Warner Bros. Chairman And CEO Kevin Tsujihara Resigns
Today (18th March), Warner Bros. Chairman and CEO (Chief Executive Officer) – Kevin Tsujihara announced that he’s stepping down and leaving the movie studio. Kevin has worked for Warner Bros for 25 years, and since 2013, he was in charge of the studio. He had a promising future at Warner Bros. because of a newly expanded job role, with popular brands such as Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Boomerang, TCM and Crunchyroll added to his supervisory responsibilities after the announcement of the reformation of WarnerMedia only two weeks ago. Kevin Tsujihara was also the first person of East Asian descent to run a Hollywood studio.
In a Hollywood Reporter article from 6th March, it was emerged that text messages were exchanged between Kevin and actress Charlotte Kirk, according to the texts, Kevin attempted to get movie auditions for Charlotte in exchange for a sexual relationship. Charlotte Kirk has appeared in two Warner Bros. films: 2016’s How to Be Single and 2018’s Ocean’s 8. Kevin’s personal attorney claimed that Kevin had no direct involvement in hiring Charlotte Kirk. The allegations are overshadowing of what could be an exciting time at Warner Bros. and WarnerMedia as a whole.
Before resigning, Kevin left an internal memo for his colleagues at Warner Bros., the memo reads as follows:
Over the past week and a half, I have been reflecting on how the attention on my past actions might impact the company’s future. After lengthy introspection, and discussions with John Stankey over the past week, we have decided that it is in Warner Bros.’ best interest that I step down as Chairman and CEO.
I love this company and the people that make it so great. I’ve been honored to head this organization and work alongside all of its talented employees over the past 25 years. Together we’ve built this studio into an unequivocal leader in the industry.
However, it has become clear that my continued leadership could be a distraction and an obstacle to the company’s continued success. The hard work of everyone within our organization is truly admirable, and I won’t let media attention on my past detract from all the great work the team is doing.
I am overwhelmed and grateful for the outpouring of support I have received from colleagues and industry partners during this difficult time.
Again, I am so proud of the great work that you do every day to make Warner Bros. the gold standard in our industry. It has been a pleasure to work alongside each and every one of you, and I wish you all the absolute best.
Kevin’s boss, WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey also made a statement regarding his departure:
“It is in the best interest of WarnerMedia, Warner Bros., our employees and our partners for Kevin to step down as Chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Kevin has contributed greatly to the studio’s success over the past 25 years and for that we thank him. Kevin acknowledges that his mistakes are inconsistent with the Company’s leadership expectations and could impact the Company’s ability to execute going forward.”
John Stankey and WarnerMedia’s board of directors has yet to announce who will replace Kevin Tsujihara as Warner Bros. new CEO. This is an unusual time at the company, after seeing the announced departure of the chairmen of Turner (David Levy), HBO (Richard Plepler) and Warner Bros. (Kevin Tsujihara) within the space of a fortnight. An interim Warner Bros. leadership team will be announced tomorrow (19th March).
What does Kevin Tsujihara’s resignation mean for Cartoon Network?
The resignation of Kevin Tsujihara shouldn’t directly affect Cartoon Network’s operations, as Turner remains to be a going concern as restructuring can be a lengthy and difficult process and WarnerMedia’s future plans were only announced two weeks ago. Christina Miller remains to be President and General Manager of Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Adult Swim.
Cartoon Network Africa Upfront Event, Cartoon Network Africa Creative Lab Winner Announced
Turner Africa held an upfront event in Johannesburg, South Africa this Tuesday (13th November), unveiling a new lineup of programming, content and partnerships for its kids channels Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Boing and Toonami and also its recently launched TNT channel, which replaced TCM (Turner Classic Movies) in Africa. The new TNT channel airs a variety of Hollywood blockbusters (with popular movies such as The Illusionist, Crank, Robin Hood, Gladiator, The Island, Jurassic Park and King Kong) and has achieved a 45% ratings increase since its launch in September. Compared to other multinational broadcasters in Africa, Turner is also a leader in local content. Turner’s channels broadcast to 54 countries in Africa in four different languages: English, French, Portuguese and Arabic, with the Arabic language channels ran by a separate Middle East and North Africa team. The special Upfront event was hosted by South African comedian Nicholas Goliath along with senior members of Turner Africa’s team.
