Warner Bros. Executive Tom Ascheim Promoted to Oversee Wizarding World Franchise
Warner Bros. president of Global Kids, Young Adults and Classics Tom Ascheim has been appointed to oversee the Wizarding World franchise, according to Deadline‘s report on Thursday. Alongside his duties overseeing the Harry Potter film series, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme parks, Wizarding World Digital (WWD), possibly Harry Potter and the Cursed Child productions, and merchandise, Ascheim will act as the chief representative and liaison between Warner Bros. and J.K. Rowling and her representatives in identifying new opportunities. In his new role, Ascheim is tasked with expanding upon the franchise using existing outlets and platforms. However, no concrete expansion plans were announced for the franchise in Thursday’s report.
In 2014, Warner Bros. assembled the Harry Potter Global Franchise Development (HPGFD) team, which at the time was created as a singular entity to expand on the growing Harry Potter franchise. Additionally, the HPGFD team’s other purpose was to manage the many arms of the Potter franchise, which consisted of the Fantastic Beasts films, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, the theme parks, and Pottermore (currently known as WWD). With this announcement, the HPGFD team has been absorbed into the Global Brands and Experiences team, which is led by Pam Lifford, the division’s president. Currently, the Fantastic Beasts film series is managed by Warner Bros. Picture Group, the Wizarding World video games are managed by Warner Bros. Games, and the Studio Tour is managed by Worldwide Studio Operations.
Ascheim succeeded Josh Berger in overseeing the Wizarding World franchise. Berger, who was also the president and managing editor of Warner Bros. UK, Ireland and Spain, stepped down from the company in December 2020. Ascheim spoke on his new exciting opportunity:
I’ve been an avid Harry Potter fan for years and an admiring observer of how the Wizarding World franchise has been managed. I’m honored to now be leading the very talented individuals and teams who have done such a great job in growing this brand and its meaning and value to fans everywhere. I look forward to going even further in exploring and expanding all of the opportunities we have in this incredible world.
Ascheim originally began his career as an executive in media at Nickelodeon, where he helped oversee the launch of Noggin, then a cable TV network aimed at preteens and teenagers. He was eventually promoted to executive vice president and general manager of Nickelodeon Television, which had oversight on Nickelodeon, Nick@Nite, Nick Jr., Noggin, and its digital networks. Before joining Warner Bros. as president of Warner Bros. Global Kids, Young Adults and Classics in July 2020, Ascheim was the president of ABC Family, where he initiated the cable TV network’s rebranding to Freeform. For many Potter fans, Freeform was likely a favorite mostly because of its many Harry Potter film marathons.
Before the series’ move to HBO in 2018, TV promos for Harry Potter Weekends were likely to have raised much excitement and anticipation for the weekend. A few DVRs were also likely to have been set.
Considering the many hours of Harry Potter films played throughout the history of ABC Family and Freeform, it seems that Ascheim certainly is a big Potter fan.
Do you think that the Wizarding World franchise is due for a change in leadership? What exciting new Wizarding World expansions do you think are in store for fans? Considering Ascheim’s commitment to the Potter film series in his previous role, do you think he’s a good fit? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.