4Kids Entertainment (New York, New York, 212-758-7666): Director of home entertainment Joe Lyons will be hitting the pavement in search of new content that can play out in traditional kidvid formats and emerging platforms like wireless. Lyons will be acquiring and producing to build up a sizable home entertainment library, and he will continue to maximize opportunities for 4Kids’ existing TV properties. Lyons hails from Goodman Media, where he most recently served as account director, and he was director of home entertainment for Comedy Central before that.
Tony Reed will continue to guide brand development initiatives at U.S. retail, but as she steps into a new role as senior VP of corporate marketing, she’ll also be working more closely with the broadcast group to better promote licensed merchandise.
And after five years with the company, Colleen Nuskey has been promoted from director to VP of marketing and licensing.
BFC Berliner Film Companie (Los Angeles, California, 310-319-1351): The growing studio has tapped Roger Smith as a special advisor to help guide its expansion into the home video and DVD market. Smith, who opened his own media consulting firm in 1996 and counts Warner Home Video and London-based merchant bank Dresdner Kleinwort Capital as clients, will work with BFC on a non-exclusive basis.
Buena Vista Games (Burbank, California, 818-553-5000): Bob Picunko has been set up with a new remit to develop and strengthen relationships with indie game developers and assess new game concepts as director of business development and production. Picunko is a video game industry veteran, with 14 years experience working for companies including Acclaim, Griffen-Bacal/DDB for Hasbro Interactive and Interplay Entertainment. Picunko has been with Buena Vista for three years as director of marketing.
Cartoon Network Enterprises (Burbank, California, 818-729-4232): Lisa Weger is adding the mother of all licensing territories to her purview, moving up to VP of U.S. and Latin America consumer products. As such, Weger will map out brand strategies for Cartoon’s original properties in these regions, as well as supervising licensee execution and liaising with Time Warner companies doing business on behalf of Cartoon. Weger used to focus her energies south of the border as VP of Latin America consumer products for the Cartoon Network Off-Channel Commerce Group, which was replaced by CNE last year.
Cartoon Network UK (London, England, 44-207-693-1036): Nibs Dearsley has resurfaced in the kids business as marketing director for Turner Broadcasting, and she’ll take charge of promoting channel and programming brands for Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Toonami. Dearsley has been around the block in British broadcasting, having previously worked for Jetix Europe as head of marketing and Nick UK as marketing manager.
DIC Entertainment (Burbank, California, 818-955-5400): Nancy Fowler has been upped from executive VP to president of worldwide consumer products, a new position at the animation studio. In addition to managing the fall consumer products rollout of Trollz, Fowler will be scoping the international market to acquire properties that her team can develop into licensed merch programs.
Discovery (Silver Spring, Maryland, 240-662-2000): Frank Rosales will head up the company’s retail and licensing division, which has been reborn as Discovery Commerce. Rosales has served as the unit’s acting president for the past year, and under his guidance the Discovery Channel Stores, e-commerce and direct businesses all posted double-digit sales increases for holiday 2004. Discovery’s global licensing business also achieved profitability for the first time last year.
Disney ABC Cable Networks Group (Burbank, California, 818-569-7500): Robin Agranoff has switched coasts, leaving her director of programming and operations position at Discovery Kids to join the Disney Channel as director of program planning and acquisitions. As part of her new job, Agranoff will plan and schedule Disney’s prime-time block for kids six to 11 and tweens nine to 14, as well as overseeing all of the channel’s acquisitions.
DreamWorks Animation (Glendale, California, 818-695-3200): In the wake of her husband Brad Globe’s departure to head up Warner Bros. Consumer Products, Anne Globe will now shoulder more responsibility for the licensing side of the studio’s business as head of worldwide consumer products and promotion. Anne’s promotional prowess is well established; working as head of marketing and promotions, she is credited with pulling in more than US$1 million in promotional support for Shrek, Shrek 2 and Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, as well as locking down multi-picture deals with Burger King and General Mills. Now she’ll also be the mastermind behind all consumer products programs for the studio’s animated and live-action feature films.
