Genius Brands International has launched Kartoon Classroom!, a stand-alone segment of Kartoon Channel!
Jon Ollwerther has been appointed to oversee the operations of Kartoon Channel! and Kartoon Classroom! as general manager and executive VP of global business development. Kartoon Classroom! will feature relevant and impactful STEAM-based content, including programming from Genius Brands’ ‘content with a purpose’ library such as Baby Genius, Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab and Warren Buffett’s Secret Millionaires Club. Kartoon Classroom! will also showcase content from third-party creators worldwide.
Genius Brands has brought onboard Disney veteran content and programming strategist Lou Fazio as a senior advisor, collaborating with Ollwerther on the launch of Kartoon Classroom!
The team also includes Mark Shoeman, director of operations at Kartoon Channel!, who reports to Ollwerther.
“At Kartoon Channel!, our calling is to entertain and inform. Kartoon Classroom! is the next natural step in that growth, offering unique value for parents and kids,” said executive chairman of Kartoon Channel!, Margaret Loesch. “We are also thrilled to announce our first original production, KC! Pop Quiz, which will be a highly entertaining, informative and interactive pop quiz format program for kids and families in the tradition of HQ Trivia and other shows.”
“Jon is an energetic visionary and talented executive who brings invaluable expertise, particularly in marrying technology and entertainment, which is vital now in building a children’s media company in the 21st century and our new Kartoon Channel!,” commented Genius Brands’ chairman and CEO, Andy Heyward. “I can think of no better executive to lead our Kartoon Channel! and Kartoon Classroom! efforts and grow revenues as we look for exciting and fresh opportunities to deliver unique entertainment experiences to kids and their families in the coming years.”
“I am thrilled to take the reins of the Kartoon Channel!, which has seen incredible growth since the June 2020 launch, and work with a management team, including Margaret, David and Lou, that has unmatched experience in the kid’s and family media space to create the premier entertainment destination offering free best-in-class content, including the upcoming 2021 premiere of our new series, Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten with Arnold Schwarzenegger and other to-be-announced original content,” stated Ollwerther. “Our announcement of Kartoon Classroom! is an example of the customer-centric thinking at Genius Brands. Today, parents, educators, and kids alike are rethinking the future of learning and development. With Kartoon Classroom! we are providing an answer to busy parents and curious kids. With more and more kids engaging in at-home learning, we believe it is essential to offer shows that have educational content to enrich the viewing experience for our audience.”
“Having worked at Disney Channel and subsequently with Margaret to help drive the growth of The Hub, I am excited to once again collaborate with her, Jon, David and the Genius Brands’ team to build Kartoon Channel! and Kartoon Classroom! into a top streaming platform for kids,” commented Fazio. “Moreover, Professor Emeritus Don Roberts, former Chairman of the Stanford University School of Communications, and recognized expert on children and media, is serving as an advisor to guide the educational content in each show, which is a real benefit to the audience we serve. This is an ideal opportunity for me to utilize my years in programming and acquisitions strategy to deliver a smart, entertaining and safe viewing experience.”