Paula Kaplan, who spent more than 20 years at Nickelodeon, where she launched the network’s talent division, has been hired by digital-media company AwesomenessTV as head of talent and live content.
In the newly created position, Kaplan — who exited as Nick’s EVP of original programming and live events in January — will lead AwesomenessTV’s talent initiatives and casting strategies across all film and series production. In addition, she will oversee the creation and execution of live events and programming.
Kaplan is credited with growing Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards, for which she was exec producer, into a major franchise. As g.m. of the West Coast talent group, she also oversaw casting for Nick shows including “iCarly,” “Victorious,” “Drake and Josh,” “Big Time Rush,” “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “Dora the Explorer.” Talent she brought to the network include Nick Cannon, Kenan Thompson, Ariana Grande, Emma Roberts, Josh Peck, Miranda Cosgrove and Jennette McCurdy.
“Having worked closely with Paula for many years, her eye for talent and ability to cultivate stars for the young adult audience is unmatched, which is why she is the perfect person to head up our talent and live content division,” AwesomenessTV founder and CEO Brian Robbins said in announcing her hire. “Her strong relationships throughout the creative community will play an integral role at AwesomenessTV as we build our channels and continue to expand in film, series and live events.”
Immediately prior to joining AwesomenessTV, Kaplan consulted for digital brands and film companies, which included working on CBS Films’ high-school comedy “The Duff.” Before Nick hired her in 1993 as a PR director, she was a freelance TV producer and had worked as a publicist for NBC’s New York TV station, WNBC.
AwesomenessTV is majority-owned by DreamWorks Animation, which acquired the company in 2013, with Hearst holding a 25% stake. Last month the company hired indie film producer Matt Kaplan to run the newly formed Awesomeness Films division.