DreamWorks Animation Taps Nickelodeon's Marjorie Cohn to Head TV Efforts

1:30 PM PST 07/31/2013 by Michael O'Connell
Marjorie Cohn, Peter Gal and Mark Taylor

Expanding the company's growing television efforts, the 26-year veteran of the kids' network is expected to oversee the development and production of 1,200 new original episodes in the coming five years -- including projects under the studio's recent Netflix pact.

As part of an ongoing effort to bolster its TV business, DreamWorks Animation announced Wednesday a new executive structure -- including the hiring of longtime Nickelodeon veteran Marjorie Cohn to lead the charge.

Cohn, who departed Nickelodeon in April as president of content development after 26 years at the network, will now serve as head of television at Dreamworks Animation. The move reunites her with fellow Nickelodeon vets Mark Taylor and Peter Gal. The duo have been named head of TV production and head of TV development, respectively.

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"Having Margie join us to head our television efforts is an incredible coup for DreamWorks Animation," said DreamWorks Animation COO Ann Daly. "She is uniquely suited with the experience, skill and creativity to immediately dive in and oversee our aggressive expansion into this space. Margie has tremendous instincts when it comes to kids programming, and we can’t wait to unleash her creative force on DreamWorks' vast IP to bring exciting new content to families across the world."

During her tenure, Nickelodeon grew to be the number one cable broadcaster in the world -- and Cohn played a part in the development, creation and production of such popular titles as SpongeBob Squarepants, Rugrats and iCarly. Her new job, in which she is responsible for the development and production of 1200 original episodes within the next five years, finds her switching her focus back to animation after many years working on live action properties.

"I did a lot of animation in my career, but the ability to focus is what makes the difference," Cohn tells The Hollywood Reporter. "When I was doing everything, I had to switch my head back and forth -- and the idea of starting a TV division was irresistible. This is really going to be about finding the right talent, and the great thing about this is we have a big commitment up front. We want all of the best talent at DreamWorks."

The addition of Cohn and the TV restructuring comes on the heels of a June deal with Netflix that will see DreamWorks produce animated shows for the streamer as part of a multiyear agreement. It's the largest deal for original first-run content in Netlfix history. Last year DreamWorks Animation dropped $155 million to buy Classic Media, giving the studio access to characters such as Casper the Friendly Ghost, Waldo, Lassie, The Lone Ranger, Postman Pat, George of the Jungle, Rocky & Bullwinkle and many others.

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Taylor, also new to the company, most recently served as head of Nickelodeon Animation Studio. He and Cohn worked together for 15 years.

"I didn't have a background in animation when I came in. … I learned an enormous amount from Mark. I'm incredibly excited to work with him," recalls Cohn, who also worked with Gal before he moved to 20th Century Fox and ultimately DreamWorks, where he has been overseeing development on DreamWorks Dragons: Riders of Berk and Turbo F.A.S.T. "It's kind of like getting the band back together."

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