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Cartoon Nabs WB Kids Sales

3/02/2003 07:00:00 PM Eastern

In another sign that cable has just about cornered the kids-network business, Cartoon Net will take charge of ad sales for co-owned Kids' WB.

The two units have been selling as a team for two years, but The WB will simply bow out of the sales side next season. It will continue to program and market its weekday-afternoon and Saturday-morning kids blocks, though working closely with Cartoon.

The combined ad sales groups will report to Kim McQuilken, executive vice president of Cartoon Network ad sales and marketing, who reports to Mark Lazarus, president of Turner Entertainment group sales and marketing. McQuilken and The WB Executive Vice President of media sales Bill Morningstar said the move is, in part, aimed at kids giant Nickelodeon, which sells and programs Saturday mornings on its broadcast sibling CBS. The executives said ad buyers have been asking for a one-stop shop at AOL Time Warner's kids TV operation.

"Obviously, I have mixed emotions about it," said Morningstar, who will continue selling The WB's other dayparts. But, he added, "competitively, it's the right thing to do."

Industry executives say that Cartoon Network did about $280 million in ad sales last year—the bulk of it from kids advertisers—and WB Kids booked about $100 million.

March