April 13, 2023

Sphere Media: creation of a new Kids and Family team

Sphere, one of Canada’s leading producers and distributors of television and film content, is to bring its English language children’s factual, scripted and animation units under one Kids and Family banner, to be headed by Marlo Miazga, Sphere Media’s President, Unscripted and documentaries. Miazga will also continue in her role overseeing all other non-scripted output from Sphere’s Toronto office.

This move follows the announcement that Sphere Animation president Jacques Bilodeau will be retiring later this year, after a 30-year career at the forefront of Canada’s animation industry. Bilodeau founded pioneering digital studio Oasis Animation in 2003, which grew to become the largest 2D animation production studio in Quebec. In 2019, Oasis was acquired by Sphere and rebranded Sphere Animation. Over the last two decades, Bilodeau has been responsible for a string of hit animation series, mostly recently Sphere’s Red Ketchup, Riley Rocket, as well as Saving Me.

Before he stands down, Bilodeau will work with Miazga to fold Sphere Animation into the new Kids and Family unit, which aims to build on Sphere Media’s successful track-record in producing award-winning children’s content to become a major player in this space. Miazga, who will continue to lead Sphere’s Media’s Toronto unscripted and factual divisions, will be supported in her new role by Andrea Griffith, who has been promoted from her current role as Director of English unscripted content to Kids and Family’s Vice-President of Development and Content.

Ghislain Cyr, founder of Sardine Productions which was subsequently acquired by Sphere in 2022, will become Creative Director. Judith Beauchemin, Sphere’s Animation’s Vice-President of Operations, will also transition to the new unit, where she will serve as Vice-President of Production and Post.

Bruno Dubé, Sphere’s president and CEO, said: ‘Jacques has undoubtedly been a fundamental contributor to the success story of Sphere. As a colleague, entrepreneur, professional and creative, I am profoundly grateful to him for giving us such a significant time in his illustrious career. Those shoes can never be filled, but I’ve watched Marlo’s stewardship over the past couple of years of an innovative, diverse and award-winning slate of kids and family shows. I know she is perfect for the job of creating something new with the cohesion and oversight needed for the ambitions we hold.’

Marlo Miazga said: ‘Pulling together the combined creative genius that exists in our e locations will exponentially increase our overall potential and show the world what a force we can be when we come together. This powerful combination of one of the world’s most recognised animation service providers with the capacity for brilliant original IP creation means we can now confidently stake our claim as a major global player in this sector.’

Sphere Kids and Family is part of a strategic plan that started last April, when the company rebranded its specialist units under the Sphere banner and reorganised its internal teams to harness synergy and collaboration, and create a more productive and efficient working environment. The rationalisation also saw Sphere open new animation facilities to service its growing slate of children’s programming. The new studio in Ottawa — known for its dynamic TV, film and animation industries and pool of highly skilled artists — added more than 100 animators to Sphere’s workforce.