Vanessa Morrison has been named president of Fox Family, a new division of Twentieth Century Fox Film (TCFF) that will focus on both animated and hybrid family films.

Morrison had been president of Fox Animation since January 2007, where she had overseen Fox-owned Blue Sky Studio’s films, as well as Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Vanessa Morrison.
Vanessa Morrison.

“Vanessa has for many years championed the studio’s efforts to take a more holistic approach to the family entertainment space, and this new role will empower her to execute on that goal,” said TCFF chairman and CEO Stacey Snider and vice-chairman Emma Watts in a joint statement. “We are thrilled to have her leading this initiative, and as this segment in the marketplace continues to grow, the creation of this new division will strengthen our footprint as we look to create the best possible films for families across our entire company.” Morrison will report to Watts and Snider.

In addition to features, Morrison will also oversee the studio’s family tv animation projects, including holiday specials based on existing properties, and additionally, she will oversee a big-screen adaptation of Fox’s animated series Bob’s Burgers.

Fox Animation has made recent moves to boost its animation output, signing a deal with the British studio Locksmith Animation to deliver a film every 12-18 months. Those animated features would alternate with Blue Sky’s output, similar to how the Walt Disney Company uses a two-studio system with its Walt Disney and Pixar feature animation brands.

Morrison, who was honored earlier this year by the African American Film Critics Association, is among the highest-profile African-American execs in the Hollywood animation industry. She started at Fox 23 years ago as an intern.

With Morrison’s transition to Fox Family, TCFF also named two new co-presidents of Fox Animation today: Andrea Miloro and Robert Baird. They will oversee Fox Animation’s projects with both Blue Sky and Locksmith, and will report to Snider and Watts.

“Andrea and Robert are the perfect team to lead Fox Animation into its next phase of growth,” Snider and Watts said in a joint statement. “From creative chops to business acumen, their collective experiences will be invaluable assets to both our existing animation operations and the new opportunities that exist today in the marketplace. In addition, having them both on the ground at Blue Sky is vital given the importance of that studio to our future in animated film.”

Miloro was most recently senior vp of production at Fox Animation, and had earlier been a producer at Blue Sky Studios. Prior to that, she was vp, head of production, at Sony Pictures Animation, where she was responsible for the production of Open Season, Surf’s Up, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and Hotel Transylvania.

Baird wrote the screenplay for Blue Sky’s upcoming feature Ferdinand and has additional screenplay/story credits on Disney’s Big Hero 6, Prep & Landing, and Tangled Ever After, and Pixar’s Monsters University. He also contributed story material to Monsters, Inc., Cars, Chicken Little, and Meet the Robinsons.