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.
John Michaeli talks with DIC head Andy Heyward about changes in kid audiences and how that has impacted his company.
Brown Johnson, formerly evp of Nick Jr., has been promoted to the newly created position of exec creative director of preschool television, Nickelodeon Television. Johnson will oversee development and production for all preschool programming across Nickelodeon networks, including Nick Jr. and NOGGIN.
Jessica Samet has been promoted from vp to the newly-created position of svp of original programming and series development for MTV in Los Angeles, responsible for developing and overseeing original long-form original programming, working closely with scheduling, marketing, communications, and advertising teams at the network.
THE INCREDIBLES director/writer Brad Bird has gain new representation at the William Morris Agency, reports VARIETY. This year, Bird garnered two Oscar nominations for original screenplay and animated feature. Previously, Bird directed the animated classic IRON GIANT and served as a writer on THE SIMPSONS, KING OF THE HILL and the Steven Spielberg-produced AMAZING STORIES. Bird was previously repped at CAA.
Bill Desowitz talks with visual effects supervisors from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, I, Robot and Spider-Man 2 about each others work.
Butch Hartman, the award-winning creator and exec producer of THE FAIRLY ODDPARENTS and DANNY PHANTOM, has signed a multi-year deal with Nickelodeon Networks to create original animated and live-action programming for Nickelodeon and Noggin.
Award-winning editorial, visual effects and design company Version2 has promoted editor Tina Mintus to partner. Mintus, who has been with owner/editor Vito DeSario for eight years, will head the company with DeSario and be responsible for new recruitment.
Digital-Tutors has added Joe Turner and Sunder Iyer to its growing team. Joe brings a background in concept illustration, 3D imaging, cartooning and more than 15 years of experience in a wide range of artistic fields. As sr. art director, Turner will lead the creative direction of Digital-Tutors and visualization of its expanding lines. Iyer brings a background as a technical 3D artist with expertise in rigging, dynamics and game development. As the sr. 3D curriculum developer, Iyer will design curriculum and interactive solutions for Digital-Tutors.
MGM Home Entertainment Group, a unit of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. has promoted Ian Sutherland from svp to evp, international theatrical distribution and marketing.
"Ian has done important work overseeing our overseas distribution and marketing efforts in conjunction with our partner, Twentieth Century Fox Intl," said David Bishop, president of the group. "This well deserved promotion recognizes that work."
Brenda Freeman joins VH1 as vp of consumer marketing, overseeing all off-channel marketing for the company. She will work closely with many facets of VH1 including the integrated marketing, ad sales, research and press groups to maximize consumer awareness of VH1's networks, platforms and initiatives.
Bob Picunko has been promoted to director, business development and production for Buena Vista Games, Inc. (BVG), the interactive entertainment arm of The Walt Disney Co.
Reporting to Michael Ryder, vp of worldwide production for BVG, Picunko will be responsible for strengthening relationships with videogame developers and content creators as well as focus on assessing new game concepts for the company and drive the process of identifying, developing and growing new strategic business relationships with independent developers.
Daniel Taylor has been appointed president of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., following completion of the sale of MGM to the consortium now acquiring the film/TV studio and its library. The investor group consists of Providence Equity Partners, Texas Pacific Group, DLJ Merchant Banking, Sony Corp. of America and Comcast Corp.