Senior VP will market 'High School' sequel

Meet the man who will market the sequel to the smash “High School Musical”: MTV Networks vet Richard Loomis has joined the Disney Channel’s U.S. operations as senior VP, marketing and creative.

Loomis joins the channel as it gears up to launch two high-profile animated series — including next month’s “My Friends Tigger & Pooh” — and the highly anticipated “High School Musical 2.”

He’ll report to Disney Channel Worldwide prexy Rich Ross, who made the announcement Monday.

Ross said he’d been looking for ways to once again work with Loomis, whom he had originally hired at Nickelodeon. Ross eventually left to FX and then Disney; Loomis, after serving as VP of marketing and advertising at Nick, most recently served as senior VP at Comedy Central.

“Working in adult TV for a number of years was great for me; it gives you distance, and it helps you understand what kids TV has become,” Ross said of Loomis’ broad experience. “His experience at Comedy Central rounded out what he had at Nick, and will provide us with a broader purview of how you get things done.”

The Disney Channel, riding high on the success of series like “Hannah Montana,” longforms like “Musical” and its growing preschool slate, continues to grow during each ratings period (ending 2006 as its most-watched year).

But Ross said Loomis’ honeymoon will be short, with a hefty slate of properties about to launch, including “My Friends Tigger and Pooh” — the channel’s biggest preschool-property launch to date.

“With the new animated properties coming, we want to excel, and that’s something he will be incredibly valuable for,” Ross said.

Loomis will also be in charge of the interstitials that run between programs. Because Disney Channel doesn’t air commercials, the channel stocks up on live-action and animated shorts to fill time.

“We certainly have promotional time, but we also use that time for a lot of nonfiction programming — substantial programming about what goes on in real kids’ lives,” Ross said. “We have all this time to fill, and it’s key for him to continue this seamless environment.”

Much of that shortform programming also makes its way onto the Disney Channel Web site.

Besides Disney Channel and its Playhouse Disney block, Loomis will also oversee marketing and creative direction both on- and off-air for Toon Disney (including its Jetix block) and the ABC Kids block on the Alphabet net.

Loomis, who plans to relocate to L.A. from Gotham, will also work closely with Disney Channel’s programming, global brand marketing and franchise management departments, as well as affiliate/ad sales and marketing/research.

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