Nickelodeon Makes Major Staffing Shifts

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Nickelodeon has shown its commitment to emerging platforms through a major staff realignment, which upped three key executives with multi-platform experience and let go of one from an old regime.

The changes come as Cyma Zarghami builds her team at MTVN’s newly formed Kids and Family Group, which the former Nickelodeon President was named to head last month.

As B&C first reported, 13-year Nick veteran Jeff Dunn, COO of Nickelodeon Networks and President, Nickelodeon Film and Enterprises, will leave the company.

Previously in charge of the group’s operations and its non-TV businesses, including web sites, movies and character licensing, Dunn had served under Herb Scannell, who exited as MTV Networks vice chairman and president of the group of the Nickelodeon Networks when the new Kids and Family Group formed.

Zarghami said Wednesday: “it is with great respect that we accept Jeff Dunn’s decision to leave the company. We thank him for his tremendous contributions over the years.”

Sixteen-year Nick veteran Tom Ascheim has been upped to executive VP and GM, Nickelodeon Television, where he will oversee daily operations in programming, production and marketing of all of Nick’s TV businesses, including Nickelodeon, Noggin, The N and Nicktoons Television.

Ascheim was most recently executive VP, Nick Digital Television, overseeing Nick’s digital channels Noggin, The N, Nickelodeon Games and Sports and Nicktoons Television.

Nine-year Nick veteran Steve Youngwood assumes the newly created role of executive VP Nickelodeon Digital Media.

Reporting to Zarghami and MTVN Chief Digital Officer Jason Hirschorn, he will focus on expanding Nick’s properties across multiple platforms. Youngwood, previously senior VP, Entertainment Products, for Nickelodeon and Viacom Consumer Products, will now manage Nick’s online sites, and the Kids and Family Group’s wireless, gaming, interactive TV and digital video initiatives.

In his previous role, he grew DVD portfolios for both Nick and Comedy Central, led MTVN’s expansion into iTunes and helped Nick create its first original video game, Tak.

Eight-year MTVNetworks veteran Sarah Kirshbaum Levy assumes the role of executive VP, Strategy and Business Operations, Nickelodeon. She had previously been senior VP, Strategy and Business Development for Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, TV Land & Spike.

The Kids and Family Group consists of Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, Nick Online, Nick Movies, Noggin/The N, Nicktoons Television, and Nickelodeon Games and Sports, as well as Nickelodeon’s magazine and recreation divisions and digital businesses, including newly acquired Neopets.

While noting that “the television business is still the biggest revenue generator,” Zarghami told B&C that she has been working on the multi-platform based realignment since she assumed her new role last month.

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