Top Wing added to Nick’s preschool shows; DreamWorks hires Jennifer Powell as new head of development; Casey Bloys takes over HBO as president of programming

Welcome to the programming takeover edition of Gene Scallop’s entertainment report. Here’s what’s topping today!


Nick Jr’s been hard at work rearranging their preschool shows and adding new specials off of the recent news of the new episode of Blaze and The Monster Machines featuring NASCAR’s famous athletes such as Danica Patrick, the first female NASCAR driver. The newest preschool show flew to Nick Jr. this week as it continues to entertain the kiddies throughout summer. What new show has just landed Danny?


Danny Angelfish (via Animation World)- 9 Story Media Group announced that its new CG action-adventure preschool series TOP WING has been picked up by Nickelodeon.  Nickelodeon has secured exclusive rights to the 52 x 11 series for its channels worldwide, excluding Canada.

TOP WING is a CG animated, action-adventure preschool series that follows a team of eager young birds as they flock together to help their community and earn their wings as full-feathered rescue birds. The series teaches preschoolers the importance of teamwork and models successful problem solving.  The concept was created by Matthew Fernandes of the Industrial Brothers (Yup Yups, Gummandos).

“We are absolutely thrilled to partner with Nickelodeon to introduce these charming characters to pre-schoolers all over the world,” commented Vince Commisso, President & CEO of 9 Story Media Group.



DreamWorks, which restored its reputation thanks to Jeffery Katzenburg’s turnaround plan, hired their 3rd head of development since Gregg Taylor left the studio last week. Fresh off during production of their newest animated musical flick. Who’s joining Mirelle Soria and Bonnie Arnold Angie?


Angie Angelfish (via Dateline Hollywood)- EXCLUSIVE: Jennifer Howell, who was Paramount’s Head of Comedy for the past two-and-a-half years, has joined DreamWorks Animation as the company’s new Head of Development. She is taking over for Gregg Taylor who began producing duties last August on DreamWorks’ Larrikins, the animated musical film. Like Taylor (who had the gig before her), Howell will report to Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria.


Taylor had been maintaining the job duties while also juggling his responsibilities on the CGI-film Larrikins while Arnold and Soria searched for his replacement. As Head of Development for the past five years, Taylor oversaw the development of both Trolls and The Boss Baby, for which he also served as the Production Executive (as he did on Home and the How To Train Your Dragon films).

He will now turn his attention to Larrikins, a film being directed by Tim Minchin and Chris Miller about an all-animal rock-n-roll musical. The story follows a desert-dwelling marsupial known as a bilby (which in reality looks like a rat and rabbit that was crossbred). The bilby has lived under a rock his entire life before he is kicked out by his parents and told to get a life. He does so by going on a road trip with a band in the Australian Outback. The project was written by Harry Cripps; Minchin is composing.


Minchin was the composer/lyricist of the Tony Award-winning Matilda the Musical.

Larrikins is scheduled for release on February 16, 2018 through Fox, but given the acquisition of DreamWorks Animation last month, we would not be surprised if the picture switched to Universal for distribution.

Taylor was instrumental in the formation of Oriental DreamWorks as well as the acquisition of Classic Media. He worked, too, to help in the creation of the company’s animation TV division.

Howell comes to DreamWorks Animation with a strong background in animation. She previously ran 20th Century Fox Television’s animation department, and served as EVP at Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s film company Important Studios. She was a supervising producer on South Park and served as a producer for 10 years on that series as well as their Team America, That’s My Bush and South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut.

In her nearly two years at Paramount, Howell also set up several comedies such as SoapdishGrease: LiveFirst Wives Club, Kid BossBajillion Dollar Brokers, and School of Rock, which was sold straight to series.

She has also set up such dramas as  Shooter and The Truman Show. While at 20th Century Fox Television, she helped launch several series for Fox including Bob’s Burgers, The Cleveland Show, Napoleon Dynamite, Allen Gregory,  Murder Police, and Sit Down Shut Up.

Prior to DreamWorks, Taylor was at the Kennedy/Marshall Company where he served as senior exec VP for six years.


There was also a takeover at HBO last week as Michael Lambardo stepped down as president of HBO programming triggering a shakeup. He’s been with the network for 30 years of its existence since he arrived back in 1985. HBO wasted no time to find a replacement pres. Who’s in charge now Angie?




In his new role, Bloys, who was promoted to president, HBO Series, Late Night and Specials, in January, will oversee all of HBO’s and Cinemax’s programming areas. That includes HBO Films, HBO Sports, HBO Documentaries & Family and HBO Entertainment. Len Amato, President, HBO Films; Kary Antholis, President, HBO Mini-Series & Cinemax Programming; Peter Nelson, Executive Vice President, HBO Sports; and Sheila Nevins, President, HBO Documentaries & Family, will now report to Bloys.

“We are very fortunate that Casey will assume the role of President, HBO Programming.  He has the deepest respect and admiration of our colleagues inside the company as well as throughout the creative community,” said HBO chairman Richard Plepler.


Bloys is a well-liked long-time HBO executive who has a long track record in development. Bloys joined the network in 2004 as director, Development, HBO Independent Productions, and was promoted to VP, HIP, in 2005. In 2006, he was named VP, HBO Entertainment, spearheading the development and production of comedy series and elevated to SVP in 2009 and EVP in 2013. Some of the HBO series he has overseen include best series Emmy winner Veep, Silicon ValleyGirlsEnlightened, Flight of the Conchords, Ballers, Eastbound and Down, Getting On and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, as well as the upcoming Divorce from Sarah Jessica Parker and Sharon Horgan, Insecure from Issa Rae and Vice Principals from Danny McBride and Jody Hill.


As head of programming, Lombardo oversaw the launch of such HBO series as True Blood, Boardwalk Empire, The Newsroom, Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley, Girls, Veep, Looking, Ballers, True Detective, Vice, The Jinx, Mildred Pierce, Olive Kitteridge and Last Week Tonight With John Oliver – as well as the upcoming projects with Bill Simmons and Jon Stewart.  He also shepherded Cinemax’s foray into primetime originals with Strike Back and Banshee and The Knick. At the last year’s Emmys, HBO garnered 43 awards, more than any other network in 40 years, including the best drama and comedy series trophies.

“It goes without saying that Mike’s contributions over these many years, most especially in the last nine as President of Programming, have been nothing short of extraordinary,” said Plepler.  “I believe it’s fair to say that his brilliant work will stand the test of time and his tenure will be recognized as second to none.”


Checking the Penguins tally, 1,495 fans sign in as Team Skipper makes last minute plans before summer begins.


Steven’s back for more adventures tomorrow night as once again defends the world from evil. Join him along with  Regular Show, Adventure Time, Clarence, Gumball, Teen Titans Go, and Powerpuff Girls as season finale week officially ends. See you soon for this summer’s editions of Gene Scallop’s entertainment report. See you this summer!

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