Leaves post for production pact with studio

Sander Schwartz is ankling his post as Warner Bros. Animation prexy after six years with the studio.

Schwartz will segue to a production pact with the studio. He’ll focus on developing a range of animated projects for broadband and new-media outlets as part of the Warner Bros. TV Group’s big push into original programming for the Net. Warners has yet to name a successor for Schwartz; a search is under way and is expected to take a few months.

Warner Bros. Television Group prexy Bruce Rosenblum confirmed Schwartz’s exit Thursday. He praised the veteran kidvid exec for leading Warner Bros. Animation “through a transitional, tough period in the TV animation business with great success.”

Schwartz oversaw Warner Bros.’ animation production for the small screen and direct-to-video titles and worked with Warner Bros. Pictures brass on developing animated features based on vintage Termite Terrace, Hanna-Barbera and DC Comics properties.

TV skeins produced on Schwartz’s watch were primarily for the Kids’ WB! Saturday morning block, which has endured on broadcast TV stations despite the merger of the WB network and UPN last year into the CW. Warner Bros. Animation’s active Kids’ WB! slate includes “Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue,” “The Batman” and “Legion of Super Heroes.”

Insiders said Schwartz is well liked by Warner Bros. brass, but there were concerns that the division had not branched out much in recent years or had much success of late in fielding hits to its Time Warner sib Cartoon Network.

Warner Bros.’ commitment to animation production remains solid, insiders said, pointing to the division’s planned move next week from a satellite office in Sherman Oaks to a facility specially built for the toon wing on the Warner ranch lot, which formerly housed the WB weblet.

Schwartz said he felt the time was right to “try my hand at a full-time creative post” and the opportunities opened up for animation production through new technologies and platforms.

Before joining Warners, Schwartz spent a dozen years working in animation and kidvid development and production at Columbia TriStar and Sony Pictures. He established the Sony Pictures Family Entertainment unit and served as its president from 1999-2001.

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