WarnerMedia Kids & Family Unit Adds Executives

WarnerMedia announced that Gloria Ponce and Sowon Sawyer have joined the company’s “kids & family” creative and programming team. Ponce, who joined the company earlier this year, has taken on the new role of senior creative executive, while Sawyer has been tapped as VP of program planning.

Both report to Amy Friedman, head of kids and family programming, with Sawyer also reporting to Meredith Gertler, EVP of content strategy and planning for HBO and HBO Max.

From left, Gloria Ponce and Sowon Sawyer

WarnerMedia Kids & Family aims to expand streaming and linear content to preschoolers and families. Ponce and Sawyer will be tasked with adding content and strategic program for the recently launched Cartoonito and ACME Night, as well as other content and programming initiatives across Max and Cartoon Network.

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“Gloria and Sowon each bring exceptional taste and diverse industry experience to the team, and they’ll be invaluable leaders as we deliver inclusive content to kids and families wherever they watch,” Freedman said in a statement.

In her new role, Ponce oversees the creative development of live-action original content across ages 6-11 and family audiences. She currently has more than 15 shows in development for Max and Cartoon Network, with an emphasis on Latino-focused programming.

Before joining WarnerMedia, Ponce spent three years at Netflix managing international originals for youth audiences. Previously, she worked as a creative executive in the Nickelodeon Original Movies department and later transitioned to the Latino-focused digital content studio Mitú, where she was instrumental in crafting the company’s brand identity and scripted content strategy.

Prior to joining WarnerMedia, Sawyer led scheduling strategy for SundanceTV at AMC Networks, where she was responsible for promoting audience growth and retention for SundanceTV. Previously, Sawyer worked 11 years at Nickelodeon in program planning and strategy for TeenNick, NickJr., and NickToons.

An advocate for inclusion, Sawyer also served as a founding co-chair of AMC Networks’ diversity, equity and inclusion committee, where she spearheaded the development of nine employee resource groups, served as a key advisor on corporate diversity initiatives, and developed mentorship and professional development programs.

Friedman’s executive team also includes: Kim Howitt, senior creative executive, who oversees the development of third-party animation, co-production and live-action across preschool, kids and family; Adina Pitt, whose expanded role includes leading kids and family acquisitions, co-productions, and content partnerships across both linear and streaming in the United States, and on linear in LatAm; and Joanna Rosenthal, as creative executive, WarnerMedia Kids & Family.

‘Tom and Jerry’ Preschool Series Gets Greenlight for HBO Max and Cartoon Network

The first-ever preschool “Tom and Jerry” animated series “Tom and Jerry Time,” produced by Warner Bros. Animation, has been greenlighted as part of WarnerMedia Kids & Family’s new Cartoonito preschool programming block, debuting on HBO Max and Cartoon Network.

Combining comedy with key early learning concepts, “Tom and Jerry Time” aims to teach young viewers the skills they need to explore the world around them, according to the studio.

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“Based on the beloved classic that so many parents grew up with, ‘Tom and Jerry Time’ introduces a whole new generation to these iconic characters with a fresh and original take,” Amy Friedman, head of kids and family programming at Warner Bros., said in a statement. “For our youngest audience, Sam Register and his team at Warner Bros. Animation managed to keep all the playful hijinks, drop all the cartoon violence, and add the most delightful early childhood learning through song and story.  It’s playful — with a purpose — and we think parents and their little ones will love watching and learning together.”

Presented as a series of animated musical shorts, “Tom and Jerry Time” turns the world created by the cat-and-mouse rivalry into a cartoon classroom. Preschoolers will be introduced to their comical mischief — chasing, pranking and outsmarting each other — while also learning key social and emotional skillsets, lessons in independence, early math and literacy skills, and other key preschool educational concepts, according to the studio.

Sam Register (Looney Tunes Cartoons) is executive producer. Will Finn (Tom and Jerry in New York) serves as showrunner and co-executive producer with Denise Downer (Stillwater) on board as story editor.

HBO Max Launching New Kids Cartoon Network Sept. 13

WarnerMedia is taking a new approach to children’s programming. The media company is set to launch the new “Cartoonito” preschool block on Sept. 13 on HBO Max and Cartoon Network. The new platform offers a modern approach to preschool programming with a focus on “humancentric learning,” including programming that celebrates individuality and originality, while championing creativity, compassion and inclusion.

The humancentric learning framework developed in partnership with educational psychologist Dr. Laura Brown, which aims to help children develop their unique potential and encourage them to treat others with compassion, respect and fairness.

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On Max, Cartoonito will be presented as a dedicated page featuring a collection of new preschool shows, including “Little Ellen” and the second season of the “The Not-Too-Late Show With Elmo,” along with other staples such as “Esme & Roy” and “Sesame Street,” among others.

Cartoonito on Cartoon Network will be available Monday through Friday (6 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET/PT) and will include new series “Bing,” “Mush-Mush & The Mushables” and “Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go.” Preschoolers and families can also tune in Saturday-Sunday (6 to 8 a.m. ET/PT) for additional new Cartoonito shows, including “Lucas the Spider.”

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“Cartoonito’s offerings on Max and Cartoon Network will reflect a wide array of diverse content that connects kids and their caregivers through relatable stories, lovable characters and meaningful social emotional learning both in and between the shows,” Amy Friedman, head of kids and family programming at WarnerMedia, said in a statement.