Film Roman gets CEO

Pritchard tapped to reanimate biz affairs

In an effort to stem the flow of red ink on its balance sheet, animation house Film Roman has tapped industry veteran David B. Pritchard to manage the company’s business affairs as president and CEO.

Film Roman, whose production credits include Fox’s “The Simpsons” and “King of the Hill,” has been struggling ever since the company suffered a disastrous stock-price slide following its initial public offering last October.

Pritchard comes to Film Roman after heading two independent production outfits, Pritchard/Ecclesine and Popular Arts Entertainment, over the past seven years. Before moving into production, Pritchard was a top corporate affairs exec with HBO and Gulf + Western.

“David has the attitude and experience with financial markets that we were looking for” in a CEO, said company chairman Phil Roman.

After going public last fall, Film Roman took successive hits when several of its shows were canceled, including CBS’ “The Mask” and “The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat,” USA Network’s “Mortal Kombat” and Fox’s “C-Bear & Jamal.”

After trading at $10 a share, Film Roman’s stock hit a low of $1.37 on June 12. In its second-quarter earnings report, Film Roman posted an operating loss for the three months ended June 30 of $273,030, on revenue of $7.1 million, for a net loss of $159,856, compared with a net loss of $270,924 in the same period last year.

Film Roman’s stock was up 44¢ at the close of trading Wednesday to $2.56.

Pritchard’s mandate at Film Roman is to bring in new financing and international co-production partners. At present, the bulk of Film Roman’s business is done on a for-hire basis on programs, such as “The Simpsons,” that the company does not own.

Film Roman got a boost earlier this week when one of its proprietary properties, “The Blues Brothers,” went back into development at UPN after the two sides sorted out creative issues. With Pritchard’s hire, some of the animated projects in the works at Pritchard/Ecclesine will be transferred to Film Roman.

During Pritchard’s tenure as president of Popular Arts Entertainment, the company’s credits included the Comedy Central animated series “Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist,” and the HBO made-for “Comrades of Summer.”

At HBO, Pritchard was vice president of corporate affairs from 1983-89. From 1979-83, he served as director of corporate planning and human resources for Gulf + Western, then-owner of Paramount Pictures.

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