg for its Hollywood-based Digital Intermediate team. Eisenberg, who is proficient on Post Logics Grass Valley Spirit 4K, da Vinci 2K and Pogle, previously worked at Laser Pacific Media Corp.
Beth Minehart has been upped from svp, international integration and planning, to svp, international on-demand licensing for NBC Universal Television Distribution. Minehart will oversee on-demand licensing for NBC Universal's product outside of the U.S. and Canada. She will focus on driving significant revenue growth in the burgeoning on-demand arena, including pay-per-view, video-on-demand and subscription-on-demand through traditional and new platforms including cable, satellite, digital terrestrial television, Internet and mobile.
Alison Homewood has joined HIT Entertainment as evp, worldwide television distribution. Based in the companys London office, her focus will be on global TV licensing and co-production of existing brands such as BOB THE BUILDER, THOMAS & FRIENDS, PINGU, BARNEY and ANGELINA BALLERINA, as well as the development of further TV content.
Radium, the growing artist-owned visual effects house based in Santa Monica and San Francisco, recently added two new talents to its roster. Jon Townley, who will serve dual roles as artist manager and creative director, has held top positions in numerous digital studios from MetroLight to Sony Pictures ImageWorks to L-Squared. Jeff Blodgett, incoming exec producer, brings with him 15 years of invaluable post-production experience.
Patricia Wyatt has been named president, HIT North America, based in the companys New York City office where she will be responsible for expanding the existing consumer products and home entertainment businesses for HITs classic preschool brands, including Bob the Builder, Thomas & Friends, Barney, Pingu and Angelina Ballerina, as well as launching new content. She will also serve on HITs executive management board.
Susan Fleishman has been named evp, corporate communications, Warner Bros. Entertainment, responsible for overseeing and coordinating all corporate communications strategies and activities on a worldwide basis, including media relations (entertainment, business and general), employee communications (working with the Studios human resources team), governmental relations and executive communications. She will assumes her new post on Sept. 26, 2005.
Randy Thom has been appointed as director of sound design at Skywalker Sound. Thom, recipient of last years Academy Award for Best Sound Effects Editing on THE INCREDIBLES, and previously a Best Sound Oscar for THE RIGHT STUFF, began working for Lucasfilm in 1979. His film projects this year include HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE, as well as additional sound design for WAR OF THE WORLDS. A highly prolific sound designer and mixer, Thom is equally at home with animation or live action, with an additional 11 Oscar nominations during his career.
Ken Faier has departed Alliance Atlantis to join Nerd Corps Entertainment as president, responsible for the overall management and administration of the company's library of existing and new intellectual properties, including arranging financing, co-production partners, distribution and licensing and merchandising deals as well as work with the management team to oversee expansion of the companys infrastructure into a full service global player in the childrens market.