There’s more than 20 million Cartoon Network fans in South Africa alone, and many more across the African continent. Next year, Cartoon Network Africa will air 325 hours of new content, which will include six exclusive new shows and 1,325 new episodes. According to the 2018 Sunday Times Generation Next Youth Survey, Cartoon Network is the “Coolest Kids TV Channel” in South Africa and is also the second coolest channel overall for the third consecutive year. Next year, CN fans in Africa will be treated to a brand new Cartoon Network original series – Victor and Valentino and just before the end of the year on 23rd December, Summer Camp Island will premiere (following a sneak peek episode on 13th December). Local content coming soon to Cartoon Network include a second season on Pop Up Party where kids take part in dance challenges and also the launch of an animated shorts series called Mike and Rob, the shorts follows two microbes making jokes with local references voiced by South African comedian – Trevor Gumbi.
Pop Up Party season 2, where we see local kids expressing themselves through some incredible dance challenges; the launch of Mike and Rob, a series show-casing two witty microbes making jokes with local reference voiced by local comedian, Trevor Gumbi; and African magic will take center stage in Boomerang’s new exciting local production set to hit screens in 2019.
Boomerang also recently undergone a fresh in many territories across the EMEA region, including Boomerang Africa which had a refresh this month, the channel also has a new brand positioning called “Watch. Laugh. Play”, In 2019, Boomerang will continue to air The Tom and Jerry Show (voted “Coolest Animated Brand or Entertainment Characters” in the Sunday Times Generation Next 2018 Youth Survey), Grizzy and the Lemmings and The Happos Family. Also coming in December this year, Boomerang Africa will be airing a world premiere – Taffy, which is a co-production between Turner EMEA and France’s Cyber Group Studios. Also, African magic will take center stage in Boomerang Africa’s new exciting local production due to air in 2019.
Cartoon Network Africa’s and Boomerang Africa’s December 2018 Highlights, with info about Summer Camp Island and Taffy:
In a statement regarding the audiences of Turner’s properties in Africa, Jaime Ondarza, Senior Vice President for Turner Southern Europe & Africa said:
“As Turner, our audience needs are becoming more pertinent and we’re constantly challenging ourselves to be more innovative and creative in our offering to keep attracting and entertaining our loyal fan base, on-air, on-line and for-real. We remain steadfast in our commitment to providing the best service and high-standard content to our fans. We are benefiting from high awareness and a great level of brand recognition with our brands in Africa. CNN International is widely known to be the most trusted source for news and information on the continent while our kids’ channels, Cartoon Network and Boomerang, have been leading and gaining market share within the pay TV kids industry for almost four years in a row.”
Back in June this year, Cartoon Network Africa launched a new initiative called “Creative Lab”, is a creative competition where the winner and runner-ups will be given the chance to produce a pilot for Cartoon Network Africa; the pilots will premiere on the channel next year. This week at the DISCOP Johannesburg media convention, the winners and runner-ups of Cartoon Network’s Creative Lab 2018 were announced, Moshood Ridwan from Nigeria won the top prize for his animated comedy idea – Garbage Boy and Trash Can. The pitch impressed the competition’s jury panel and approved of the show concept’s art style, absurd humour and funny characters. Garbage Boy and Trash Can follows self-proclaimed superhero Garbage Boy and his sidekick Trash Can on a mission to fight for justice.
While talking about Garbage Boy and Trash Can – Ariane Suveg, the Programming Director and Head of Kids Content for Turner Africa said: “Ridwan’s style is a perfect fit for the channel and shows fantastic graphism that makes the show instantly lovable, unique and full of energy.”
The runner-up entry – Intergalactic Ice Cream, created by John Phillips of South Africa, follows the life of a 13-year-old kid named Makhaya, whose afterschool job as a delivery boy for a mysterious ice cream parlor launches him into space where he goes on the craziest, danger-filled and dairy-fueled adventures this side of the Milky Way.
The other runner-up entry – Majitu by Mark Kinuthia from Kenya, is about two friends named Jasiri and Bokari, who are on a quest to rid the world of evil and stop a terrible witch from opening the gates between Earth and the phantom’s universe.
Regarding the competition entries for Cartoon Network Creative Lab, Ariane Suveg also added:
“Diverse and original content is what Cartoon Network is all about. Now, more than ever, we are on the lookout for something out of the norm, which challenges the status quo, new, irreverent, smart, truly African and unexpected! We were pleasantly surprised by the wealth of animation talent on the continent and the selection panel had a tough task; the editorial guidelines for the channel were very specific, and yet we received many applications.”
