Nickelodeon has filled the vacuum in its top animation ranks, expanding the responsibilities of James Stephenson who has been named to the newly created position of SVP, Animation and Games. He will be adding animation production and development to his current duties of digital content creation. Stephenson will be based at Nickelodeon’s animation studio in Burbank, Calif., reporting to Russell Hicks, President, Content Development and Production, Nickelodeon Group.
The promotion follows the March company-wide Viacom layoffs, which saw three top Nickelodeon animation executives depart: Rich Magallanes, SVP, current series; Jenna Boyd, SVP, animation development; and Jill Sanford, VP, animation development.
In this new role, Stephenson will oversee current series creative as well as day-to-day operations for animation development, short form, series, and games. He has been tasked with expanding Nickelodeon’s development and production capabilities.
“James’ outstanding track record for producing highly successful content across all of Nickelodeon’s screens makes him the perfect addition to the Nickelodeon animation team, as we take a more holistic approach to the development process,” said Hicks.
Most recently, Stephenson served as SVP of Content Development, Digital Media. He was responsible for the creative development of original content for Nickelodeon’s digital destinations, including Nick’s websites, Apps, digital platforms and premium games publishing businesses. That included Nickelodeon’s first-ever original digital series, Welcome To The Wayne, which subsequently has been greenlit for television after a successful run on the network’s digital platforms.
Stephenson joined Nickelodeon in 2008, as SVP, Creative Director, Digital; overseeing creative development for all digital media including online, mobile and console/handheld platforms. Prior to that, Stephenson served as VP of Digital Creative, Product Development at MTV Networks and Creative Director at Atom Entertainment.