Meet the Buyers: 2013 Edition

Before you attempt to rub elbows with key toon buyers at the MIPCOM market, grease those puppies up with the inside scoop on their likes, dislikes and possible conversation starters.

Wildernuts

Wildernuts

Ashley Rite
Ashley Rite

Ashley Rite
Director, Development & International Sales
Tricon Films & Television
Years in the biz: Six years
Hometown: Toronto, Canada.
Favorite animated show of 2013: Henry Hugglemonster
Recently acquired animated titles: Wildernuts, JiggiJump
Things I look for in a show: A lot of heart and comedy–hopefully both, with an emphasis on a unique visual quality.
Things I can’t stand in a show: Too many gags just for the sake of it, usually in order to cover up a weak narrative.
What I’m watching: Please Like Me
What I’m reading: Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort
The cartoon trend I’m sick of: Branded entertainment and series that are created around consumer products that have no natural translation for storytelling. There are exceptions, such as Barbie, that has leveraged the popularity of the brand to create a universe that deeply reflects the positive elements of the property.
Current app addiction: Paper53 without wifi, Instagram with wifi.
My number one guilty pleasure: Online shopping
The celebrity I’d love to see star in an animated series: Comedian Brian Regan
Best part of my job: Watching cartoons.

Peg + Cat

Peg + Cat

Linda Simensky
Linda Simensky

Linda Simensky
Vice President, Children’s Programming
PBS
Years in the biz: 28
Hometown: I grew up in Union, NJ
Favorite animated shows of 2013: The Simpsons, Gravity Falls
Recently acquired animated titles: Peg + Cat
Things I look for in a show: Humor, great design, characters I fall in love with.
Things I can’t stand in a show: High, squeaky voices.
What I’m watching: The first season of Mad Men to help me understand the past season.
What I’m reading: All the readings for the animation history class I’m teaching [at U Penn College of Arts & Sciences].
The cartoon trends I’m sick of: Ugly design, irony.
Current app addiction: Candy Crush, sadly.
My number one guilty pleasure: (See answer to app addiction question above.)
The celebrity I’d love to see star in an animated series: Maggie Smith
Best part of my job: Making cartoons, finding out that kids like them.

Rocket Monkeys

Rocket Monkeys

Layla Lewis
Layla Lewis

Layla Lewis
Vice President, International Content Acquisitions
Nickelodeon, Viacom International Media Networks
Years in the biz: Enough to be attending the 25th Semi Annual MIP Kick-Off Dinner.
Hometown: London
Favorite animated show of 2013: Still SpongeBob!
Recently acquired animated titles: Rocket Monkeys (Breakthrough Entertainment), Zack and Quack (Zodiak Kids), Get Blake (Marathon Media ), Wanda and the Aliens(Cake Entertainment)
Things I look for in a show: A clear creative vision, well developed characters and strong storytelling.
Things I can’t stand in a show: Mean spiritedness.
What I’m watching: The final season of Breaking Bad.
What I’m reading: Bossy Pants by Tina Fey
The cartoon trend I’m sick of: Celebrity-based animated series.
Current app addiction: I’d be lost without HopStop…literally!
My number one guilty pleasure: House Hunters International
The celebrity I’d love to see star in an animated series: Boris Johnson
Best part of my job: Very predictably…watching cartoons!

SheZow!

SheZow!

Lou Fazio
Lou Fazio

Lou Fazio
Vice President, Scheduling, Acquisitions and Planning
The Hub Network
Years in the biz: 26
Hometown: Sherman Oaks, CA (by way of Union, NJ)
Favorite animated show of 2013: SheZow!
Recently acquired animated titles: SheZow!, Animaniacs, Tiny Toon Adventures
Things I look for in a show: Smart and wacky comedy that’s fun for kids (and kids at heart).
Things I can’t stand in a show: Lack of originality.
What I’m watching: Obviously not work-related: Hell on Wheels, Ray Donovan, Sons of Anarchy.
What I’m reading: The Ghouls, a collection of classic horror stories that inspired classic horror films.
The cartoon trend I’m sick of: We make a big effort at The Hub Network to make smart shows that don’t talk down to our kids and are entertaining on multiple levels, so parents like them, too. So, mediocre writing doesn’t fly for me, although I’m not sure if that qualifies as a “trend.”
Current app addiction: MOG.com (fantastic music streaming service).
My number one guilty pleasure: True Blood–fun show but it’s time to end it, which will thankfully happen next year.
The celebrity I’d love to see star in an animated series: Stephen Colbert
Best part of my job: My fantastic, talented colleagues! And, we get free NERF-blasters from Hasbro.