At the end of the upfront event, Turner Africa announced the winners of the brand new The Powerpuff Girls awards, which celebrates the achievements of young girls in Africa, whether its Science and Innovation, Leadership or Creativity and Art. Toya Delazy, the voice of Bliss in the African English language variant of The Powerpuff Girls hosted the awards ceremony. The Powerpuff Girls Awards were first announced in August this year.
Ten year-old Uviwe Bubu from South Africa, won the Blossom Award for Leadership. Uvine received the award for her Mini Sparkles project, which helps bring sanitary towels to underprivileged girls throughout Africa.
Twelve year-old Mwangala Maunga from Zambia, won the Buttercup Award for Innovation and Science, her solar-powered water purifier project which is now providing clean water in rural and local areas
Eleven year-old Daniella Soje from Nigeria won the Bubbles Award for Creativity and Art. Daniella’s Trash to Art project inspires young people to make better use of their waste for a better Africa.
Turner Africa has conducted extensive market research in Africa to better understand the audiences of its brands and also to find out what kind of local programming its viewers want, according to Julien Borde, Turner Africa’s head of channels, Cartoon Network Africa and Boomerang Africa will be producing a localised version of Cartoon Network EMEA’s (Europe, Middle East and Africa) YouTube series – Toony Tube. In terms of marketing and public relations, Cartoon Network will be at the Johannesburg Zoo on the 8th and 9th December and will also tour the Kwazulu-Natal coast for 10 days with Cartoon Network and Boomerang’s Beach Tour.
In terms of channel distribution, Turner Africa has distribution deals with TV platforms with various pay-TV platforms in Africa including MultiChoice (DStv), StarTimes, Orange, SFR/Altice, Canal Overseas and other regional services, also mobile streaming services such as Cell C’s Black streaming service and Maroc Telecom.
Some entertainment and news channels are already available on the Black streaming service and also DStv’s Catch Up and Now services. Turner Africa has also made a deal with a new SVOD (Subscription Video on-demand) service called Showmax, owned by Multichoice, from mid November, content from the U.S. number one cable network – Adult Swim will be available on the service, the service will also include content from Cartoon Network and Boomerang. Despite the closure of the pan-African Kwesé TV satellite pay-TV service earlier this month, Toonami Africa is still airing on Cell C’s Black streaming service, also in 2019, Toonami will air more Lego DC Comics content and also super-hero movies such as Justice League Universe. Next year, Toonami will also have new episodes of Dragon Ball Super and also a new show – Inazuma Eleven.
In 2019, Boing will premiere international animation shows such as My Knight and Me, DC Super Hero Girls and new seasons of The Jungle Bunch and Total Drama Action. Boomerang refreshed its on-air look this November with hilarious idents, a vibrant colour palette and a tone of voice which brings to life the brand proposition of ‘Watch. Laugh. Play’. We are excited to announce that the latest Cyber Group Studios animation production, Taffy, will be launching at the end of the year with the world premiere happening in Africa!
SABC (The South African Broadcasting Corporation) has signed a broadcasting rights deal with Turner Africa for Ben 10 – one of Cartoon Network’s most successful properties in terms of animated content and merchandise sales. SABC premiered Ben 10 in July, with a Afrikaans dub of the first season of Ben 10 airing on SABC2 and a SiSwati dub airing on SABC 1 later this year.
Regarding the Ben 10 broadcasting rights deal with SABC, Guillaume Coffin, VP Head of Commercial & Business Development at Turner Africa said:
“Partnering with the SABC reflects our strategy to expand our brands’ presence in South Africa. We are thrilled to bring Ben 10 to new fans and audiences across more screens and in new languages, Turner is dedicated to a localisation strategy that adapts to the cultural differences of its African markets. Implemented in recent years, this effort has helped Turner address the gap in locally-relevant content, drive programming that resonates with African audiences, and boost brand value across the continent. This collaboration allows new local audiences to engage in the Cartoon Network brand.”
Also earlier this year, Bafana Bafana’s (nickname for the South African Football team) midfielder, Reneilwe “Yeye” Letsholonyane, helped to promote Ben 10 during the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
In terms of advertising, Turner has appointed advertising representatives Mediamark in South Africa, and Greenworld Communications in Nigeria in October.
