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Samples to oversee Cartoon Net

The Cartoon Network has found a successor for long-time GM Betty Cohen in Jim Samples, who most recently headed Cartoon's online operation.

Samples is taking over as executive vice president and GM, replacing Cohen, who resigned her post as president of the network earlier this summer. He'll report to Turner Entertainment President Brad Siegel. Samples is charged with Cartoon's US and international operations, as well as its sister net Boomerang.

Samples inherits one of cable's fastest growing networks. Cartoon is riding several months of ratings growth and has finished among the top five networks in prime throughout the summer. "I'm coming on board at a time that the network is doing so well," Samples said last Wednesday, shortly after Cartoon Network employees learned of his appointment. "The challenge [for me] is to keep up the momentum and drive new stuff."

The network two weeks ago premiered its anticipated Samurai Jack action animation series, which is averaging a 1.5 rating and scoring particularly well among kids 6-11.

Samples says he will continue expanding the net's original fare, which now comprises a quarter of Cartoon's schedule. He'll also spearhead new ventures, including the first Powerpuff Girls movie and new consumer products and Samurai Jack merchandise.

Prior to joining Cartoon Online in March 2000, Samples headed Latin American operations for TNT and Cartoon.
Cohen, who shepherded Cartoon for 10 years, is still with AOL Time Warner developing interactive content for children.
- Allison Romano