EXCLUSIVE: Stephanie Sperber has stepped down from her post as President of Imagine Kids & Family after four years to focus on producing. In the interim, the label’s slate will be overseen by Karen Lunder, President of Imagine Features, and Kristen Zolner, President of Imagine Television.
Sperber helped get Kids & Family off the ground; she was brought in by Imagine Entertainment principals Brian Grazer and Ron Howard to run the unit at its January 2019 launch.
Since then, the company has found success with Tiny Chef, investing an the emerging digital IP, which Sperber had found, and scaling it up with a TV series on Nickelodeon and other brand extensions. Imagine Kids & Family’s first live-action series, The Astronauts, earned an Emmy nomination for Children’s or Family Viewing Series. Animated series Bossy Bear just premiered on Nick, and coming up are original movie The Slumber Party for Disney+ and animated series Kalamata’s Kitchen for Apple TV+. Sperber will continue to produce the Imagine projects she had developed, including the Tiny Chef franchise.
Sperber took the post of Kids & Family president after founding White Space Entertainment and serving as CEO of the venture focused on building kids franchises through consumer products and digital gaming. Prior to that, Sperber was President of Global Consumer Products, Gaming, Partnerships and Product Placement for Universal Pictures.
“I’ve had so much fun producing, it was so satisfying to me after having spent so many years on the corporate side at Universal that I decided to do what I really wanted, to produce,” Sperber said. “I loved working at Imagine, the guys gave me such an amazing opportunity to change careers and pivot from a corporate, consumer product, franchise focus. I think this is a moment in the kids industry where there is space for interesting creative to break through, and that is what I am focusing on.”
Sperber is in the process of figuring out logistics, including where she may be based and whether she may team up with a producing partner.
Sperber began her career with the launch of the Cartoon Network working with Turner Broadcasting as an executive at Hanna-Barbera Cartoons. Before entering the entertainment industry, Sperber worked for then-Senator Joe Biden on the Senate Judiciary Committee as a speech writer.
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