Noggin names head

Ascheim tapped GM of Nick-CTW cable network

NEW YORK — Longtime Nickelodeon executive Tom Ascheim has been named general manager of Noggin, the kids educational cable network from Nick and Children’s Television Workshop.

Ascheim, 35, was integral to completing the long negotiation process with CTW and was the leader of the launch team that has been doing preliminary work on Noggin, which is scheduled to launch in January 1999.

In his job as general manager, Ascheim will be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operation of Noggin, including its programming, online curriculum, scheduling and marketing, as well as working with MTV Networks’ affiliate sales team on the network’s distribution.

24-hour TV and online

Noggin will be a 24-hour TV network and online service dedicated to educating and entertaining kids between the ages of 2 and 14. The channel will feature popular CTW shows such as “Sesame Street” and “The Electric Company.”

Ascheim will report to the Noggin board of directors, which includes David Britt, president and CEO of CTW; Gary Knell, Ann Sardini and Dan Victor of CTW; Herb Scannell, Jeff Dunn and Scott Webb of Nickelodeon; and Mark Rosenthal, president and chief operating officer of MTV Networks.

“In the negotiations with Nick, we found that Tom understood what we both wanted and helped us to get through the business issues to come to an agreement,” said Britt, commenting on why he favored Ascheim to head Noggin. “I knew it would have been unfair for us to steal him, so this was the next best thing.”

Hiring task

Ascheim, who was most recently Nick’s VP of business development, publishing and multimedia, said his first task was to hire a staff of 12-20 people to launch Noggin. Because Noggin’s headquarters is in MTV Networks’ offices at 1515 Broadway, Scannell said that Ascheim’s extensive experience at the company will be a big help in launching Noggin.

“He knows how to tap into the resources of the Nick infrastructure,” said Scannell.

Scannell said that Noggin has yet to sign any distribution deals, but he said cable operator interest in the channel was high and carriage agreements will be announced shortly.