New Execs Sprout Up at PBS KIDS

Sandy Wax has been named president of programming and Andrew Beecham senior VP of programming for PBS KIDS Sprout, the new broadcast and online outlet for preschool content. Effective Nov. 2, the appointments will have Wax oversee all strategy and operations for the Philadelphia-based network, while Beecham leads Sprout’s programming development and acquisition strategies.

In addition to the new hires, Diana Kerekes, VP and general counsel of content development for Comcast Corp., will assume a seat on the PBS KIDS Sprout Board of Directors after serving as acting general manager for the network during its development and launch.

Wax comes to PBS KIDS Sprout from Disney ABC Cable Networks, where she most recently served as senior VP of SOAPnet program planning, scheduling and acquisitions. A 16-year cable industry veteran, Wax joined Disney ABC Cable Networks in 1998 and developed the Playhouse Disney curriculum, which became the brand blueprint for Playhouse Disney. She also has held several senior management positions with Disney ABC Cable Networks and Discovery Networks.

Beecham, who most recently served as senior VP of programming investments for HIT Ent., will report to Wax. While at HIT, he worked closely with Kerekes in the formation of Sprout, serving as the company’s liaison in developing the network’s programming policies and on-air presentation. Prior to joining HIT, he served as director of Playhouse Disney, worldwide programming strategy group for ABC Cable Networks Group. During his nine-year tenure, Beecham was responsible for creating and introducing the Playhouse Disney programming format to numerous international markets and oversaw global production.

PBS KIDS Sprout launched its VOD service in April, and rolled out its 24/7 digital cable channel and website (www.sproutletsgrow.com) in September. The network is available on digital cable and satellite with more than 16 million committed subscribers, according to PBS. Sprout’s program lineup includes Sesame Street, Bob the Builder, Barney & Friends, Thomas & Friends, Angelina Ballerina, Sagwa: The Chinese Siamese Cat, Caillou, The Berenstain Bears, Jay Jay the Jet Plane, Teletubbies, Dragon Tales, Pingu and Noddy, among others.