The elaborate restructuring at Warnermedia continues with a change in oversight of kids and family programming at HBO Max, the conglomerate’s young streaming platform.
Here are the details:
- Responsibility for this age group has moved from Casey Bloys, president of programming for HBO and HBO Max, to Tom Ascheim at Warner Bros. Ascheim joined the company in June as president of global kids, young adults, and classics.
- Ascheim has oversight of Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Boomerang, and Turner Classic Movies, as well as Cartoon Network Studios and Warner Bros. Animation. His unit will produce content for HBO Max under these brands. Bloys’ team will continue to handle adult animation.
- One of Ascheim’s priorities is to develop new content around classic characters like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Tom and Jerry. Variety, which broke the news of the restructuring, notes that he will spearhead preschool programming to go alongside HBO Max’s Sesame Street library.
- Only yesterday, HBO Max and Cartoon Network announced two major new shows: Unicorn: Warriors Eternal, a fantasy series from Cartoon Network veteran Genndy Tartakovsky (Dexter’s Laboratory, Samurai Jack), and Tiny Toons Looniversity, a reboot of the 1990s comedy series co-produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television.
- Meanwhile, Ascheim’s unit has announced three more projects in partnership with popular children’s author (and Sheep in the Big City creator) Mo Willems and Greg Silverman’s Stampede Ventures. Two are animated: the series Unlimited Squirrels! and the special Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Rock Special (image at top), both of which are based on New York Times bestsellers by Willems. The third, the preschool series Cat the Cat’s Show the Show Show with YOU the YOU!, is described as a “live-action immersive performance series.”
- “We want to expand the definition of kids and family offerings under the Cartoon Network pedigree,” Ascheim told Variety. “We are going to be an animated enterprise but we will not always be cartoons. We’re trying to serve the kids and family audience as widely as possible so we can be a better provider to HBO Max.”
- Ascheim has plenty of relevant experience. He spent 17 years at Nickelodeon, working his way up to manage its complete portfolio of channels. In 2013, he joined the Disney-owned ABC Family, rebranding it as Freeform. In between, he served as chief strategy officer of Sesame Workshop.