Regarding the topic of advertising, Guillaume Coffin also added:
“Our wide portfolio allows us to target a large array of segments from families, to kids, through to young adults; we can offer our client fully integrated advertising offerings from non-linear to linear and on-the ground events. We are aware that clients are looking for fully integrated advertising package which Turner Africa is able to now do in South Africa and Nigeria”
Cartoon Network UK’s 25th Anniversary: A Brief History Of The Channel
Tomorrow (17th September), 25 years ago, Cartoon Network Europe commenced broadcasting, it became Europe’s first television channel dedicated to animation, the channel launched only 11 and a half months after its U.S. counterpart and just like the original U.S. version, it aired cartoons from Hanna-Barbera’s animation library, which includes all time classics such as The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Scooby-Doo!, Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound and many more, plus the Tom and Jerry shorts from MGM.
Cartoon Network Europe’s oldest (publicly known) schedule that can be found on the internet (including TCM’s first night and CN’s first 24-hour schedule) can be found on the link below:
Also, a little bit of info about Cartoon Network before the channel’s UK/European launch on 17th September 1993.
— RegularCapital Cartoon Network News (@RegularTweetsUK) May 11, 2018
Cartoon Network Europe was the first version of the channel based outside the United States, a Latin American version did launch in April 1993, although that version was based at Turner’s HQ in Atlanta and to an extent, it’s still based there today. Cartoon Network USA had somewhat of a slow start, initially not every cable service carried the channel (it was available for those with a satellite dish), this wasn’t really Turner’s fault, it was just the reluctance of cable companies making long-term contracts. But when Cartoon Network launched in Europe, it took a different approach, the channel launched as a free-to-air channel available to all cable providers around the UK and Europe and anyone with a satellite dish pointing at Astra’s European satellite service. The first general manager of Cartoon Network Europe was Sue Kroll (now the Head of Worldwide Marketing and Distribution at Warner Bros.).
At launch, Cartoon Network Europe broadcasted between 5am and 7pm, it launched alongside and timeshared with another new channel from Turner – TNT Classic Movies, this was the precursor of TCM (Turner Classic Movies), which launched in the U.S. the following year. At launch, Cartoon Network already had rivals in the UK multichannel market, its biggest U.S. rival – Nickelodeon made it to UK shores 16 days earlier, Nickelodeon had the support of British satellite TV provider – Sky who still owns a stake in the channel today, Nickelodeon was already quite established in the U.S. and already had some original content, however, Nickelodeon had a slower but more localised approach to Cartoon Network and didn’t expand into other parts of Europe until later in the 1990’s, also Nickelodeon required a subscription to Sky’s newly launched Multichannels package.
CN’s other rival was UK-based TCC (The Children’s Channel) which was also available in the Benelux and Nordic parts of Europe and in France, it faced competition against children’s channel Canal J. It seems it was no co-incidence that Cartoon Network launched with a partial soundtrack service in French, Norwegian and Swedish, also a localised version of CN launched in the Netherlands four years later. Even though, CN was available in Europe, although it had quite a heavy UK focus as all shows were in English and mostly had UK focused advertising. In December 1996, Cartoon Network Europe became a 24-hour service, however most cable operators (as well as Sky’s analogue satellite service) continued carrying the Cartoon Network/TNT timeshare service.
Immediately after the channel’s initial launch, CN Europe was met with controversy on Continental Europe as the governments of France and Belgium prohibited cable companies from carrying Cartoon Network, as it was seen as an “invasion of American culture”, the ban was lifted. Turner’s news channel – CNN International has been broadcasting from London since 1985, so Turner already had an established base in the UK. On 26th November 1993, Cartoon Network Europe took part in “The Great International Toon-In”, where Cartoon Network USA and all six Turner-owned entertainment networks in the United States (that existed at the time), Cartoon Network Latin America and Cartoon Network Europe shared a marathon schedule presented by 3D-CGI character Moxy the Dog.
After a successful launch in Europe, Cartoon Network launched in the Asia-Pacific region the following year, which means, after two years, the channel already had near global coverage. The next stage in Cartoon Network’s journey will be one that will change the course of the channel forever. Over in the United States, the now Turner-owned Hanna-Barbera animation studio set up a new studio brand – Cartoon Network Studios and started to experiment with new ideas for the channel in a brand new animation shorts programme called “World Premiere Cartoons” (later became “What A Cartoon”), What A Cartoon spawned Cartoon Network’s original Cartoon Cartoons such as Dexter’s Laboratory, The Powerpuff Girls, Cow and Chicken, Mike, Lu and Og, Courage the Cowardly Dog and Johnny Bravo. As years went by, Cartoon Network started to become less dependent on its classic animation archive and started to focus on more original programming, also the merger with Time Warner in the mid-1990’s further supplemented the channel with animated productions from Warner Bros. Animation, this included Tiny Toon Adventures, Batman: The Animated Series, The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries, Taz-Mania, Animaniacs and the all-important post-1948 Looney Tunes shorts.
