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Topps taps Staci Weiss head of entertainment

Ex-19 Television exec has worked on 'American Idol,' 'Dance'

NEW YORK -- Trading card and confectionery company Topps has named 19 Television executive Staci Weiss as head of entertainment.

Based in Los Angeles, Weiss is charged with helping the company bring TV, film and other entertainment projects that are in development to fruition while looking for additional opportunities.

Weiss was a senior vp at 19 Television, where she worked on "American Idol" and "So You Think You Can Dance" in areas including production, licensing, merchandising, digital media and sponsorships. She reports to Topps CEO Ryan O'Hara.

"Staci has recently worked on contemporary shows and she has been working with some of the top talent on the production and screen side, so she is very current, and we really wanted someone like that to lead our efforts," O'Hara said.

So far, the efforts to expand Topps into the entertainment and media business have been spearheaded by Michael Eisner's Tornante Co., which acquired Topps with private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners in 2007.

Weiss will work with Tornante to develop projects across Topps properties, which include Bazooka Joe (expected to get a film treatment), Garbage Pail Kids, Wacky Packs, Dinosaur Attacks, Mech Warrior and Attax. She also will be responsible for identifying other Topps brands with entertainment potential and finding and building new properties, especially in the kids and sports areas.

Topps is mainly focused on TV opportunities in the reality and scripted space, but it also has some film and Web aspirations, O'Hara said.

O'Hara and Weiss briefly worked at News Corp./Fox at the same time in the late 1990s.

"This is an exciting opportunity to apply my entertainment background to the company's impressive portfolio of iconic brands that resonate so strongly among consumers of all ages," Weiss said.

Before joining 19, Weiss worked at Fox for six years and headed up its digital media group where she was responsible for developing and distributing digital content for Fox, FX and FSN. Before that, Weiss was in the company's business development unit when it launched the National Geographic Channel, Fuel TV and Fox Reality Channel as well as completed the sale of Fox Family Channel to Walt Disney.