4Kids Entertainment (New York, New York, 212-590-2100): Having spent her formative years on the consumer products team at The Jim Henson Company, Betts FitzGerald is perfectly positioned to take on her new role as VP of licensing and marketing at 4Kids, where she’ll manage a portfolio of IP that includes Jim Henson Designs. Prior to the move, FitzGerald served as VP of outbound licensing at American Greetings.
ABC TV (Sydney, Australia, 61-2-8333-1500): Centralizing its kids programming activities under one manager for the first time, Australia’s mighty pubcaster has tapped Tim Brooke-Hunt to produce and acquire content as executive head of children’s. Brooke-Hunt is one of the country’s most experienced producers in the children’s genre, and he’s been working as an indie recently. But he’s also done stints at Yoram-Gross and Beyond and counts Blinky Bill, Yakkity Yak and Old Tom amongst the projects he’s had a hand in. As a member of the Screen Producers Association of Australia Council, Brooke-Hunt also lobbied for a review of the C-Drama regulations and a new 20% Producer Rebate for children’s dramas (see ‘Changes for Aussie kids drama funding illicit mixed response’ on page 46).
Alicom Licensing (Stockholm, Sweden, 46-8702-2438): The Scandi-navian licensing agency whose clients include Fox L&M, Paramount Licensing, New Line and DIC Entertainment has promoted Martin Aberg from brand manager to executive brand manager. In his new position, Aberg will work with senior management to grow the company’s domestic business. He will also supervise a team of brand managers that includes recent hire David Jensen, who was recruited straight out of Lund University with a master’s degree in Business Administration and Economics.
Atlantyca Entertainment (Milan, Italy, 39-24-300-1029): Having probably just recovered from making The Simpsons Movie, on which she served as animation associate producer, Karen Miller will now oversee US-based animation production for the Italian studio. Her first project will be the Geronimo Stilton animated series Atlantyca is co-producing with Toronto, Canada’s 9 Story Entertainment. In addition to shepherding the show through development and production, Miller will also oversee its US distribution and consumer products activity. Miller spent the last 18 years at Warner Bros., most recently picking up Firehouse Tales, The Hip Hop Kidz and Harry and His Bucketful of Dinosaurs as VP of property acquisitions for Warner Bros. Consumer Products.
Blueprint Entertainment (Toronto, Canada, 416-913-0998): Elizabeth Madariaga has been promoted from manager to executive director of development, moving from L.A. to Toronto to be closer to the shows under her purview. The new role will see her develop prime-time and children’s series, as well as overseeing production on Iggy Arbuckle, which debuted on Canadian animation net Teletoon in July. Blueprint is about to get started on a broad slate of younger-skewing co-productions hand-picked by Blueprint Kids head Frank Saperstein (see ‘Strictly co-pros: Blueprint Kids looking for a few good partners’ on page 58).
Cartoon Network (New York, New York, 212-275-6327): In a move that is sure to be duplicated in the industry, Cartoon Network has established a new position overseeing its efforts in the realm of social responsibility. And veteran programmer and former junior high school teacher Alice Cahn has been deemed the ideal candidate to pioneer its parameters. The role will put Cahn squarely in charge of providing guidance, content direction, design coordination and implementation of outreach and social responsibility initiatives across the net’s many platforms. Cahn joined Cartoon Network in January 2004 from The Markle Foundation in New York, where she served as MD of Interactive Media for Children.
Cookie Jar Entertainment (Toronto, Canada, 416-977-3238): The Jar has brought in producer Susie Grondin to work on a number of shows in its pipeline, including Will & Dewitt, a 2-D animated series about a boy who befriends an mischievous frog in his own backyard. Grondin has more than nine years of experience working in the Canadian animation industry as an independent producer, and picked up an Emmy for her work on Rolie Polie Olie.
Kidz Entertainment (Copenhagen, Denmark, 453-355-6100): As the dust continues to settle in the wake of a merger between Kidz Entertainment and EEMC earlier this year, Kidz has bumped Anna Lisa McBride way up from VP of licensing to CEO. McBride is looking forward to supervising brand management and development in her new job, as well as bridging the gap between brand management and sales.
Speaking of sales, former Alicom Licensing brand manager Gabriel Sturm has changed teams to join Kidz as VP of sales and marketing for the Nordic region. He will work out of the Stockholm office, a new Swedish base that was set up so the company could work more closely with key clients in the territory, such as H&M.
Nickelodeon Europe (London, England, 44-207-478-5200): Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products has appointed Arwed-Ralf Grenzbach as VP of video games, music and special products. This brand-new role is a clear indicator of NVCP’s intention to strengthen its position in the rapidly expanding interactive and music arena. Based out of London, Grenzbach is charged with launching, managing and growing the division’s business by negotiating licensing deals and supporting a team of licensees on a day-to-day basis across Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. He will also seek to leverage the company’s assets to create non-retail-based businesses around premiums and promotions.
Sticky Pictures (Sydney, Australia, 61-2-9400-9594): In a round of musical chairs, company co-founder Donna Andrews has stepped into the exec producer position vacated by Tim Brooke-Hunt, who joins ABC TV as head of children’s. One of Andrews’ highest priorities is to get the company’s new 52 x 12-minute animated series Pearlie, based on Wendy Harmer’s series of books, off the ground with Canadian co-producer Nelvana.
Worldwide Biggies (New York, New York, 212-654-7521): With its first production The Naked Brothers Band on-air and making a stir in consumer products circles, the digital entertainment studio has lined up a high-profile executive team to help steer the company through the choppy waters of new media. And Biggies founder and CEO Albie Hecht dipped into his former stomping grounds at Nickelodeon/MTV to staff up.
Overseeing day-to-day studio operations, creative development and marketing is Nick alum and former SVP and creative director at Oxygen Media, Scott Webb. He’s joined by chief technology officer Christopher Romero, who comes straight from Nickelodeon Online, where he helped establish Nick.com, NickJr.com and TVLand.com as VP of technical production. Blaine Graboyes, meanwhile, has been brought in as the leading media architect and will spearhead interactive game production and software development. Most recently, Graboyes established Outside Your Box, a producer of exclusive content for Microsoft’s Xbox Live site. And lastly, Kari Kim has been bumped up to VP of production and development. Kim has been working at Biggies since its launch last year and helped to get Naked Brothers off the ground.