3:04pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Freeform's Departing Tom Ascheim to Run Cartoon Network
Tom Ascheim's next chapter is set.
The departing Freeform president has signed on to serve as president of Global Kids, Young Adults and Classics at WarnerMedia. He will be charged with overseeing Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Adult Swim. He fills the void that was created in November when Christina Miller exited the post following a 15-year run. Marketing chief Michael Ouweleen had been holding down the position in an interim role since Miller departed at the end of 2019.
In his new role, Ascheim will reunite with his longtime friend and former colleague, Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff. The duo previously worked together when Sarnoff, then working at Viacom-backed Nickelodeon, was part of the team that created Noggin. Ascheim was Noggin's first employee and GM. Sources say the duo have remained friendly since.
"I am excited that Tom will be joining Warner Bros. 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,” Sarnoff said Tuesday in a statement.
The news arrives hours after The Hollywood Reporter exclusively reported that Ascheim was stepping down from Disney's younger-skewing cable network Freeform following a six-year tenure as president. He will remain on board through the end of June before starting at Cartoon Network on July 1. A replacement at Freeform has not yet been determined.
"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,” said 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 replaces Miller at the helm of Cartoon Network and will also be charged with oversight of Adult Swim, Boomerang and Turner Classic Movies. Miller had been with the WarnerMedia-owned brands since 15 years. At the time of her November departure, sources told THR that WarnerMedia executives wanted Miller to stay and run the division, but she opted to exit the company and try something new.
"This is not a decision I came to lightly," Miller said of her choice to depart WarnerMedia. "It's one of the hardest I've had to make in my career. Ultimately, it feels like the right time for me to leave and take a little time to think about what comes next, but I do so, feeling immensely proud of the work we've done together and so grateful for the experience."
Ascheim joins WarnerMedia ahead of the May launch of the streaming service HBO Max, which is making kids' programming a centerpiece of its platform. The service will share library rights to the mega-hit Rick and Morty with Hulu and recently landed Sesame Street, which moved over from HBO's linear network. In an even more fitting move, Ascheim previously served as chief strategy officer and executive vp at Sesame Learning, which focused on aligning Sesame Workshop's strategies.
Ascheim has a background in kids' programming, after serving as GM at Nickelodeon, where he ran the company’s portfolio of channels, including Nickelodeon, Nick@Nite, Nick Jr. and Nick’s three digital networks.