The Internet has captured another zealot. Marty Keltz, a major player in children’s TV and movies over the last two decades, has resigned as senior VP of new media business development for Scholastic Inc. Late last year, he had shifted over to Scholastic corporate after serving as president of Scholastic Prods, since March 1983.
But the last thing Keltz, 51, wants to do with the rest of his life is take another executive job with a production company.
As Keltz explains it, Scholastic had awarded him a key to the corporate suite to help it get more involved in online and software technologies. But when he suffered a heart attack earlier this year, and had to stay home on doctor’s advice, he ended up with plenty of time on his hands to put his theoretical knowledge of these technologies to practical use. What he discovered was a whole new world of computer e-mail pals through his forays into and out of chat groups and bulletin boards on the Internet.
Keltz has become convinced that the Internet is laying the groundwork for a revolution in the way people will communicate with one another well into the 21st century. And one of the career paths he’s mapping out is to set up a consultancy to help showbiz companies take advantage of this new convergence in cyberspace of the computer, the TV set and the telephone.
Ironically, Keltz is ankling Scholastic just at a time when he’s about to take on a higher profile than at any other point in his career. He’s co-executive producer on two theatrical movies to be released this summer: the big-budget “The Indian in the Cupboard,” from Kennedy-Marshall Prods., with Para mount handling domestic distribution and Columbia Pictures the foreign, and “The Babysitters’ Club,” a co-production of Columbia and Beacon Films.
Under Keltz’s aegis, Scholastic produced two successful family-oriented sitcoms with MCA TV, “Charles in Charge” – which stayed in production for five years, the first year on CBS and the other four in firstrun syndication – and “My Secret Identity,” which had a three-year syndication life.
Throughout the 1980s, Scholastic was one of the most active suppliers of afterschool drama specials to the networks.
Scholastic’s “The Magic School Bus” series recently picked up a second-season renewal from PBS.