DreamWorks Animation has enlisted TV veteran Katie O’Connell Marsh to lead its push into live-action television production.
DWA chief Jeffrey Katzenberg said the growing demand for kid- and family-friendly programming made the move a natural fit for the company, which has grown its TV animation activity significantly in the past few years.
Marsh, who mostly recently led production and development for Gaumont International Television, will work out of DWA’s Glendale offices and begin in January.
“Television has quickly grown into one of our most successful businesses and, as the demand for kids and co-viewing content continues to rise, extending the DreamWorks Animation brand to live-action TV in a strategic and financially disciplined way will spur even further growth,” said Katzenberg. “Katie’s proven track record of developing hit live-action television programming, coupled with her success in quickly building television businesses from the ground up, makes her the perfect executive to lead us into this new genre.”
DWA president Ann Daly noted that there is likely to be opportunity for the company to adapt its library franchises such as “Shrek” and “The Penguins of Madagascar” in the live-action realm. With Netflix and Amazon in particular loading up on children’s programming as a selling point for their services, the appetite for programs that have built-in brand recognition is big.
“Our move into live-action will enable DWA to further capitalize on the evolving television landscape by creating new opportunities on both traditional and emerging platforms for our branded series,” Daly said.
Marsh spent the past five years spearheading the U.S. production operation of French media giant Gaumont. Among the shows shepherded on her watch were NBC’s “Hannibal,” Netflix’s “Hemlock Grove” and “Narcos” and the upcoming “F Is For Family.”
Before Gaumont, Marsh held senior development posts at Imagine Television and NBC.
“When Jeffrey and Ann approached me, I was impressed by the endless possibilities and unique specificity of the opportunities that lie ahead, as I have always admired the iconic and global DreamWorks Animation brand,” Marsh said. “The existing library of brands, coupled with a desire for original content, makes this opportunity incredibly special.”