Warner Bros. chair and CEO, Ann Sarnoff, has announced the hire of Freeform president Tom Ascheim, who will leave the Disney cable network this summer for his new role of president of global kids, young adults and classics this summer. Reporting to Sarnoff, he will be responsible for leading the global strategy at Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Boomerang, managing the studios of Cartoon Network and Warner Bros. Animation in Los Angeles, and having global responsibility for the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) channel.
The announcement comes on the heels of the recent appointment of Jason Kilar, former Hulu CEO, as new the CEO of WarnerMedia; he will be taking the reigns of the soon to launch streaming platform, HBO Max, as well as Warner Bros., HBO and all Turner cable network properties.
Warner Bros. global kids, young adults and classics has distribution in 192 countries around the world. Ascheim will work with his the WarnerMedia Global Distribution and Advertising Sales team to build, enhance and drive ratings for the brands, while developing and implementing both global and local strategies.
“I am excited that Tom will be joining Warner Bros.,” Sarnoff commented. “He is an excellent executive and collaborative leader with an impressive track record and deep experience in the kids and young adult worlds. I had the benefit of seeing Tom’s skills firsthand when we were at Nickelodeon and really look forward to working with him again.”
“I am thrilled to be joining Warner Bros. and especially excited to be working with the deeply talented folks at Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Boomerang, TCM and Warner Bros. Animation,” added Ascheim. “I’ve been watching their work since I was a child and it’s thrilling to be part of such a storied group. I’m equally excited to be working again with Ann Sarnoff who remains one of the best people I’ve ever had the privilege to work with.”
Ascheim was appointed Freeform president in December 2013. There he had oversight of original programming and acquisitions, franchise management, marketing, sales and operations, and responsibility for the overall strategic and creative direction for the channel. In January 2016, he led the network in a major transformation, taking the former ABC Family network and rebranding it as Freeform. This included deepening the network’s commitment to the young adult audience, and evolving the original programming to include more sophisticated, complex and progressive series. He was an instrumental in helping the network embrace streaming, pivoting Freeform’s business strategy to programming and marketing to both streaming platforms and the linear network simultaneously. The rebrand repositioned the network as a young adult brand that is leading innovation and driving new growth in the category.
Prior to Freeform, he served as chief strategy officer of Sesame Workshop and executive vice president of Sesame Learning, where he led the team in developing a digital, in-school and companion-home offering, which paired differentiated learning solutions with in-school assessment.
From 2007-2011, Ascheim was CEO at Newsweek, overseeing all global operations, web and mobile sites, and regional magazines in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Latin America. He successfully led the effort to sell Newsweek and merge it with The Daily Beast.
Ascheim also served as executive VP and general manager of Nickelodeon Television, where he ran the company’s portfolio of channels, including Nickelodeon, [email protected], Nick Jr., and Nick’s three digital networks. He spearheaded the repositioning of [email protected] away from being “home of the reruns” to the driving brand in Nick’s new family strategy.
He has held the title of executive VP and general manager of Nickelodeon Digital Television Networks, managing all aspects of the brand, including production, development, programming, online, on-air promotion, marketing and advertising sales. He also led the negotiation between Nick and Sesame Workshop, which resulted in a joint venture and the creation of Noggin, and oversaw The N, a channel dedicated to serving millennials.
In 1990, Ascheim originally joined Viacom as VP of Nickelodeon business development and media products, where he was responsible for strategic and long-range planning, market analysis and the annual budget. He received his Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from Yale College and an MBA from Yale School of Management. AWN