Former FX executive, who helped launch network’s ‘Cake’ animation and live-action anthology series, will oversee animated feature and short film slate for J. J. Abrams' production company, including Dr. Seuss’ ‘Oh, the Places You’ll Go!’
J. J. Abrams' Bad Robot has just announced they've brought on John Agbaje in the role of Senior Vice President, Animation, where he will work across both the company’s film and television groups on animation projects, including the upcoming feature, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, based on the Dr. Seuss book, and the recently announced animated short, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, based on Charlie Mackesy’s book.
Agbaje, who has built a reputation as a strong creative executive, joins Bad Robot from FX, where he was responsible for developing television projects across animation and live-action. The announcement was made by Hannah Minghella, President of Film, to whom he will report.
“John’s arrival marks an exciting new chapter for Bad Robot,” said Minghella. “With his taste, passion, and creative vision, we are thrilled to further our animation ambitions and expand the landscape of our storytelling.”
“My career began with Peter Rice and I'm thankful to have had a true role model as an executive, leader, and person during my early days at Fox/Disney,” said Agbaje. “I'll be forever grateful for the time I spent at FX and the skills I learned from Kate, Gina, John, and the brilliant development team. Their evolved perspective on storytelling and always putting the artist first will be a guiding light in my work as a producer.”
“I've long admired that Katie, J. J. and Brian built Bad Robot as an artist led company with the ability to balance original projects with the most storied IP,” he added. “Applying the ambition that has expanded Bad Robot into games, music, and publishing, to animation is incredibly exciting. At its best, animation is a direct tap into a creator’s imagination. I’m excited to bring my perspective as an artist and an executive to this visionary company as we take the medium of animation to even more diverse and surprising places. I'm thrilled to be working with Hannah, Ben and Rachel on this great initiative.”
Agbaje brings to Bad Robot a multidisciplinary career working on the creative and business sides of the animation field, having been both an artist and executive responsible for cultivating new talent and developing franchises. While at FX, Agbaje served as Director of Animation & Development, helping to launch the network’s more experimental show, Cake, a short form animated and live-action-comedy showcase. Agbaje, also had a hand in the hit comedy Dave, has developed more than 40 projects, including the short film Thirsty, starring Maya Rudolph and Jay Ellis, and Oh Jerome, No, which notched an Emmy nomination for its star Mamoudou Athie.
Bad Robot currently has an extensive slate of film projects in development under its WarnerMedia deal, including Warner Bros. collaboration on Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, plus projects with DC Entertainment, HBO Max, and Warner Animation Group. Bad Robot also has the thriller Lou, starring Allison Janney, at Netflix, as well as multiple projects at Paramount, including a live-action remake of Japanese director Makoto Shinkai’s beloved 2016 anime film, Your Name.
In TV and streaming episodic, Bad Robot’s critically acclaimed Lovecraft Country aired its finale on HBO this past fall; Little Voice is currently streaming on Apple TV+. The company’s hugely popular sci-fi thriller, Westworld, has been renewed for Season 4 on HBO, and Castle Rock is streaming all seasons on Hulu. Additionally, the company has Demimonde set up with HBO, as well as Lisey’s Story and My Glory Was I Have Such Friends set up with Apple TV+. Bad Robot also recently announced individual series production commitments for three new one-hour dramas with HBO Max including Duster, Overlook, and Untitled DC “Justice League Dark”.
Agbaje holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School and earned his M.B.A. at Harvard Business School.
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.