Newsweek nabs Nickelodeon vet

Rick Smith hands CEO reins to Tom Ascheim

Tom Ascheim has ankled his job as executive VP and general manager of Nickelodeon to become chief executive officer of Newsweek.

In a Newsweek staff memo, Rick Smith, who’s handing over the CEO reins to Ascheim, praised Ascheim’s “track record” at Nick “of building consumer brands, managing interactive startups and delivering strong results in both content and commercial terms.”

Smith will remain at Newsweek as chairman. A spokesman for Nick said there’s no timetable for the appointment of a successor to Ascheim.

High up on Ascheim’s agenda will be to beef up Newsweek’s digital and broadband initiatives, which are growing in importance as more readers desert the hard copy of the magazine in favor of Newsweek.com.

A 17-year veteran of Nick, Ascheim served from 2004-06 as executive VP of Nick Digital TV, where he rode herd on such Nickelodeon spinoff networks as Noggin, The N, Nickelodeon Games & Sports and Nicktoons.

Before that, Ascheim spent six years as general manager of MT Networks’ Noggin/The N cablers. He started at Nickelodeon in 1990 as its first business-development exec.