With an original programming push─and some high-level executive shakeups─ continuously in motion, Sprout has announced that kids media vet Amy Friedman will lead all content strategies for the NBCUniversal-owned preschool net as SVP of programming and development, effective April 1.
In a role previously held by Andrew Beecham, who officially departed from the net earlier this year, Friedman will develop brand-supporting preschool franchises. She will also lead all developmental efforts for Sprout original series, where she will create a slate of both animated and live-action projects. And she will manage the production of the network’s current series, including storytelling and creative with oversight of the net’s daily morning show, Sunny Side Up.
And as a member of Sprout’s executive team, Friedman will contribute to the strategic direction of the brand and business.
With regards to leadership direction, Sprout is still on the lookout to replace Sandy Wax, who stepped down in February as president after more than a decade with the network. Her departure was timed with Sprout’s move to join Bravo, E!, Oxygen and Esquire Network under the Lifestyle Networks banner that reports to Frances Berwick. (Since it targets both moms and kids, Sprout was viewed as a natural demographic complement to the other Lifestyle networks.)
What hasn’t changed at Sprout is its strengthened focus on originals, which was set into motion last September with the debut of prequel series Nina’s World.
With its increased investment in originals, the network moved to phase out older, non-exclusive acquired programs like Thomas and Friends and Super Why! in favor of more acquired series with exclusive rights or windows attached, like top-performing international acquisition Super Wings!.
Friedman’s extensive run in the kids media space has seen her launch successful series and new platforms upon which they aired.
She most recently served as senior advisor for Scratch, Viacom’s creative S.W.A.T. team, and was president of brand creation and content development company Redhead Consulting.
She has held senior management positions across all of the Nickelodeon networks, including Nick, Noggin, and TeenNick. Her role as SVP of original programming/creative director gave her responsibility for steering both Noggin and TeenNick’s original brand strategy, on-air identity and educational mission, in addition to the development and production of original programming.
Friedman was also the founding creative director/executive producer of Nickelodeon’s Creative Lab, the network’s experimental short-form department, and began her career on the network’s Double Dare in 1987.