By the late 90’s, countries and regions started to have their own versions of Cartoon Network, where as the UK version (i.e. the original pan-European version) still functioned as the pan-European version of the channel up until 15th October 1999, a separate pan-European version was launched that summer which copied CN UK’s schedule (with some shows excluded and replaced), however after a couple of years, things started to differ. Also as a whole, Cartoon Network Europe started to diverge from its American counterpart in terms of presentation, by using an altered version of CN USA’s Powerhouse rebrand. All the movies from TNT were moved to a new channel – a UK version of TCM, TNT became a short-lived UK and analogue only entertainment channel.
In May 2000, Cartoon Network UK welcomed in the new millennium with a new channel that celebrates animation from the past – Boomerang (which originated from a programming block from the channel’s early days), this means Cartoon Network’s schedule was now freed up for more original shows, Cartoon Network Europe also started to make its own co-productions by partnering with European studios with new shows such as The Cramp Twins and Fat Dog Mendoza. In later years, came Robotboy, Spaced Out, Skatoony and Chop Socky Chooks. Cartoon Network UK started to air Japanese anime starting off with Dragon Ball Z, the popularity of Dragon Ball Z led to the establishment of the Toonami programming block, which led to a new channel called CNX in 2002 which targeted teenagers and young adults and featured productions from Adult Swim, action movies and Japanese anime. Less than a year later, the CNX channel was rebranded as Toonami and became more child friendly. Toonami started to move away from the action animation format and started airing live-action sitcoms, after this change, it closed a year later. In 2006, a companion channel – Cartoon Network Too launched, the channel acted as a overflow to the main CN channel and later focused on action animation, the channel also had a pre-school programming block called Cartoonito which later spawned the Cartoonito pre-school channel which launched in 2007. In 2014, Cartoon Network Too closed and Cartoon Network UK’s one-hour timeshift service – Cartoon Network +1 was reinstated.
The 2000’s decade saw an explosion of brand new animation from Cartoon Network Studios with Sheep in the Big City, Time Squad, Samurai Jack, Grim & Evil (later became The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy), Whatever Happened to Robot Jones? and Codename: Kids Next Door. In 2002, Cartoon Network introduced a brand new look called “Casillas” (Spanish for Boxes) as it was developed by design studio – Ink Apache, the rebrand was very creative and made use of existing archive footage of Cartoon Network’s animated shows.
In 2005, Cartoon Network UK (and the rest of Europe) introduced Cartoon Network USA’s “CN City” graphics package on its channel, CN City featured all of Cartoon Network’s cartoon characters living together in one city making it effectively one big crossover. The CN City era remains one of the most memorable eras on Cartoon Network and saw the launch of Foster’s Home of Imaginary Friends, Camp Lazlo, Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi and Cartoon Network’s most successful action-animation franchise – Ben 10. After CN City era, Cartoon Network UK introduced another rebrand featuring an arrow that heavily featured the logo, this era featured bumpers animated by British animation studio – Pesky. The second stage of the Arrow Era featured CGI bumpers developed by design studio – Stardust. During this time, Chowder and The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack were airing on the channel.
In 2010, Cartoon Network UK introduced a fresh new graphics package known as “Check It” that helped reboot the channel for the new animation renaissance of the 2010’s, Check It is considered to be a modern adaptation of Cartoon Network’s original Checkerboard graphics package. This era saw the successful Adventure Time, Regular Show, and Cartoon Network Development Studios Europe first ever show – The Amazing World of Gumball, which had its world premiere on Cartoon Network UK in 2011. A high-definition version of Cartoon Network – Cartoon Network UK HD also launched in 2011. Uncle Grandpa, Clarence, Teen Titans Go! and Steven Universe later followed with another iteration of “Check It” – Check It 3.0. Before the end of Check It 3.0. The Powerpuff Girls reboot was introduced in 2016, followed by Ben 10 later that year. In 2016, there was a short-lived Check It 4.0. rebrand that only lasted a year. In 2017, the Dimensional graphics package was introduced, which is Cartoon Network UK’s current era, during this era, OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes, Ben 10: Challenge, The Heroic Quest of the Valiant Prince Ivandoe, Unikitty! and Apple and Onion premiered, and next month, the channel will premiere Craig of the Creek. Coming soon in the near future another CN Studios Europe production will premiere – Elliott From Earth.
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