Cyma Zarghami, who has been instrumental in making Nickelodeon the highest-rated basic cable network in total day ratings for more than eight straight years, has been promoted to the newly created position of President, Nickelodeon Television. In her new role, Zarghami will oversee all of Nickelodeon's television businesses, adding the digital channel Noggin/The N, which is now in 40 million homes, to her responsibilities, while continuing to oversee Nickelodeon Games & Sports (GAS) and Nicktoons.
Vfx artist and editor Jay Tilin has joined R!OT Manhattan. Tilin, employing both Quantel's Henry and Discreet Logic's Fire, is known for his award-winning spot work as well as his long-form and music video finishing.
Andy Boyd is on board the Framestore CFC commercials team as senior technical director. Boyd joins the company after several highly successful years at Glassworks, where he worked on a broad variety of projects, from conventional CG character animations such as the Kit-E-Kat cat, through edgier avant-garde work for Chris Cunningham's Monitor-award winning MONKEY DRUMMER video, to more abstract work such as the extraordinary faux-microscopic life forms seen in the award-winning video for Bjork's NATURE IS ANCIENT.
THQ Inc. is expanding international operations with two new strategic appointments: Ian Curran, previously md of THQ UK, to the newly created position of vp, European Publishing and Martin Good as vp of Asia-Pacific Publishing.
Curran will oversee the company's expanding European operations including offices in England, Germany and France. Since joining THQ in late 2000, Curran has played a key role in growing the company's international revenues to more than 25% of its global sales.
Interactive ad vet Francesca Cohn joined Ascent Media Creative Services Group in the newly-created post of director of strategic development, where will work to identify and develop new and innovative ways for advertising agencies and leading advertisers to make use of the creative and technical services offered by Ascent Media Creative Services companies, particularly Company 3, R!OT and POP Sound.
Fox Television Ent. Group chairman Sandy Grushow announced on Jan. 5, 2004 he had resigned his post effective immediately to launch a Twentieth Century Fox-based production company called Phase Two. His contract was set to expire in summer 2004.
John S. Chen, chairman/ceo/president of Sybase Inc., will join the Walt Disney Co. board of directors in January 2004, as ex-members Roy Disney and Stan Gold continue to publicly criticize the board and its actions.
Animation veteran Stephanie Graziano (DreamWorks, Fox Kids, BKN Studios) joins North Hollywood-based Gang of 7 Animation as the eighth member of its power-packed team.
She will remain active with Graz Entertainment and there are no plans to change the name of Gang of 7 Animation (G7animation.com).
Allyson Taylor has joined the Starz corporate communications department in the newly created position of manager of public relations. Reporting to Eric Becker, exec director of corporate communications for Starz, Taylor will be responsible for coordinating and implementing local public relations campaigns, including working with cable and satellite affiliates to generate publicity for Starz On Demand, STARZ! HD and other advanced new product offerings from Starz as they enter the marketplace. She will also lend PR support for Starz promotional campaigns, sweepstakes, as well as other select consumer and affiliate activities and special events.
Taylor was director of communications for Dave & Buster's Inc., an operator of large-format entertainment complexes based in Dallas. Prior to that, she held a communications manager/asst vp position for Bank One.
Producer Donald De Line has been appointed vice chairman, Motion Picture Group and president, Paramount Pictures, effective Jan. 5, 2004. De Line replaces John Goldwyn, who is stepping down to become a producer at the studio in the wake of criticism that the feature slate has not only performed below expectation at the box office (including the disappointing LARA CROFT sequel), but also lacks Oscar prestige. Reporting to Sherry Lansing, chairman, Paramount Pictures, De Line is expected to pump up and diversify the studio's feature production slate during this three-year stint.
Kathy Vrabeck has been promoted to president of Activision Publishing and will oversee Activision's product development activities worldwide, including research and development and product acquisitions, as well as the company's global brand management operation. The reorganization also see Larry Goldberg exiting as evp of Worldwide Studios.
Veteran animator Becky Bristow has been named chair of the Digital Arts and Design program in the Software School of Beijing University, China. Bristow reports she is busy creating the curriculum and building the new graduate digital arts program
Entertainment Rights in London has made a raft of new appointments, starting with Anya Hollis, promoted to director of marketing and consumer products, responsible for the strategic licensing and marketing of the company's portfolio of brands. Julie King becomes group PR manager on Jan. 1, 2004 and Jennie Saul will be promoted to the newly created role of head of live events on this date.
Kevin Mullican has been named cto for iO Film, a technologically advanced, full-service digital film finishing facility specializing in film and video projects from every sector of the entertainment industry.
VFX industry veteran Jeff Ross has joined Hollywood-based visual effects shop Eden FX, in the newly created position of evp.
Ross has built an extensive career guiding, managing and overseeing the growth of numerous successful, high-end post-production companies. For the past two years, he served as evp/coo of Sunset Digital, a high definition facility specializing in feature film mastering, digital restoration, linear and non-linear editing and DVD compression and authoring.
Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI) has appointed two key executives, Ross Pollack as svp of business development, Asia, and John Fukunaga, svp of sales planning.
Andrew Maltz, former president/ceo of Avica Technology Corp., has been named director of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' new Science and Technology Council.
DC Comics has named Gregory Noveck to the newly formed post of svp, creative affairs. He will oversee the exploitation of the DC characters in feature films and television at Warner Bros. and New Line as well as developing outside creative alliances. The bi-coastal exec will report to DC publisher and president Paul Levitz.
Michael Lynton was named chairman/ceo of Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), filling the coveted position vacated by the retiring John Calley. In addition, vice chairman Amy Pascal was promoted to chairman of the Motion Picture Group at SPE in a further integration of global businesses and digital media, according to Howard Stringer, chairman/ceo of Sony Corp. of America and vice chairman of Sony Corp. Lynton, who had been president, Time Warner International; president, AOL International, and ceo, AOL Europe, since 2000, will be headquartered in Culver City, California.
Bill Desowitz sits down with Tim Burton and talks with the director about Big Fish and the pros and cons of a digital world.
Animation exec Toper Taylor and longtime USC School Of Fine Arts supporter Putter Pence have been named co-chairs has named of the University of Southern California School of Fine Arts Board of Councilors for a two-year term beginning January 2004.At the same time, Craig Jacobson and Ann Ehringer have been appointed to serve as councilors on the 12-person board for three-year terms.
Buena Vista International Inc. upped four of its key marketing and publicity exec directors to vp: Maggie Todd (international publicity), Donald Evans (marketing and promotions), Mari Gastineau (marketing/creative print services) and Ticole Richards (marketing/creative film services).
Samantha Maltin has been promoted to vp, business development, promotions marketing at Nickelodeon, responsible for developing on- and off-channel marketing and promotional opportunities for new business advertising sales partners and collaborating with Nickelodeon Ad Sales to secure non-traditional advertisers for the network. She also secures promotional partners for Nickelodeon Movies that can bring on- and off-channel support and leverage new or incremental media for the network.
Online vet Paul Myers has been hired by Fox Kids U.K. as online producer, responsible for the overall look, feel and content of the Fox Kids U.K. Website (www.foxkids.co.uk), development of the company's corporate Website (www.foxkidseurope.com), with additional responsibilities for marketing and customer relationship management in order to drive registration, build site loyalty and attract new users.