As Jonathan Barzilay tells it, he's made the move from litigation to animation.
Once a lawyer with a private practice in New York, Barzilay has been the general manager of children's programming at ABC since 1997 and recently took on a couple of additional titles, senior vice president and general manager of Toon Disney, one of Walt Disney Co.'s cable television networks.
"There are people who would say that being a lawyer is perfect training for working with cartoons," Barzilay said. "The public image of lawyers is somewhat like a cartoon character."
Barzilay is the first general manager of Toon Disney, the all-animation network launched in April 1998, and will oversee operations at the network.
He joined the network in 1990 as the counsel at ABC's news division, later becoming vice president of the ABC Television Network Group.
"Jonathan's wide-ranging experience in television and his current focus on children's programming for ABC are ideal preparation to assume operational oversight of Toon Disney," said Anne Sweeney, president of ABC Cable Networks Group, in a statement.
"We're an emerging cable network," Barzilay said. "We're trying to raise the awareness of the channel and broaden its distribution."
Toon Disney is viewed in some 21 million homes throughout the United States and is adding about 800,000 subscribers a month, he said.
Helping Barzilay in his work are his two daughters, ages seven and 10.
"There's no question that having kids is absolutely the best preparation one can have for a job in kids' programming," he said.
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