Exec named animation development veep

Nickelodeon has named Jill Sanford animation development VP, giving her oversight of creative and production from concept to pilot.

Sanford spent nine years at Disney, most recently as director of original series in TV animation. She was the lead current series executive for Disney Channel hits “Phineas and Ferb” and “Fish Hooks” and other projects in development. 

Prior to moving to Disney Television Animation in 2008, Sanford worked in both development and current series for live-action and animated series for Disney Channel. 

For Nick, Sanford will research and develop show ideas and oversee scripts, creative, legal, casting and staffing for pilots. She will also help oversee the comedy shorts program and partner with Nick’s shortform development team in pursuit of new content. She will report to Nickelodeon Group senior animation development VP Jenna Boyd.

“Jill’s creative expertise and proven track record of overseeing animated hits makes her a terrific addition to the Nickelodeon animation team,” said Boyd. “Her keen eye for identifying unique ideas and talent will be a huge asset as we continue to grow our hit Nick animation brand.”

Boyd was promoted to her current position in March after serving as VP of live-action development and works with senior veep of current animation series Rich Magallanes. At the time, Boyd reported to animation prexy and Nick veteran Brown Johnson, but Johnson ankled in August amid concern over the ground the cabler was losing in the kids marketplace to Disney. In an early August earnings report, parent company Viacom said that declining ratings of networks including Nick had led to a year-on-year drop in domestic ad revenue of 7%.

Chief creative officer Russell Hicks then became president of content development and production as part of a restructuring of the executive staff. Hicks reports to Nick Group prexy Cyma Zarghami.

Boyd and Magallanes report to Hicks, as do Nick content development prexy Marjorie Cohn; exec veep of current series Paula Kaplan; exec veep of preschool development and production Teri Weiss; exec veep of Nick Prods. Alison Dexter; and senior veep and general manager of Nick Jr., Nicktoons and TeenNick channels Keith Dawkins.

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