With contract negotiations coming to an impasse with company owner and board chairman Phil Knight, Jeff Farnath, ceo of Vinton Studios, will be leaving the Portland, Ore.-based animation house. Bob Harold, a Vinton board member and 18-year Nike Inc. finance exec, will act as interim CEO until Farnath can find a permanent replacement. Farnath will remain under contract with the house as a consultant.
Quick on the heels of the news earlier this week that Fox Broadcasting Co. entertainment chief Gail Berman ankled her post at the network to become a top creative player at Paramount Pictures, comes the announcement that Peter Liguori has been named to replace her as president, entertainment. Liguori will be responsible for all FOX program development and scheduling, as well as marketing, business affairs and promotions.
Ex-Disney TV Intl chief David Hulbert has found a lovely new home to head as chief exec of Hallmark International Channel network. The network itself is taking up a new home with Sparrowhawk, the media group that is in the process with Providence Equity Partners and 3i of buying the Hallmark Intl Channel from Crown Media Holdings.
The Hallmark International Channel network has more than 60 million subscribers worldwide, the international rights to more than 580 titles in the Crown Media library and a state-of-the-art broadcast facility in Denver, Colorado.
Buena Vista International Television (BVITV) has promoted Catherine Powell to sales director, U.K. & Ireland. She will be responsible for leading the U.K. free and pay TV distribution of BVITV s portfolio of entertainment, which includes drama and comedy network series such as DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES and LOST, Disney branded kids content, movies (such as the upcoming THE HITCHHIKER S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY) and ABC News programming. BVITV also services the distribution of the Jetix portfolio of programming.
Fox Filmed Entertainment (FFE) has promoted Matthew Glotzer to the newly created post of vp, digital media, responsible for developing content distribution opportunities across a wide range of new and emerging technology platforms, as well as actively pursuing long-term initiatives with major IT, consumer electronics and telecommunications companies. He reports to digital media president, Peter Levinsohn and will work closely with the Fox Filmed Ent. Groups strategic planning, engineering, content protection and distribution groups.
Unexpectedly, Fox Broadcasting Co. entertainment president Gail Berman will ankle her post at network to become a top creative player at Paramount Pictures under newly appointed chairman/ceo Brad Grey, reports the trades. The details of her new post have not been released.
In a statement, the studio said, "Paramount Pictures is in discussions with Gail Berman for a senior creative role at the studio. We hope to conclude the discussions shortly."
Walt Disney Branded Television has promoted James Neal to vp, programming, Disney Channel UK, responsible for leading the programming teams for Disney Channel, Playhouse Disney and Toon Disney. Neal will also oversee the program planning of general entertainment channel abc1.
Continuing to grow its directorial roster, Thomas Winter Cooke has signed two of the U.K.s best young commercial directors, Seamus Masterson and Elliot Hegarty, as well as well known documentarian and commercial filmmaker Martin Brierley, for exclusive representation in the U.S.
Veteran e-commerce and publishing exec Seth D. Radwell joins Scholastic as evp and president of e-Scholastic, the online information and e-commerce division.
Radwell was president, marketing and editorial group for Bookspan, the premier direct marketer of general interest and specialty book clubs, where he was responsible for all editorial, marketing, media and Internet functions, as well as new business and product development.
DICs Growing Worldwide Consumer Products Division has promoted 10-year DIC veteran Ryan Gagerman to vp, International Consumer Products for DIC Entertainment. It also named Lorne Bloch, director of Licensing and Stephanie Mente, manager of International Consumer Products.
Herb Scannell and Bill Roedy have been appointed to the positions of vice chairman, MTV Networks and president, Nickelodeon Networks and vice chairman, MTV Networks and president, MTV Networks International, respectively.
Veteran kids marketer Nibs Dearsley joins Turner Broadcasting as marketing director, overseeing U.K. commercial kids channels, Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Toonami. She will manage, develop and lead the U.K. marketing team, while reporting to vp of network services, Joanne Barlow.
Previously head of marketing at Jetix throughout Europe and marketing manager of Nickelodeon in the U.K., Dearsley had a solid track record promoting kids' brands before earning a place with the market leader.