Grojband

Grojband

John Rooney
John Rooney

John Rooney
Director of Programming, TELETOON Canada Inc.
Years in the biz: 23 years
Hometown: Toronto
Favorite animated show of 2013: Camp Lakebottom, Rocket Monkeys
Recently acquired animated titles: Annoying Orange, Teen Titans GO!, Avengers Assemble, Grojband
Things I look for in a show: Gut-busting humour
Things I can’t stand in a show: Dumbed-down dialogue
What I’m watching: Orange Is the New Black, Top Chef, Archer, Robot Chicken, Amazing Race Canada
What I’m reading: The stack of comics near my bed.
The cartoon trend I’m sick of: 3D.
Current app addiction: Vine
My number one guilty pleasure: ’70s cartoons–Scooby-Doo and Super Friends.
The celebrity I’d love to see star in an animated series: Simon Pegg
Best part of my job: I watch cartoons every day, what’s not to love?

Dragons: Riders of the Berk

Dragons: Riders of the Berk

Sarah Muller
Sarah Muller

Sarah Muller
Head of CBBC Acquisitions & Drama Development, BBC
Years in the biz: 25
Hometown: I’m London born and bred.
Favorite animated show of 2013: Regular Show and Strange Hill High
Recently acquired animated titles: Dragons: Riders of the Berk–great animation, fantastic storytelling, a great fit for the CBBC schedule.
Things I look for in a show: Compelling characters. Oh, and great animation and fantastic storytelling.
Things I can’t stand in a show: Lack of originality in the design and sloppy, badly thought-through editorial.
What I’m watching: I know it’s wholly predictable, but Breaking Bad and also new Family Guy, Modern Family and re-runs of Mr. Selfridge. And Strange Hill High, obviously!
What I’m reading: Waiting for the final part of Hilary Mantel’s Wolfhall trilogy, but have also read Pat Barker’s Regeneration Trilogy in advance of next year’s WWI centenary and Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane–he’s brilliant!
The cartoon trend I’m sick of: Over-colored, poor quality CGI that can’t compete with the audience’s expectations.
Current app addiction: For reasons that escape me, it remains Temple Run.
My number one guilty pleasure: Game of Thrones–I have turned into a proper fan girl!
The celebrity I’d love to see star in an animated series: Russell Brand
Best part of my job: The chance to make great content that only the BBC would ever support.

Garfield

Garfield

Cecilia Persson
Cecilia Persson

Cecilia Persson
VP of Acquisitions EMEA & International, Turner Broadcasting Kids
Years in the biz: 16
Hometown: Stockholm, Sweden
Favorite animated show of 2013: The Amazing World of Gumball
Recently acquired animated titles: Garfield series 4
Things I look for in a show: I look for great characters that our audiences want to spend time with; and that are funny and engaging! Universally appealing humor is very important as well as adventure and action.
Things I can’t stand in a show: Dull or boring characters and predictable outcomes.
What I’m watching: Adventure Time, The Amazing World of Gumball, Ray Donovan and Breaking Bad.
What I’m reading: The Shardlake Series by CJ Sansom
The cartoon trend I’m sick of: How can anyone get sick of cartoons?!
Current app addiction: CNN and Jetsetter
My number one guilty pleasure: Shoes
The celebrity I’d love to see star in an animated series: Jon Stewart
Best part of my job: Seeing the development and making of The Amazing World of Gumball, and its phenomenal success and worldwide recognition with 18 global award wins. Also working with great shows and programs and continuing to make our young audiences laugh and smile!

Spectacular Spider-Man

Spectacular Spider-Man

Joel Andryc
Joel Andryc

Joel Andryc
President, Vortexx
Years in the biz: 34 (26 years with Haim Saban)
Hometown: Toledo, Ohio
Favorite animated show of 2013: Tobuscus Animated Adventures (Toby Turner) & Julius Jr.
Recently acquired animated titles: Spectacular Spider-Man, B-Daman Crossfire
Things I look for in a show: Character, humor and heart.
Things I can’t stand in a show: Talking down to kids.
What I’m watching: Orange Is the New Black
What I’m reading: The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer
The cartoon trend I’m sick of: The use of “shock value” as humor to get a cheap laugh.
Current app addiction: Uber…especially when I am traveling.
My number one guilty pleasure: Bordeaux wines
The celebrity I’d love to see star in an animated series: Chloë Moretz
Best part of my job: Staying in touch with the kid audience and in-tune with pop culture trends.