7:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Michael Ouweleen Named Adult Swim President
Michael Ouweleen's new role at WarnerMedia is taking shape.
The onetime marketing chief has been named president of niche cable network Adult Swim. Ouweleen will segue to the new position in the summer after serving as interim head of Warners' kids, young adults and classics division, which included oversight of Adult Swim, Cartoon Network and Boomerang. Ouweleen had held the interim post since November, when 15-year Warner Media staffer Christina Miller announced her departure. She previously oversaw all three brands as well as Turner Classic Movies.
Ouweleen will report to Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff and incoming Warner Media president of global kids, young adults and classics Tom Ascheim. The latter exec earlier this month announced that he would exit his post as president of Disney's younger-skewing cable network Freeform. He begins his new role at Warner Media on July 1.
"It's fitting that Michael has been named head of Adult Swim, as he was one of the platform's founders," Sarnoff said Wednesday in a statement announcing Ouweleen's role. "He's got animated blood running through his veins, and his humor and comedic sensibilities are a big part of Adult Swim's success. This promotion is most deserved and will help us strategically grow this crucial part of our young adult business."
A veteran of WarnerMedia during its time as Turner networks, Ouweleen has spent more than 20 years overseeing Cartoon Network's global brand and strategy. He also helped frame and launch Adult Swim as well as its linear and OTT platform Boomerang. During his time as a creative director for Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block, Ouweleen also co-created, co-executive produced and co-wrote one of its first shows: Harvey Birdman, Attorney-at-Law, starring Gary Cole and Stephen Colbert.
In his new post, Ouweleen will be responsible for content planning, development, windowing, marketing and creative for Adult Swim. He also will have oversight of linear programming, streaming, digital products, live events and mobile games related to Adult Swim shows, characters and other IP. Ouweleen also will work closely with Warner Media to expand Adult Swim's global distribution and internal production while also continuing as an executive producer on Birdgirl.
Ouweleen's role comes as Asheim will reunite with Sarnoff, his longtime friend and former colleague. The duo previously worked together when Sarnoff, then working at Viacom-backed Nickelodeon, was part of the team that created Noggin. Ascheim, who is best known for his focus on data and strategy, was Noggin's first employee and general manager. Sources say the two have remained friendly since.