Jim Samples Resigns as Head of Cartoon Network
CNN.com is reporting that Cartoon Network head Jim Samples has resigned after the Aqua Teen Hunger Force bomb scare in Boston, a scare that effectively shut down the city and resulted in a $2 million payment to the city and state. Samples released this statement in an internal memo to staffers at CN:
I am sure you are aware of recent events in which a component of an Adult Swim marketing campaign made Turner Broadcasting the unintended focus of controversy in Boston and around the world. I deeply regret the negative publicity and expense caused to our company as a result of this campaign. As general manager of Cartoon Network, I feel compelled to step down, effective immediately, in recognition of the gravity of the situation that occurred under my watch. It’s my hope that my decision allows us to put this chapter behind us and get back to our mission of delivering unrivaled original animated entertainment for consumers of all ages. As for me, there will be new professional challenges ahead that will make the most of the experiences I’ve had as part of this remarkable company. Through my 13 years at the company I have found myself continuously in awe of the talented artists and business people surrounding me, from those who realize their vision in creating a cartoon to those who so brilliantly deliver the animation to viewers. I will always cherish the experience of having worked with you. I appreciate the support that you have shown me. As a friend and a fan, I also look forward to seeing your best and most personally fulfilling work yet. Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Boomerang and each of you deserve nothing less.
In the wake of Samples’ announcement, Turner Entertainment president Mark Lazarus and Boston mayor Thomas Menino also released statements:
Lazarus: “Jim’s decision to leave his post is a reflection of his regard for the business he helped build and the people he trust to move it forward … He has our respect, appreciation and sincere best wishes.”
Menino: “I applaud Turner Broadcasting for taking full responsibility for the marketing campaign that caused major disruption in our city last week. I am pleased to know they have taken the incident seriously and action has been taken against the people who authorized it. The resignation of their top Cartoon Network executive should serve as a message to all that these types of marketing tactics will not and should not be tolerated.”
Turner executives declined to comment on whether Samples’ resignation was forced. A new head of Cartoon Network has not been announced. In the interim, CN senior management will report directly to Lazarus. Samples’ departure comes at a rather unfortunate time–CN’s annual upfront presentation, where it unveils new shows and new initiatives, takes place this coming Wednesday.
[Sources: TVWeek.com, Cartoon Brew, City of Boston, Broadcasting & Cable]