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Linda Kahn, who worked for nearly four decades in children’s television as an executive with such companies as Nickelodeon, MTV Networks and Scholastic Media, has died. She was 72.
Kahn died Aug. 30 in New York of complications from metastatic breast cancer, longtime friend and publicist Sheryl Johnston announced.
Kahn spent 12 years in senior executive positions at Nickelodeon and MTV Networks starting in 1983, then worked for Scholastic Media from 1995-2008.
She also served as board president of New York Women in Film & Television from 2003-05.
In 2008, she formed Linda Kahn Media, a global consulting firm dedicated to forging business and creative partnerships in all aspects of children’s media as well as entertainment for general audiences.
And since 2010, she worked with Matt Kaplowitz at Bridge Multimedia, where as director of programming she was instrumental in making educational children’s TV programming and gaming accessible to blind/visually impaired and disabled students through The New York Institute for Special Education.
Born in Chicago on Sept. 15, 1948, Kahn graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 1970 before moving to Boston, where she taught English in junior high school and earned her master’s degree from Boston University.
As vp acquisitions for Nickelodeon, she pioneered program acquisitions for the network and was instrumental in the launch of Nick at Nite.
As senior vp international program sales, she initiated and built Nickelodeon’s television syndication and format sales worldwide; introduced such original series as Rugrats, Ren & Stimpy and Doug to the global children’s TV market; and worked with networks around the world to customize Nickelodeon game show formats to local markets (the BBC with Double Dare and ITV with Finders Keepers created successful series based on Nick formats).
She went on to become senior vp international TV sales and merchandising at Scholastic Media, leading international consumer products and promotional activities for such properties as WordGirl, Maya and Miguel, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Horrible Histories, Stellaluna, The Magic School Bus, Animorphs and Goosebumps.
Kahn also spearheaded the branding/distribution of Scholastic’s Video Collection and created a video line based on its Weston Woods Library of best-selling picture books.
Kahn served as board co-president of the Greater NYC Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure from 2007-09 and was a Komen NYC board member from 2003-10 and a BAFTA NY board member from 2003-10.
Survivors include her husband of 29 years, Christopher Gordon, and her sister, Beth Malichi.
“She had a great thirst for knowledge, and as a former educator, she was passionate about education,” fellow BAFTA member Susan Margolin said in a statement. “She was devoted to her tightknit family, especially her loving husband Chris, as well as to her friends. Her optimism, positive outlook and wicked sense of humor were always utterly refreshing and inspiring. … Her passing will be mourned by many.”
The New York Institute for Special Education has set up a Linda Kahn Afterschool Fund in her memory to further the education/enrichment of students with disabilities. In lieu of flowers, people can contribute to it here.
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