Russell Hicks named Nick’s president of content

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Russell Hicks

Rus­sell Hicks

Rus­sell Hicks, a 14-year Nick­elodeon vet­eran and its chief cre­ative offi­cer since 2008, has been named to the new posi­tion of pres­i­dent of con­tent devel­op­ment and pro­duc­tion for the Nick­elodeon Group.

Hicks will be based at Nickelodeon’s Bur­bank and Santa Mon­ica, Cal­i­for­nia offices, where he will lead the company’s ani­ma­tion and live-action devel­op­ment and pro­duc­tion teams for all of Nickelodeon’s con­tent platforms.

The announce­ment was made Wednes­day by Nick­elodeon Group pres­i­dent Cyma Zarghami, to whom Hicks will con­tinue to report.

Prior to work­ing at Nick­elodeon, Hicks was vice-president of mar­ket­ing of Car­toon Network/Turner brands for Warner Broth­ers, where he was respon­si­ble for the mar­ket­ing and cre­ative that turned Scooby Doo and the Power Puff Girls into cul­tural icons. Hicks started his career as an ani­ma­tor that led him to work on Teddy Rux­pin, the first talk­ing teddy bear, for Worlds of Won­der toys. It is this com­bi­na­tion of both ani­ma­tion and con­sumer prod­ucts that has given Hicks his exten­sive knowl­edge of the children’s enter­tain­ment world.

The newly cre­ated posi­tion estab­lishes cen­tral­ized, West Coast lead­er­ship of all Nickelodeon’s con­tent teams, and pro­vides direct, on-the-ground over­sight of the largest and most diverse devel­op­ment slate in the network’s his­tory. Report­ing to Hicks will be Rich Mag­a­l­lanes, senior vice-president of ani­ma­tion for cur­rent series; Margie Cohn, who will serve in the new role of pres­i­dent of con­tent devel­op­ment, work­ing across ani­ma­tion, live-action and dig­i­tal; Paula Kaplan, who will now serve as exec­u­tive vice-president of cur­rent series; Teri Weiss, exec­u­tive vice-president of Nick­elodeon preschool devel­op­ment and pro­duc­tion; Ali­son Dex­ter, exec­u­tive vice-president of Nick­elodeon Pro­duc­tions; and Keith Dawkins, senior vice-president and gen­eral man­ager for Nickelodeon’s Nick Jr., Nick­toons and Teen­Nick channels.

Rus­sell has been one of the dri­ving forces behind the Nick­elodeon brand,” said Zarghami. “As we con­tinue our ambi­tious evo­lu­tion of Nick­elodeon, Rus­sell will ensure that our rich and diver­si­fied devel­op­ment slate, as well as our new and estab­lished pro­duc­ing part­ners, will all serve our cre­ative vision for the net­work and deliver for our audi­ences. As the new devel­op­ment sea­son begins, this is the per­fect moment for Rus­sell to take the helm.”

Nickelodeon’s recently announced devel­op­ment slate includes more than a dozen new ani­ma­tion, live-action and TV-movie projects as part of the network’s deep com­mit­ment to new con­tent. The slate fea­tures top cre­ative tal­ent in front of and behind the cam­era and iconic char­ac­ters from the network’s most pop­u­lar series that will begin rolling out this fall and into 2013.

These projects include the CG-animated series Mon­sters vs. Aliens and the 2D San­jay & Craig, as well as the highly antic­i­pated return of Teenage Mutant Ninja Tur­tles in Sep­tem­ber. For preschool, the net­work is adding the curriculum-based ani­mated series Monty and Norville, and a pilot for Blaze and the Mon­ster Machines.

Brown John­son, who has served as the pres­i­dent of ani­ma­tion since 2008, will be leav­ing her role to pur­sue her own cre­ative endeav­ors. John­son over­saw the network’s suc­cess­ful part­ner­ships with Dream­Works Ani­ma­tion SKG, as well as the brand-new, CG-animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Tur­tles. She also was respon­si­ble for lead­ing Nickelodeon’s ground­break­ing preschool pro­gram­ming, includ­ing Blue’s Clues and Dora the Explorer, for more than two decades.

Brown’s con­tri­bu­tions to Nick­elodeon are many, includ­ing being the key archi­tect behind our preschool lead­er­ship,” added Zarghami. “She leaves an indeli­ble impact on gen­er­a­tions of kids for which we will always be incred­i­bly grateful.”

Hicks, as Nickelodeon’s chief cre­ative offi­cer, over­saw all of Nick­elodeon cre­ative, on-air pro­mo­tions, con­sumer prod­ucts, brand and adver­tis­ing divi­sions, and led the prod­uct devel­op­ment and cre­ative posi­tion­ing of Nickelodeon’s brands and prop­er­ties and ensured that it rep­re­sented Nickelodeon’s “Kids’ First” phi­los­o­phy and sup­ported the com­pany mis­sion to pro­vide sur­pris­ing and play­ful expe­ri­ences for its audi­ences. In 2009, he led an unprece­dented cre­ative review of the Nick­elodeon brand and reimag­ined its logo to rep­re­sent the growth the com­pany had attained after 30 years, while also main­tain­ing and reflect­ing the company’s core attributes.

Hicks attended Cal­i­for­nia State Uni­ver­sity Fuller­ton, where he stud­ied illus­tra­tion and design.

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