About Events Partners Press Resources Join Members Blog Donate

Home Page
Calendar of Events
Member Center

The Backyardigans
The Backyardigans
Gatekeepers of Children’s Television: What it Takes to Get on the Air

Up until the late 1980s, there were two preschool shows on the air: Mister Rogers Neighborhood and Sesame Street. Today, there are over 70 preschool programs on every day and six to seven competing preschool networks, some on the air 24-7. 

Co-presented with the Children’s Media Association, this panel of children's television executives will give an overview of today's children's media landscape and review the balance of education and entertainment in today's programming. They will also discuss the influence of social media, interactive, and cross-platform content, and reveal what they look for in children’s media, from pitch to post.

Registration link is below. The registration code for NYWIFT Members is NYWIFTGate
Andrew Beecham is SVP, programming, for Sprout, the first 24-hour preschool destination for kids ages 2-5. Beecham is responsible for program and digital strategy, original programming, scheduling, program operations and acquisitions. Before Sprout, Beecham was SVP for HIT Entertainment, where he developed the overall look and feel, programming strategy and launch for Sprout. He has also worked for ABC Cable Networks, where he launched the Disney Channel in the UK. He has executive produced over 50 studio production series and created the world’s first preschool cooking show, Bite Size.  

Adina Pitt is vice president, content acquisitions and co-productions, for Cartoon Network and Boomerang, where she is responsible for acquiring pre-produced series, specials, movies and short-form products that fit the Cartoon Network and Boomerang brands. Pitt also serves as a liaison with international Cartoon Network and Boomerang channels to coordinate global acquisition contracts. Prior to Cartoon Network, Pitt was vice president of acquisitions for Nickelodeon and MTVN Kids and Family, where she developed acquisition strategies for Nickelodeon, Nicktoons, Nick Jr, Nick at Nite, The N and Noggin programming. She previously worked in film programming acquisitions at HBO.

Linda Simensky
is VP of children’s programming at PBS. Simensky has worked with renowned producers to develop hit shows such as Curious GeorgeThe Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About That and Wordgirl. She brought PBS KIDS’ newest series to fruition: Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, a program that brings Fred Rogers’ social-emotional curriculum to a new generation. Before joining PBS, she was SVP of original animation for Cartoon Network, where she oversaw development and series production of The Powerpuff Girls, among others. She began her career at Nickelodeon, where she helped build the animation department and launched the series Rugrats, Doug and The Ren & Stimpy Show.  

Teri Weiss
is EVP of preschool original programming, where she oversees all production and development for Nickelodeon Preschool and Nick Jr. Weiss has been responsible for launching many of Nickelodeon's mega-hit preschool shows, including Dora the Explorer, Go, Diego, Go!, The Backyardigans, Yo Gabba Gabba! and Olivia. Prior to Nickelodeon, she was a producer at Sesame Street, receiving two Emmy Awards and three Parent's Choice Awards. She also worked on several children's series, such as Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Her series at Nickelodeon have garnered eight Daytime Emmy Awards, 43 Daytime Emmy noms and a Peabody Award. 

Linda Kahn (moderator) is president of Linda Kahn Media LLC, a global consulting firm. Formerly SVP of international TV sales and merchandising for Scholastic Media, Kahn led the company's TV distribution, international consumer products and promotional activities for WordGirl, Maya & Miguel, Clifford The Big Red Dog, I SPY, Stellaluna, The Magic School Bus, and Goosebumps. Prior to joining Scholastic Media, she spent 12 years in senior executive positions at Nickelodeon and MTV Networks, where she introduced Nickelodeon’s series Rugrats, Ren & Stimpy, and Doug. She was instrumental in the launch of Nick at Nite.

Produced by Susan Steiger.
Co-produced by

This nonprofit organization is comprised of professionals who are committed to creating and distributing thoughtful, entertaining media to children and young adults. CMA supports this community by producing educational events, promoting professional development, and helping its members to lead, innovate, and shape the future of children's media.

NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.