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ABC Family has named Tom Ascheim as its new president.
The former exec vp and GM of Nickelodeon TV and CEO of Newsweek will take over for Michael Riley and begin his new role immediately.
“I knew Tom during my time at Nickelodeon, and always thought he was an incredibly smart, strategic executive,” Disney/ABC Television Group president Anne Sweeney said. “Since then, he has only reinforced my opinion of his abilities. Whether in print, television, or the financial sector, Tom has gone from success to success. He has a proven capability of leading creative teams, and I’m thrilled that he’ll now bring his innovative, entrepreneurial spirit to bear on behalf of ABC Family and the Disney/ABC Television Group.”
Ascheim started his career as an independent film producer at Geoffrey Drummond Productions and became a financial analyst at Silver Screen Management before joining Viacom in 1990. In his first role with Viacom — as Nickelodeon business development and media products vp — he was responsible for strategic and long-range planning, market analysis and the annual budget. He built the business and launch plans for new digital TV channels and drove new licensing deals. Rising through the ranks to become exec vp and GM of Nickelodeon Digital Television Networks, Ascheim managed all aspects of the brand, including production, development, programming, online, on-air promotion, marketing and ad sales. He led the negotiation between Nick and Sesame Workshop, which resulted in the joint creation of Noggin. He also oversaw The N, the millennials network.
During his tenure with Nick, he rose to exec vp and GM at Nickelodeon TV, where he managed the complete portfolio, including Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, Nick Jr. and Nick’s three digital networks.
He exited Nick in 2007 to join Newsweek as CEO, where he oversaw all global operations, web and mobile sites, regional magazines in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Latin America and led the effort to sell Newsweek, working with the new owner to execute the merger with The Daily Beast.
Ascheim follows Riley at the helm of the youth-skewing ABC Family. Riley exited the network behind Pretty Little Liars, The Fosters and Switched at Birth in September.
“I had the pleasure of working with Anne at the beginning of my career, so when she offered me the opportunity to join the enormously talented team at ABC Family, I jumped at the chance,” Ascheim said. “While ABC Family has accomplished so much already, I’m very confident that we have only just begun to tap its full potential.”
ABC Family is cable’s No. 1 network in primetime among women 18-34, a metric the Disney-owned channel has held for two summers in a row. ABC Family is a top five network among women 18-49 and viewers 12-34, with rookie series The Fosters and Twisted both ranking as the top cable series in their time period among their core demos.
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