Genius Brands Promotes Jon Ollwerther to President of Kartoon Channel!

Genius Brands, a global brand management company that creates and licenses multimedia entertainment content for children, has promoted Jon Ollwerther to president of family entertainment digital network Kartoon Channel!

Ollwerther previously served as GM of Kartoon Channel! and will continue in his role as EVP of business development for Genius Brands.

“I am pleased to announce the well-deserved promotion of Jon, in recognition of his significant contributions to the rapid growth and success of our hit kid’s streaming platform, Kartoon Channel,” Andy Heyward, chairman and CEO of Genius Brands, said in a statement.

Kartoon Channel! delivers content across multiple platforms, including Comcast, Cox, Dish, Sling TV, Amazon Prime, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Android TV, Android Mobile, Google Play, Xumo, Roku, Tubi, Samsung Smart TVs and LGTVs.

“Viewer rankings have put Kartoon Channel! above all other services, including Netflix, Disney+, and You Tube Kids, in both the Apple and the Google app stores,” Ollwerther said in a statement. “In addition, I am extremely proud to announce that ‘Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten’ has just surpassed 21 million views on Kartoon Channel!, over 3.6 million per episode, since the initial launch just over one month ago with six episodes now released.  We believe ‘Superhero Kindergarten’ has risen to the ranks of one of the most highly viewed new cartoon launches in history, as we are building an evergreen production that will entertain generations of children, while attracting both advertisers and consumer product licensees.

“In addition to the recently launched hit, ‘Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten,’ starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, we will be rolling out ‘KC Pop Quiz!’next quarter. It is a lightning fast-paced daily game show based on pop culture where kids win cool prizes. Think Jeopardy meets HQ Trivia! Shortly thereafter, we will introduce our third original product, Shaquille O’Neal’s first animated series, ‘Shaq’s Garage,’ created by Joel Cohen, the co-writer and creator of Toy Story. Additionally, we will now be launching season three of our hit series ‘Rainbow Rangers’ with an exciting new twist.

“I am honored to take on this new role with Genius Brands, as I truly believe we are curating the very best combination of original, exclusive, and commercially acquired product within the kids’ entertainment industry.”

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Prior to joining Genius Brands, Ollwerther served as VP of media, arts and entertainment for Measure, the nation’s leading Drone as a Service company. Working with clients across the country and around the world, Ollwerther has an extensive credit list of collaborations with brands and advertising agencies to create unforgettable experiences.

Cinedigm Inks Streaming Deal With Genius Brands International

Cinedigm April 20 announced a digital content partnership with Genius Brands International for its Kartoon Channel!, an ad-supported streaming channel offering family-friendly content. The deal encompasses VOD as well as Free Ad-Supported TV (FAST) rights.

Cinedigm will provide movies such as animated feature Cinderella; Hero Quest, featuring the voices of Whoopi Goldberg, Sharon Stone and Milla Jovovich; and Bunyan & Babe with characters voiced by John Goodman, Kelsey Grammar and Jeff Foxworthy. The partnership also includes five seasons (236 episodes) of the anime series “Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters” and holiday favorites such as “The Nutcracker.”

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“As we continue to expand into the AVOD and FAST spaces, we are committed to partnering with gold standard companies and brands,” Chris McGurk, CEO of Cinedigm, said in a statement. “Having worked with [Genius Brands CEO] Andy Heyward for decades and knowing the Genius Brands team, I know that Kartoon Channel! fits this goal well.”

Additional films included in the content distribution partnership include:
Snow White
• Puss in Boots: A Furry Tail
• The Hive
• Twinkle Toes Lights Up New York
• Tad: The Lost Explorer
• Hatched
• A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventure
• A Turtle’s Tale 2: Sammy’s Escape From Paradise

Genius Brands and POW! Entertainment Forming Stan Lee Universe Joint Venture

Genius Brands International and Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment are forming a joint venture to create Stan Lee Universe, drawing from more than 100 original Stan Lee creations from which it will develop and license approximately seven properties per year.

Stan Lee Universe will assume worldwide rights to the name, physical likeness, physical signature, live-action and animated motion picture, television, online, digital, publishing, comic book, merchandising and licensing rights to Stan Lee and his IP creations post-Marvel Entertainment and not committed elsewhere.

Genius Brands will be the managing and controlling partner of the joint venture.

“In all of Hollywood, there is no greater prize,” Andy Heyward, chairman and CEO of Genius Brands, said in a statement. “This is the Holy Grail. Stan Lee Universe is a once in a lifetime asset drawn from over 100 original, heretofore unexploited properties, created by the most successful creator of intellectual property of our time.”

The late Stan Lee created comic book characters including Spider-Man, Iron Man, Black Panther, The Incredible Hulk, X-Men, Thor, Captain America, Silver Surfer, Ant-Man, Nick Fury and Guardians of the Galaxy. Lee was the editor and creative force behind Marvel Comics, which was sold to the Walt Disney Company for $4.4 billion and resulted in a string of hit films, including The Avengers.

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“Having worked with Stan and been a close friend for almost 30 years, nothing could make me prouder than for Genius Brands to become the guardian of both his brand and body of work,” added Heyward. “I have no doubt that the greatest characters, the greatest stories, and the greatest hits from the mind of Stan Lee have yet to be told. As big as Spider-Man, Black Panther, X-Men and the Avengers are today, tomorrow it will be Stan Lee’s Tomorrow Men, his Stringbean, his Black Fury and Virus.”

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“The spinoff opportunities for Kartoon Channel! alone are mindboggling, including a dedicated Stan Lee Universe program block,added David Neuman, former president of Walt Disney Television and chief content officer of Genius Brands’ new Kartoon Channel!.

Genius Brands will be creating a dedicated business and creative unit specific to Stan Lee Universe, Heyward said.

“For the millions of Stan Lee fans, we look forward to taking this unique asset and faithfully bringing the characters to the movie screens, to comic books, to toys and licensed products worldwide,” he said.