Cecilia Persson is going to have her hands full over the next year as she steps into the new job as VP of programming, acquisitions and presentation for Turner’s four U.K. kidsnets, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Toonami and Cartoon Network Too. She started at CN in 2005 as director of acquisitions, scooping up shows for broadcast across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. A few of her key acquisitions included Storm Hawks (Nerd Corps) and King Arthur’s Disasters (Zenith/Cake Entertainment). She’ll retain those duties and take on responsibility for overseeing the programming and presentation teams and program scheduling.
As a first order of business, Persson is tinkering with the scheduling and content on the four nets to insure the program offerings complement each other. ‘All of our channels are based mainly around boy-skewing animation content,’ she says. ‘We’re trying to broaden the audience a bit and give it sort of a contrast across the channels.’
One of the first moves is to add more live-action to Toonami. She’s looking for gender-neutral tween live-action comedies. The net is scoring big with live-action dramas such as Southern Star’s Blue Water High, so she wants lighter fare to supplement the sked.
Persson is also devoting considerable energy to Cartoon Network Too’s Cartoonito preschool block launching this month. Because CN doesn’t produce its own preschool series, the initial rollout is stocked with acquisitions including Barney (HIT Entertainment) and Fluffy Gardens (Monster Animation). The sked is currently set, but Persson’s viewing the initial offering as an opp to test audience likes and dislikes.
‘The U.K. market is pretty busy when it comes to preschool,’ she says. ‘So we’re going to see what works and go after some of the same material.’ Persson will be heading to MIP Jr. and MIPCOM with initial results in hand that will shape her shopping plans for the preschool block next year.