Cartoon Network (Atlanta, Georgia, 404-885-2263): Cartoon’s VP of on-air, Pola Changnon, is taking on additional duties as executive producer of program production. She’ll continue to manage the in-house design team and direct all of the IDs and promotional spots for Cartoon and Boomerang. But in addition, Changnon has been put in charge of producing a new 11-week Sunday night series that will showcase animated comedy shorts for tweens.
Celador International Kids (London, England, 44-207-845-6857): Picking up a crucial cog for making its children’s division run effectively, Celador has brought in Helen Blayney as senior sales manager. Blayney, who jumped over from a head of international sales position at Contender Entertainment Group, will be put to work straight away locking in global broadcasters for Roobarb & Custard and Tales of the Riverbank.
Cookie Jar Entertainment (Los Angeles, California, 323-954-4552): Kenneth Locker has been recruited to help guide the launch of DoodleBops into what he calls the ‘modern media ecosystem’ as senior VP of digital media. Since the property focuses on music and movement, Locker is working on setting up an on-line world with features like a Build-Your-Own-Instrument game, and he also sees a lot of opportunity in cell phones. Locker has been consulting since leaving his senior VP of digital media position at Comedy Central a couple years ago, but he’s happy to be shifting into the kids business because the two to 11 demo is completely fluent in the platforms he specializes in.
Discovery Communications (Silver Spring, Maryland, 240-662-2000): A recent victim of corporate restructuring at Sony Pictures Consumer Products, Michael Malone has already found a new position as VP of domestic licensing for Discovery. Wasting no time, Malone’s top Licensing Show priority will be Discovery Kids gem Darcy’s Wild Life, the second season of which will be stripped on Animal Planet in the fall. A core apparel deal is almost done, and Malone is looking to build a tween lifestyle program that encompasses sleepwear, accessories and gift/stationery products. He’ll also be working on developing a kids program for American Chopper with toys, handheld RC games, gifts & novelties and party goods.
Disney Channel (Burbank, California, 818-569-7500): Trading in London’s damp, pea-soup climate for the eternal sunshine of L.A., Jill Lindeman has joined the ABC Cable Networks marketing family as VP and creative director. The former BBC Broadcast senior account director will shift into directing on-air promotions for Disney Channel, Toon Disney, Jetix, Playhouse Disney and ABC Kids. And she’ll also oversee off-air promotional creative design for print, on-line and marketing materials.
Disney Publishing Worldwide (Paris, France, 33-1-6417-5000): With plans to expand its reach in countries including Russia, India and China, DPW has promoted Giorgio Stock from VP to VP and GM of global licensing.
Dynatech Action (Mississauga, Canada, 905-629-4919): Figuring into a strategic plan to expand its business to include toy manufacturing, Dynatech has recruited Greg Doherty to come up with new plaything concepts as director of product development and design. Doherty has worked in the toy biz for 16 years, with stints at both Kenner and Spin Master under his belt.
Harcourt Children’s Books (San Diego, California, 619-699-6851): In tandem with dropping its Gulliver Books imprint to consolidate all kids publishing under one brand, Harcourt is also shifting its editorial talent around. The shuffling has seen Allyn Johnston promoted from editorial director to editor-in-chief. And working out of the New York office, Gulliver’s former editorial director Elizabeth Van Doren steps into Johnston’s old role.
Jetix Europe (London, England, 44-207-805-7120): Having honed her channel promotion skills as European marketing manager for Walt Disney Television International, Nicole Morse is now hitting for another team as Jetix’s new marketing director. In addition to planning and implementing a pan-Euro marketing strategy, Morse will also take on branded events such as the Jetix Kids Cup soccer tournament.
MGA Entertainment (Van Nuys, California, 818-894-2525): Two top-tier execs from different sides of the kids business have joined the house of Bratz. The consumer products team gets a new VP of retail business development in Cindy Elfenbein, who was poached from DIC. Elfenbein spent a year immersed in building Strawberry Shortcake’s retail presence as executive director of retail consumer products for DIC, and her experience should now give Bratz some extra in-store mileage. In addition to scoring new accounts and building retail relationships, Elfenbein will be coordinating promotional partnerships between licensees and MGA.
On the screen side of the company’s business, ex-Disney TV creative director and producer Lisa Melbye has come aboard as director of entertainment. Melbye will focus on developing direct-to-video and TV vehicles for Bratz and Alien Racers.
Nelvana (Toronto, Canada, 416-588-5571): With distribution veteran Emma Petry shifting into a new development and co-production role, Nelvana’s overseas sales team will now be managed by Lynn Chadwick, who has been promoted from director of sales for Northern Europe to VP of European sales and distribution.
PorchLight Entertainment (Los Angeles, California, 310-477-8400): The company’s new senior VP of consumer products, Caren Shalek, is setting up a New York office from which to mastermind an L&M expansion plan. In-house properties Jay Jay the Jet Plane, Tutenstein and Four Eyes should keep Shalek busy enough over the next year, but she’ll also be managing rights to Amberwood Entertainment’s The Secret World of Benjamin Bear and Beyond’s New McDonald’s Farm. Shalek hails from Mattel/Fisher-Price, where she most recently served as VP of consumer products.
Scholastic (New York, New York, 212-343-6100): Executive VP and president of children’s book publishing and distribution Barbara Marcus has announced that she will step down after the July 16 release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, leaving an impressive legacy in her wake. In 22 years, Marcus has expanded Scholastic’s kids business to include trade, book clubs, book fairs and home continuities, and its annual revenues have increased tenfold from US$120 million in 1983 to roughly US$1.2 billion today (representing 60% of the publisher’s worldwide revenues). Lisa Holten is transitioning into Marcus’s position, and her experience as senior VP and publisher of Disney’s global children’s book division make her the perfect candidate to take the torch.
SG Footwear (Hackensack, New Jersey, 201-342-1200): It’s going to be a busy Licensing Show for Elisa Gangl. SG’s new VP of licensing and merchandising will be scouring the market for girls licenses to join Bratz in the company’s portfolio, as well as anything new in anime to appeal to boy consumers. Gangl, who used to work at Wormser as VP of licensing, will also take on the coordination of marketing and promotions with SG’s many retail partners.
VGI Entertainment (Great Missendon, England, 44-1494-837-881): Trading in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the various cute and cuddly animal characters in VGI’s TV property portfolio, former 4Kids UK licensing head Jane Forbes has joined the company as licensing director. Forbes will be charged with building programs around shows including Ebb & Flo (airing daily on Five in the U.K.) and Sergeant Stripes (averaging a 33% rating with kids four to six on the BBC).