Marathon International (Paris, France, 33-1-4434-6600): Ex-VIP exec Patricia DeWilde has joined Marathon as director of international licensing.
MTV Networks Latin America (Miami, Florida, 305-535-3700): Proving his mettle by coming up with a content distribution strategy that increased Nick’s penetration in the region by 98% over the last five years, Pierluigi Gazzolo has been upped from senior VP of distribution to managing director. He will now be responsible for guiding the business and creative development of MTVN’s blockbuster channel brands in more than 20 Latin American countries.
Nickelodeon Asia Pacific (Singapore, 65-6221-8166): Having cemented local production relationships in Australia and launched the Kids Choice Awards and Nick Jr. Down Under, Nick Australia GM Catherine Nebauer is moving on to new challenges on a wider playing field. Relocating to Singapore, Nebauer will be developing the broadcaster’s Eastern operations as senior VP and president of Nickelodeon Asia Pacific. Partnering with Nick’s 24-hour nets in India, Japan, China, Southeast Asia and Australia, Nebauer will help further entrench the Nick brand through programming content and marketing initiatives.
Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products’ new VP of Asia, Indra Suharjono, will be working out of the same office. Coming off a stint as VP and deputy GM of Asia Pacific for Turner Entertainment, Suharjono has been charged with establishing an Asian merch division, focusing in particular on expanding business in China, Japan and Indonesia.
Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products (New York, New York, 212-258-8000): Division president Leigh Anne Brodsky continues to reshape her executive ranks, promoting Nancy Wolpert from senior director to VP of home video/DVD and Lisa Silverman-Meyers from director of e-commerce and business development for Nickelodeon Online to VP of strategic planning and marketing services.
Nickelodeon Television (New York, New York, 212-258-8000): With preschool hits including Blue’s Clues, Dora the Explorer and LazyTown on her score sheet, Brown Johnson is ready to take on a wider remit. So as executive creative director of preschool television, she’ll now be applying her development and production talents to preschool projects for all Nick networks, including commercial-free diginet Noggin. Johnson was previously responsible for overseeing Nick Jr. as executive VP of the block, and she will continue to do so as part of her new role.
Scholastic Entertainment (New York, New York, 212-343-7500): Seeking to secure its own underwriting for Maya & Miguel, Scholastic has hired Katherine Benson as director of national TV sponsorship sales. Benson will focus on convincing clients interested in reaching moms and kids to sponsor 15-second messages before and after the animated show airs on PBS. Benson knows the broadcaster well, having most recently held the same position at PBS’s Washington, DC affiliate station WETA.
Simon & Schuster (New York, New York, 212-698-7000): Big Tent Entertainment president Steven Weitzen has left the licensing agency to join S&S’s new merchandise division as senior VP and publisher. The publisher set up the unit to make a move into the lucrative category of coloring and activity books.
Universal Pictures (Universal City, California, 818-777-1000): To helm the company’s efforts in the family DVD arena, Universal Pictures has poached Glenn Ross from Lion’s Gate Family Home Entertainment, where he served as president. As GM and executive VP of the newly created Universal Studios Home Entertainment Family Productions unit, Ross will develop, produce and acquire family-skewing live-action feature films and animation.
Zizzle (Bannockburn, Illinois, 847-948-1600): Three former Tiger Electronics execs have launched a new company that will specialize in developing and manufacturing tech toys, leaning heavily on entertainment licenses. Zizzle is the brainchild of Tiger co-founder Roger Shiffman and Hong Kong manufacturing entrepreneur Jeff Hsieh. Filling out Zizzle’s upper management ranks are chief marketing officer Marc Rosenberg, who recently worked with Play Along Toys on the relaunch of the Cabbage Patch Kids, and executive VP of product development Patty Jackson, who worked on HitClips and VideoNow during her 10 years at Tiger.
Zizzle has already signed its first license for role-play toys based on The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, a live-action flick from Disney that will debut worldwide in December. Zizzle is producing character-based SKUs including an Aslan glove with roaring action and light effects, and an Edmund role-play set with a sound- and light-animated shield.