Nickelodeon affiliate-marketing veteran Tracy Lawrence has
been tapped as senior vice president and general manager of Fox Family Channel's planned
digital services, boyzChannel and girlzChannel, officials said last week.
Fox Family president Rich Cronin, who worked with her
during his tenure at Nickelodeon and its TV Land spinoff, recruited Lawrence.
In her newly created positions, Lawrence will oversee the
day-to-day operations of the two digital spinoffs, working with Fox Family's
affiliate-sales, marketing, programming, on-air and online departments to launch the
networks Oct. 31.
Most recently, Lawrence served as vice president of
affiliate marketing for Nick, Nick at Nite and TV Land. She is credited with playing a big
part in the successful launch of TV Land in 1996, as well as the recent rollouts of Nick's
digital networks -- Noggin, Nick Games and Sports and Nick Too.
While he was at MTV Networks and Nick, Cronin brought
Lawrence to New York to head up Nick's affiliate marketing. She had been in Los Angeles as
a marketing director for MTVN.
"The first priority for a start-up is to build
distribution," Cronin said, lauding Lawrence for her work in getting TV Land and
Noggin off the ground.
Lawrence will attend the annual CTAM Summit in San
Francisco to start pitching the digital networks to operators, and she also planned to
attend the Television Critics Association tour in Pasadena, Calif., prior to CTAM.
Although Lawrence doesn't have experience in programming,
she said she has the kind of skills in building brands that boyzChannel and girlzChannel
will need, adding that fears that the two networks will promote sexual stereotypes will
fall to the wayside once people see the programming.
"We'll make sure we create services that superserve
the audience, and not arbitrarily impose stereotypes," Lawrence said, adding that
when she first heard about the channels, "I thought it was a great idea."
Fox Family is talking with operators about the channels,
but it doesn't have any distribution deals for them yet.
"Basically, we're in rate negotiations," Cronin
said, predicting that boyzChannel and girlzChannel would be in 1 million homes apiece by
the end of the year.
Cronin said he called Lawrence July 1, after the expiration
of a clause in his former MTVN contract that barred him from recruiting that company's