Thursday, October 01, 2015

Musical Chairs

Animation execs are on the move.

Universal Pictures is expanding its content for kids and families and has tapped longtime Nickelodeon executive Teri Weiss as SVP, Head of Kids/Family Development and Production for its newly created Universal Kids Productions group. The unit will mine the studio’s IP portfolio and develop original content for all platforms, both on its own and through partnerships. Weiss will report to Vince Klaseus, President of Universal Brand Development.

Weiss is a 16-year veteran of Nickelodeon, most recently serving as EVP Original Programming for the Preschool Division since 2010. As SVP Production and Development, she launched such young’un Nick Jr. hits as Bubble Guppies, Team Umizoomi and The Fresh Beat Band. ...

Animation execs tend to move from studio to studio (much like artists). I keep seeing the same executives at Disney ... Nick ... Warner Bros. ... Marvel Animation ... etc.

But it's good to see Universal get deeper into the animation game. Twenty-plus years ago they opened a TV animation division and never had a lot of success with it. Most of their television output sputtered and died. (Although UCS had some success. It made a bajillion Land Before Time direct-to-video features over several years, and Curious George was a winner.)

Universal's Cartoon Division looks as if it's going to get busier. Maybe Illumination Entertainment's outsized success with theatrical animated features has gotten the conglomerate interested and excited again.


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