ANIMAL PLANET ELEVATES CHARLIE FOLEY TO LEAD NEWLY EXPANDED DEVELOPMENT TEAM AT "SURPRISINGLY HUMAN" ENTERTAINMENT NETWORK
-- Television Veteran Charlie Foley Promoted to Senior Vice President --
-- Creatives Kurt Tondorf and Andy Berg Join Development Team as Vice Presidents -
(New York, New York, March 22, 2012) - Animal Planet has bolstered its development team, promoting television veteran Charlie Foley to lead the network's content pipeline as senior vice president of development. He continues to report to Animal Planet president and general manager Marjorie Kaplan. Kaplan and Foley also announced two appointments to the newly expanded development team - production/development executives Kurt Tondorf from Optomen Productions and Andy Berg from A&E/Bio - as vice presidents of development, reporting to Foley. Together, the trio will oversee program development for the network and is responsible for the conceptualization and creation of series, stunts, specials and other programming initiatives.
"Charlie's bold thinking and creative ambition have been key to Animal Planet's transformation," says Kaplan. "Series he developed - like RIVER MONSTERS and WHALE WARS - are some of the biggest and most dramatic successes of our rebrand and have helped reimagine and redefine the brand for audiences and for the creative community."
Since re-joining Animal Planet in 2007, Foley has developed the best-performing series in network history, RIVER MONSTERS; the Primetime Emmy-nominated WHALE WARS; the provocative FATAL ATTRACTIONS; and last summer's splashy hit series, TANKED. Foley spent numerous years in the independent production community, and his prior posts at Discovery Communications were with TLC and Animal Planet as executive producer and director of development. Foley created, wrote and was one of Animal Planet's executive producers on the most-watched special in Animal Planet history, DRAGONS: A FANTASY MADE REAL, in 2005, for which Foley was nominated for a Primetime Emmy as writer and executive producer in the outstanding animation category. He has also been recognized with several other industry accolades, including a Television Academy Honor, and he was named as Multichannel News' "40 Under 40." Currently, Foley is writing and executive producing another two-hour, genre-bending special taking on a new mythic subject, MERMAIDS, premiering this spring.
Tondorf joins Animal Planet with more than 15 years of experience in television production and program development. Prior to his appointment with the network, Tondorf served as vice president of development for Optomen Productions. During his tenure there, Tondorf helped fuel the rapid growth of the company's New York branch by winning series commissions at Animal Planet, History, National Geographic Wild, Investigation Discovery and Travel Channel. Before his promotion to vice president of development, Tondorf served as a producer for Optomen and was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Science, Natural History and Technology Programming for his work on History's EVOLVE. Prior to joining Optomen, Tondorf was the sole US-based development producer for London's BAFTA-winning indie Windfall Films and helped developed its internationally acclaimed three-part series, MY BRILLIANT BRAIN, for National Geographic Channel.
Prior to Animal Planet, Berg spent seven years at A&E/Bio where he was senior director of non-fiction and alternative programming. He developed and/or executive produced numerous series, specials and pilots, including the highly rated HOARDERS, BILLY THE EXTERMINATOR, THE FIRST 48, THE PEACEMAKER and FLIP THIS HOUSE. Berg also developed the pilot for THE LOCATOR which became a hit series for WEtv. Earlier in his career, he oversaw A&E's lifestyle programming block, The Big Fix, and supervised more than 100 episodes of the award-winning Biography series. Before moving into programming, Berg wrote and produced for more than a decade, working for A&E, History, and Bio, ABC News Productions, WNBC New York, Towers Productions, and WTTW/PBS in Chicago. Andy is an Emmy Award- winner and five-time nominee. His most recent achievement was in 2011 when HOARDERS was nominated for Outstanding Reality Program.
Animal Planet Media (APM), a multi-media business unit of Discovery Communications, is the world's only entertainment brand that immerses viewers in the full range of life in the animal kingdom with rich, deep content via multiple platforms and offers animal lovers and pet owners access to a centralized online, television and mobile community for immersive, engaging, high-quality entertainment, information and enrichment. APM consists of the Animal Planet television network, available in more than 96 million homes in the US; online assets www.animalplanet.com, the ultimate online destination for all things animal; the 24/7 broadband channel, Animal Planet Beyond; Petfinder.com, the #1 pet-related Web property globally that facilitates pet adoption; and other media platforms including a robust Video-on-Demand (VOD) service; mobile content; and merchandising extensions.