Tom Ascheim is leaving Freeform to lead children’s and young adults programming for Warner Bros.
Ascheim will be responsible for leading the global strategy for Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Boomerang, managing the studios of Cartoon Network and Warner Bros. Animation and having global responsibility for the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) channel.
He will remain with Freeform through June and start with WarnerMedia in July. He will report to Warner Bros. Studio chief Ann Sarnoff.
“I am excited that Tom will be joining Warner Bros. He is an excellent executive and collaborative leader with an impressive track record and deep experience in the kids and young adult worlds. I had the benefit of seeing Tom’s skills firsthand when we were at Nickelodeon and really look forward to working with him again,” said Sarnoff.
Ascheim ascended to the top job at Freeform in 2013, taking over for Michael Reilly, when it was still called ABC Family. He was passed over for the top job at ABC in 2018 in favor of his top lieutenant Karey Burke, who was head of originals. Before joining ABC Family, Ascheim served as executive vice president and general manager of Nickelodeon Television and CEO of Newsweek. Before joining Viacom in 1990, he was a financial analyst.
“I am thrilled to be joining Warner Bros. and especially excited to be working with the deeply talented folks at Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Boomerang, TCM and Warner Bros. Animation,” said Ascheim. “I’ve been watching their work since I was a child and it’s thrilling to be part of such a storied group. I’m equally excited to be working again with Ann Sarnoff who remains one of the best people I’ve ever had the privilege to work with.”
The departure leaves Disney’s top entertainment cable network without a leader during an increasingly-uncertain time in the industry due to the continuing coronavirus pandemic. The Walt Disney Co. said last week that it will begin furloughing certain employees whose jobs aren’t deemed necessary beginning on April 19. The company did not give a specific number for the amount of people who it expects to impacted by the furloughs, but did say that all of those affected will remain Disney employees with full healthcare benefits.