PBS KIDS Sprout, a new television and online provider of content devoted to preschool children and their parents and caregivers, has appointed Sandy Wax president of the network and Andrew Beecham has joined svp of programming. In addition, Diana Kerekes, vp/general counsel of content development for Comcast Corp., assumes a seat on the PBS KIDS Sprout board of directors after serving as acting gm for the network during its development and launch.
Viacom Inc. today (Nov. 22, 2005) announced the election of seven independent directors to the boards of the two new publicly traded companies that will be created following the separation of Viacom. Four directors join the board of CBS Corp. and three directors join the board of new Viacom, upon completion of the separation, is expected to occur by the end of 2005.
Eric Kops has been named svp, national publicity, Paramount Pictures, to lead the department in strategizing and executing national campaigns for the companys diverse slate of upcoming releases, including GET RICH OR DIE TRYING, AEON FLUX and YOURS MINE AND OURS. He will be based at the companys worldwide headquarters in Los Angeles.
Kops joins the Paramount team from MGM, where he led the campaigns on such commercial and critical hits as the James Bond installment DIE ANOTHER DAY, the LEGALLY BLONDE and BARBERSHOP series, HOTEL RWANDA, GHOST WORLD AND SAVED.
After 11 years overseeing Walt Disney Television Animation (WDTVA), ultimately as president, Barry Blumberg announced his resignation from the group. He will remain with the company through the end of January to aid in the integration of the WDTVA Group into Disney Channel Worldwide. An announcement concerning the restructuring of Walt Disney Television Animation and its integration into Disney Channel Worldwide will be forthcoming.
Cary Silver has been promoted to vp of production at Mike Young Productions (MYP), one of the largest animation studios in North America. He will continue in his role as producer on hit shows such as PET ALIEN and JAKERS! THE ADVENTURES OF PIGGLEY WINKS, among others. Additionally, he will work alongside and report to MYP/Taffy principals Mike Young, Bill Schultz and Liz Young about in-house productions as well as the continued development of international co-productions.
To build and enhance its production efforts, Universal Studios Home Ent. Family Prods. (USHEFP) has promoted Ellen Cockrill to svp, animation production and Patti Jackson to svp, live action production.
Jackson will continue to oversee the development and production of live-action family fare, while Cockrill will supervise all animated series and movies for the group. They both report to Glenn Ross, gm/evp, USHEFP and will be based at the studioâs Universal City headquarters.
On the heels of last months opening of Lucasfilm Animation Singapore, Barbara Robertson discusses the operation and production plans with gm Christian Kubsch.
Bruce Campbell has been upped to evp, business development for NBC Universal, replacing Brandon Burgess, who resigned as evp, business development & International Channels at NBC Universal and will join Paxson Communications Corp. as ceo.
With the holidays comes holiday parties. The Career Coach gives some quick tips on how to get more out of the festivities than just chips and dips.
Bill Desowitz chats with ILMs Joel Aron about the challenges of converting Chicken Little into the all-new Disney Digital 3-D process.
Rushes Postproduction Ltd. has signed visual effects artist Dave Kiddie.
He has built up an impressive list of credits over the last seven years, gaining extensive experience on high-end commercials for the likes of Coca-Cola and Barclays, as well as working on music videos for some of the worlds biggest artists, including Kylies Cant Get You Out Of My Head and The Streets Blinded by the Lights. He has also worked on slick and stylized feature films such as MEAN MACHINE and broadcast work for the BBC.
Michael Helfant joins Marvel Ent. Inc. as president/coo of the company's Marvel Studios division based in Beverly Hills.
Jeff Nodelman, the award-winning director and animator responsible for founding and building Noodlesoup Prods. into a leading independent animation studio in New York City, has joined NYC-based The Creative Group as creative director in charge of animation. Nodelman is charged with the formation of an animation studio infrastructure to develop, produce and market original animated brands for television, film and DVD.
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.