A&E Television Networks (AETN) announced that after 21 years at the helm of the company, Nickolas Davatzes will be stepping down effective April 1, 2005. Abbe Raven, who is currently president of A&E Network-USA, will succeed Davatzes to become the second president/ ceo in the companys history. Davatzes will assume the title of ceo emeritus and, in transitioning to retirement, will remain an adviser to AETN from its offices in Stamford, Connecticut. His is the longest tenure of any cable programming chief executive in the industrys history.
It was a busy weekend for the Walt Disney Co. board of directors as it announced March 13, 2005, that Robert A. Iger had been unanimously elected ceo, replacing Michael D. Eisner, effective Sept. 30. He will succeed Eisner, current ceo, who announced his intention to retire in September with a year remaining in his contract, for which hell be paid.
To amplify Showtime Networks' efforts to develop strategic product integration relationships that will complement its marketing campaigns for its original programming, Showtime has hired Penny Reiss in the newly created position of vp, product integration. Reiss, who will be based out of Showtime Networks' Los Angeles office, will be responsible for coordinating the day-to-day responsibilities associated with product integration. This includes forging product alliances, commercial tie-ins and merchandising opportunities with outside companies.
Karl W. Homburg (48) has been appointed finance director at TV-Loonland, following Selma Käppel, who has been chairman of the managing board at TV-Loonland since Jan. 21, 2005. Homburg, who answers directly to the managing board, oversees mergers, acquisitions, finance and controlling.
The production/distribution companys finances came into question earlier this year when TV-Loonland head Peter Voelkle left the company as shadows of tax evasion charges loom over him from the Munich district attorney's office.
Renowned director/screenwriter/storyboard artist/designer/animator Jorgen Klubien has been named a director of story for feature film at Vinton Studios where he will be responsible for developing animated feature film properties for the Portland-based entertainment studio, including his own original concepts as well as story ideas already in the Vinton pipeline.
Seamus O'Kane has left VTR to join The Mills transatlantic telecine team of Fergus McCall, Adam Scott, Paul Harrison, Jamie Wilkinson, Tom Poole and James Bamford.
OKane, who begins in April, has worked with award-winning directors Ivan Zacharias, Steve Reeves, Stuart Douglas, Chris Palmer, Vince Squibb and Tom Carty. Among his many recent credits are: Stella ENGLISH AIRMAN (Zacharias), HSBC EASY RIDER (Palmer) and Lynx KUNG FU ROMANTIC (Tom Carty).
Sony Corp. has created a new management structure designed to expand upon its core strengths as a global electronics, entertainment and technology company with Howard Stringer at the helm to unify the companys divisions.
Katja Reitemeyer, formerly of Avid and NXN Software, has joined Pipelinefx as vp of worldwide sales. Reitemeyer was one of the founders of NXN Software, makers of asset management software Alienbrain, which was acquired by Avid last year for $44 million. Reitemeyer will be based in Los Angeles, where a large part of the market for the companys flagship product qube! Remote Control exists. She will coordinate the companys sales thrust into the interactive entertainment and 3D animation markets worldwide.
Nancy Wolpert and Lisa Silverman-Meyers have been named vp, Home Video/DVD, and vp Strategic Planning and Marketing Services, respectively, of Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products.
"Nancy and Lisa are well-respected and talented executives and I am extremely proud to have them in the Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products group," said Leigh Anne Brodsky, president, Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products. "Their new roles acknowledge their expertise and contribution to the success of the network."
Andy Stout looks at the impressive greenscreen and other CG work that went into the 15-minute short from Stephen St. Leger and James Mather. Includes QuickTime movie clips!
Jamie Kershaw has been named vp of business and legal affairs at The Jim Henson Co. He will be responsible for the business and legal affairs of all U.S. film, TV and ancillary activities, and will report to Peter Schube, president and coo.
Responsible for promotion and merchandising campaigns for all DreamWorks SKG event films since joining the company in 1996, Anne Globe has been named head of Worldwide Consumer Products and Promotions for DreamWorks Animation. She will be responsible for overseeing worldwide brand planning and promotion for all DreamWorks properties, with a focus on developing and implementing marketing strategies for merchandising and promotional programs in support of the studios animated and live-action feature film releases and television animation.
BFC Berliner Film Company has named veteran industry executive Roger R. Smith as special advisor to help launch the companys expansion into the home video and DVD markets. Smith will work closely with Rainer Soehnlein, ceo of BFC Berliner Film Companie Distribution GmbH and Sonja Brugger, co-ceo of BFCs distribution arm.