He will oversee Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Boomerang, the studios of Cartoon Network and Warner Bros Animation in Los Angeles and will have global responsibility for the Turner Classic Movies channel. He will take over the newly formed division in the summer, reporting to Warner Bros chair and CEO Ann Sarnoff.
The news comes as Ascheim earlier today stepped down as president of Freeform after six and a half years at the Disney network, triggering immediate speculation that he had lined up another job.
At Warner Bros, he reunites with Sarnoff, with whom he worked at Nickelodeon.
“I am excited that Tom will be joining Warner Bros,” Sarnoff said. “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.”
Ascheim’s appointment helps fill the void left by the departure at the end of 2019 of Christina Miller, who stepped down as president of Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Boomerang and TCM after nearly 15 years with the company. Ascheim’s larger portfolio includes oversight of production operations including Warner Bros Animation.
The content under Ascheim’s purview is distributed in 192 countries around the world. The new division’s networks are in 500 million homes and delivered through more than 65 channels in 31 languages. Ascheim will work with executives at Warner Bros and the WarnerMedia Global Distribution and Advertising Sales team to develop and implement global and local strategies for the brands.
“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.”
Ascheim joined Freeform when it was still ABC Family in December 2013 and oversaw its rebrand into Freeform. Original series on Freeform include hit comedy Grown-ish; dramas The Bold Type, Siren, Good Trouble, Party of Five; the newest addition, Motherland: Fort Salem; and the upcoming Last Summer produced by Jessica Biel.
A well-liked executive, Ascheim has spent much of his career catering to younger audiences. He joined the millennial-focused Freeform after serving as general manager of Nickelodeon Television, chief strategy officer of Sesame Workshop and EVP of Sesame Learning.
Ascheim started out as a producer’s assistant in New York and at Silver Screen Partners, which funded movies including The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, before getting an MBA. After a stint as a financial analyst, he joined Viacom in 1990 as VP of Nickelodeon Business Development and Media Products, where he was responsible for strategic and long-range planning, market analysis and the annual budget.
After a series of internal promotions, he served as EVP and general manager of Nickelodeon Digital Television Networks and ultimately as EVP and general manager of Nickelodeon Television, where he managed the complete portfolio including Nickelodeon, Nick@Nite, Nike Jr. and Nick’s three digital networks. He led the negotiation between Nick and Sesame Workshop, which resulted in the creation of Noggin, on which he worked closely with Sarnoff, and oversaw The N, a channel dedicated to serving millennials.
In 2007, Ascheim left Viacom to join Newsweek as CEO. In his four-year stint there, he oversaw all global operations and magazines and the sale of the company to The Daily Beast.
Peter White contributed to this report.