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Tom Lynch

Mega producer knows what the kids watch

You might think he’d be slouching toward an early retirement, after more than two decades of generating signature hits for Nickelodeon, the N, the Disney Channel and others. But Tom Lynch seems to be gaining momentum.

Not only has Lynch expanded his efforts into animation with “Class of 3000” (co-created by and featuring Andre Benjamin) for the Cartoon Network, but his eponymous company has 14 pilots in development.

“It’s gone from being just in my head,” says the producer, who is supported by Tom Lynch Co. prexy Gary L. Stephenson and senior VP Jonas Agin. “It’s really operating as its own culture.”

From past hits like “The Secret World of Alex Mack” to present product like “South of Nowhere,” Lynch’s operating philosophy is to hone in on a youth perspective of the world, rather than preach to children or provide a vehicle merely for toy sales.

Lynch says that when he began his children’s programming career with “Kids Incorporated” in 1984, he was seeking to speak “organically” to kids, adding that issues of identity are key.

“Whether they’re comedies like ‘Class of 3000’ or ‘Romeo!’ or more dramatic like ‘South of Nowhere’ or (the upcoming) ‘Interns,’ I think they all show what it’s like to be young and what that journey’s about,” he says.

Lynch isn’t challenged so much by having to target a particular demo as by the complexity of financing a show in the global, multiplatform age. Mostly, he just wants to make sure he has something new to offer his viewers, plenty of whom were “Kids Incorporated” fans who have since become parents.

“The big danger is repeating yourself,” Lynch says. “Once you do that, you can step into a kind of hackdom. I try to make every show current, but not so current that it’s redundant.”

Recent breakthrough: His shows “South of Nowhere” and “Class of 3000” are going strong.

Role model: “Fergie” — Stacy Ferguson, the former “Kids Incorporated” performer, now with the Black Eyed Peas.

What’s next: A live-action pilot for Cartoon Network. “Stylistically, it’s going to have much more of an Asian cinematic influence, as opposed to a more traditional kid-television influence.”

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