Cartoon Network Content Chief Rob Sorcher Out as Sam Register Adds to Studio Oversight

Sam Register
Courtesy of WarnerMedia

Nickelodeon alum Amy Friedman has been tapped to take on programming oversight at Cartoon Network.

Tom Ascheim is shuffling the decks at Cartoon Network and its studio counterpart.

The former Freeform president, who joined WarnerMedia in July as president of its Global Kids, Young Adults and Classics division, has given oversight of Cartoon Network Studios to the head of Warner Bros. Animation, Sam Register.

As part of the changes, Cartoon Network/Studios content chief Rob Sorcher is out and will segue to a producing deal with Peter Roth's Warner Bros. Television Group. Ascheim took on oversight of Warner Bros. Animation from Roth's group when he joined the company this summer as part of an ongoing realignment at WarnerMedia. Michael Ouweleen, the marketing chief who had taken on oversight of Cartoon Network after the November 2019 departure of 15-year network president Christina Miller, is now focused on Adult Swim.

Sorcher, who had been with Cartoon Network since 2008, will now create both animated and live-action properties for the larger company. During his long tenure, he produced and developed content including the Emmy- and Peabody-winning Adventure Time, Steven Universe, The Powerpuff Girls, Ben 10, Clarence and The Regular Show while also overseeing original content development.

"I am honored to have played my part in producing the artistry, innovation and heart of Cartoon Network Studios, bringing joy to generations of young people around this world," said Sorcher. "I would like to thank Warner Bros. Television Group for embracing my wide-ranging interests, and I'm energized by the potential of this next chapter."

To help fill the creative void created by Sorcher's exit at Cartoon Network, Ascheim has appointed Nickelodeon veteran Amy Friedman to the interim role as senior adviser for creative, strategic and inclusive programming guidance. She will report directly to Ascheim.

"The legacy of each of these great studios is long, with remarkable contributions to culture and the world of animation. Each embodies vibrant, distinct cultures and missions, and I believe this realignment will enable them to continue to innovate and thrive for new generations of artists and fans. There is no one better to usher in this exciting new period in these studios’ history than Sam,” said Ascheim. “We owe Rob a huge debt of gratitude for building the Cartoon Network brand to what it is today, creating a long list of imagination-capturing hit shows. He’s one of the most talented executives in our industry, someone who has changed the content game many times over, and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next for us.”

Ed Adams, exec vp and GM at Warner Bros. Animation, will also expand his duties to include Cartoon Network Studios and will continue to report to Register. Register has served as president of Warner Bros. Animation since 2014 while also running Warner Bros. TV Group's digital studio, Blue Ribbon Content. Register has had a role in numerous series during his tenure with the studio including Aquaman: King of Atlantis, Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai, Jellystone, Little Ellen and Looney Tunes Cartoons for HBO Max, Green Eggs and Ham for Netflix, Animaniacs for Hulu, Harley Quinn and Young Justice for DC Universe, DC Super Hero Girls, Teen Titans Go, ThunderCats Roar and Unikitty for Cartoon Network, and Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, Scooby-Doo! and Guess Who, The Tom and Jerry Show and Yabba-Dabba Dinosaurs! for Boomerang. Register also executive produced Teen Titans GO! to the Movies, the feature film adaptation of WB Animation's Teen Titans Go TV series. Before joining WB Animation, Register developed and produced animated series for both Cartoon Network Studios and WB Animation, including Clone Wars and Ben 10. He started his animation career with Cartoon Network in 1994 and went on to run Cartoon Network Online.

“By aligning two of the industry’s most powerful animation studios, we will unleash incredible opportunities for artists to flourish and an unprecedented amount of animation for fans to devour,” said Register. “Together we have a shared opportunity to create a new culture of collaboration – one built on both the historic importance of Warner Bros. Animation and the commitment to new original voices that is the trademark of Cartoon Network Studios.”

For her part, Friedman previously held creative roles at younger-focused outlets including Nickelodeon, Noggin, TeenNick, Sprout and Universal Kids.

The changes at Cartoon Network arrive amid a major restructuring at WarnerMedia under CEO Jason Kilar. The company continues to consolidate responsibilities under multiple executives as the conglomerate looks to better position itself for the streaming future and tighten its belt amid the economic woes created by the novel coronavirus pandemic.