Disney has just hired Nickelodeon development and production veteran Eric Coleman to serve as senior VP of development at Walt Disney Television Animation. Coleman, who oversees hits like Avatar: The Last Airbender, will be responsible in leading Disney’s animated television efforts into a new phase of expansion by spearheading development of short-form and long-form animated series for Disney Channel, Toon Disney and Jetix platforms. He also will oversee Walt Disney TV Animation’s casting and music departments.
“Bringing Eric to Disney is an absolute coup,” Marsh said in a statement. “There is no executive in the entire television animation space who has the creative vision, the credibility and the track record that Eric does. As one of the driving forces in animation, his reputation with, and connection to, the creative community is unparalleled.”
As the executive in charge of production for Avatar: The Last Airbender, Coleman, who has worked at Nickelodeon for 15 years, has significantly contributed to the success of the animated series that follows the adventures of the latest of a long line of Avatars, Aang, and his friends in a quest to save the world from the ruthless Fire Nation. Avatar is currently syndicated to more than 105 countries around the world and is one of Nickelodeon’s top rated programs across broadcast and cable in multiple markets. The series’ success prompted Nickelodeon to order second and third seasons, and has prompted the network to come up with merchandise, including DVD sets, scale action figures, a trading card game, video games, stuffed animals, and Lego sets.
Aside from Avatar: The Last Airbender, Coleman is also credited for hit shows like SpongeBob SquarePants, Rugrats, The Wild Thornberrys, Rocko’s Modern Life, Hey Arnold! and Ren & Stimpy.
Cole will begin work on February 4, reporting to Disney Channels Worldwide entertainment president Gary Marsh.
-Kris De Leon, BuddyTV Staff Columnist