GameTap's Snyder to replace Samples

Cartoon Network has moved to replace general manager Jim Samples, promoting GameTap G.M. Stuart Snyder to run a reorganized division.

Snyder’s new portfolio will combine Cartoon, Adult Swim and Boomerang with gaming site GameTap, comedy platform Super Deluxe, Web sites, company’s animation studios and assorted other digital properties. Unit will be grouped under the name Turner Broadcasting Animation, Young Adults & Kids Media Division.

Samples left at the end of January after an outdoor-advertising promotion for its show “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” in Boston backfired; battery-powered boards with flashing lights sent the city into a panic.

In an interview, Turner Entertainment prexy Mark Lazarus said that the goal was to bring the digital and Net properties closer together, while at the same time separating kids and adult programming, at least to some extent.

“We want to build a digital business of scale,” said Lazarus, while also create a “larger vertical around the kids and adult audiences.”

The general managers of adult-oriented Adult Swim and Super Deluxe will nevertheless still report to Snyder.

Snyder said that as gaming and programming move closer together, it’s beneficial to have one exec overseeing both units.

Lazarus said the cabler had embarked on an outside search for a general manager but felt Snyder’s experience outside Turner as well as with gaming at the net made him a natural fit to run Cartoon Network.

Snyder is former prexy and chief operating officer of World Wrestling Entertainment; he returned to Turner in 2005 to become general manager of GameTap.

Cartoon Network saw total viewers drop 10% last year but still remains the sixth-most watched cable net.

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