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Tricon hires Frank Saperstein for kids & family division

The former eOne exec will spearhead a charge into animation and scripted programming for the Toronto-based company's kids division, after a focus on reality and event series.
July 30, 2014

Toronto, Canada-based Tricon Films & Television‘s The Next Star has returned for a seventh season on YTV, making the singing competition series Canada’s longest running TV talent series.

But now the indie producer is looking to move beyond a foundation in kids and family reality and event programming to increased animation and scripted fare.

And spearheading that kids and family division pivot is Frank Saperstein, who has been named EVP kids, family and animation, based in Los Angeles.

“On the event and reality side, the company comes with a strong base,” Saperstein says, referencing the work done by previous interim head of kids and family, Jon Rutherford, and Ashley Rite, head of kids development.

Rutherford will continue to oversee Tricon’s international distribution and business development across all genres.

“We knew that we had reached our limitations, and it was time to bring in a specialist,” Rutherford says of the new Tricon hire.

The new strategy leaves Saperstein to develop and produce more animated and scripted kids and tween and family projects for the Canadian-based producer.

Saperstein is keeping his plans on the scripted front close to the vest.

“It’s a hard one to pinpoint. We have a couple things in the pipeline, and in the kids and family space. Everything has to have some form of comedy, even in drama,” he said.

Beyond traditional TV shows, Tricon will also move in new directions on the scripted side, including to interactive digital media, YouTube, Netflix and other new distribution channels.

Saperstein adds Tricon will exploit ancillary streams, such as digital apps and interactive readers, and licensing and merchandising, including music used in original TV shows.

Saperstein, a veteran executive producer, writer and director recently ran his own boutique development and production shingle, Surprise Bag.

He was previously SVP of family TV for Entertainment One, and before that completed executive stints at Blueprint Entertainment, Philippine Animation Studio, and VH1/MTV Networks.

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