Thursday, September 30, 2021

Nickelodeon’s Ramsey Naito Adds Oversight Of Paramount Animation as Mireille Soria Exits Studio

In one of Brian Robbins’ first major moves since becoming President and CEO of Paramount Pictures, he has brought in one of his top lieutenants at Nickelodeon, Ramsey Naito, to lead the film studio’s animation division in addition to her current duties as President of Nickelodeon Animation. Naito’s new title will be President, Animation & Development, Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon Animation, with the expansion of her portfolio mirroring that of Robbins, who also remains President and CEO of Nickelodeon. Mireille Soria, President of Paramount Animation, is leaving.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

“Ramsey is one of the savviest executives and creative minds in our industry,” Robbins said. “During her time at Nick, she has transformed and reinvigorated the Animation Studio division with her sharp business instincts, deep stable of relationships and unique eye for great storytelling, and I’m thrilled to have her bring her talents to this expanded role where she can further elevate our overall animation business.”

Added Robbins, “Mireille has been a driving force in building out a new, dynamic and modern chapter of Paramount Animation. We thank her for her many contributions to the organization and wish her the best in her future endeavors.”

With Naito at the helm, Nickelodeon Animation launched its largest animation slate in the network’s 40+ year history with over 70 projects at the Nickelodeon Animation Studio and deals with top talent and creators.

In 2021 alone, Naito, who was upped from Executive Vice President (EVP) of Animation Production and Development for the Nickelodeon Group to President of Nickelodeon Animation a year ago, has overseen the launches of such global television and film franchises as PAW Patrol: The Movie; the expansion of the SpongeBob SquarePants universe with The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run and two original spinoffs, Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years and The Patrick Star Show; Baby Shark; Blue’s Clues & You!; Santiago of the Seas; The Loud House Movie; and Rugrats, which was recently greenlit for a second season.

Naito will now lead a combined animation production slate that includes the upcoming Star Trek: Prodigy from Nickelodeon Animation and CBS Studios; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theatrical motion picture, in partnership with Point Grey Pictures’ Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and James Weaver, and helmed by Jeff Rowe; original Avatar: The Last Airbender content stemming from the newly formed Avatar Studios, best-selling book adaptations Real Pigeons Fight Crime, produced by James Corden and Ben Winston, and the critically acclaimed Big Nate; Tiny Chef, in partnership with Imagine Kids+Family; an animated series based on Monster High, in partnership with Mattel; and an original animated Transformers series with Hasbro’s Entertainment One (eOne).

Naito previously worked at DreamWorks Animation, Blue Sky Studios and Cartoon Network, and is a member of Women in Animation, the Producers Guild of America and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Soria assumed her role as head of Paramount Animation in 2017. During her time at the studio, Soria was credited with ushering in a new wave of refined storyteller-based content, and was instrumental in the development and production of The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run. She also shepherded the upcoming films Rumble­, a sports comedy about monster wrestling based on a graphic novel; musical adventure Under the Boardwalk; and The Tiger’s Apprentice, based on the best-selling book series, among others. Soria also orchestrated a first-look deal with joint venture Animal Logic (Happy Feet) and Imagine Entertainment, with Imagine’s Ron Howard set to direct The Shrinking of Treehorn, currently in development under the deal. Prior to Paramount Animation, Soria served as co-president of feature animation at DreamWorks Animation, making hits like Boss Baby and Trolls.

Soria’s exit comes during a continuing reorganization of Paramount Pictures by new chairman and CEO Brian Robbins, who replaced Jim Gianopulos in early September. Emma Watts, the seasoned production executive only a year in her post as president of the Paramount motion picture group, was dismissed last Friday.

Originally published: September 30, 2021.

Sources: DeadlineVarietyTheWrap; H/T: @NickSchedules.

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