Corus Kids chief to run Sprout in US

Kids-logo-460_2Deirdre BrennanDeidre Brennan is leaving Canada’s Corus Entertainment after less than a year to become general manager of NBCUniversal’s children’s channel Sprout.

Brennan will oversee all aspects of Sprout’s programming, development, marketing, business strategy and performance at the network, which sits within NBCU Cable Entertainment’s lifestyle networks portfolio.

She will report to Frances Berwick, president of NBCU Cable Entertainment, lifestyle networks.

Sprout’s previous long-term leader, founder Sandy Wax, left in February last year.

This comes less than a year after Brennan joined Canadian media giant Corus as vice president, kids content. In that role, she oversaw channels such as YTV, Treehouse, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and Disney Channel.

That move came soon after she left her post as head of children’s at Australian pubcaster the ABC.

Having relocated from Sydney to Toronto for the Corus job, from February she will be based at Sprout’s headquarters in New York.

At Sprout, Brennan will oversee commissioning, working closely with US and international producers and broadcasters. The former BBC Worldwide Australia/New Zealand exec also attempt to forge synergies with NBCU businesses such as DreamWorks Animation, which became part of the Comcast-owned entertainment giant last year in a US$3.8 billion deal.

“Sprout is evolving and growing rapidly as we reinvent our business model to an originals-driven brand, and I’m thrilled to have a leader with Deirdre’s unparalleled experience drive this growth phase,” said NBCU’s Berwick.

Sprout has also recently hired Nickelodeon’s Amy Friedman as senior VP, programming and development, and Dea Connick Perez, a former Discovery Kids commissioner, as VP, programme strategy and acquisitions.

NBCU has fully owned Sprout after buying out US pubcaster PBS and Hit Entertainment in 2013.