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Earlier this week, Wizard World Inc. announced the appointment of a new President and Chief Executive Officer. John D. Maatta will take the position starting on May 3rd, 2016. Most of Maatta’s experience comes in the television market, as Executive Vice President and CEO of the WB and CW TV networks. Maatta was the co-head of the CW for more than six year. During his career of nearly 28 years, Maatta has also been a part of the Warner Bros and Lorimar-Telepictures Corporation. He had also served as Board Chairman for Wizard World.
In announcing Mattaa’s new role, current Chairman of the Board Paul Kessler, said, “John brings Wizard World his solid entertainment industry experience and proven success in creating innovative content and distribution strategies. Wizard World is poised to expand its already significant footprint, and John will work with us to guide the company to its next phase of growth and beyond.”
Maatta taking over the role comes only days after the previous President and CEO of Wizard World, John Macaluso, announced his resignation. At the time of his resignation, Macaluso stated the decision was “a personal decision for myself and my family.” However, a few weeks ago, Wizard World revealed that the company had a $4.25 million loss in 2015. It’s possible that Macaluso’s resignation and Maatta’s appointment are coincidental with the financial troubles of Wizard World – though the greater likelihood is that they are related.
For his part, Maatta said, “Wizard World comic conventions are high-energy events bringing entertainment fans the most sought-after and interesting celebrities and content from movies, television and music to technology and sports. Wizard World is on the verge of becoming an especially powerful force in the entertainment industry as it rapidly expands into the area of content creation together with the launch of new distribution initiatives.” The emphasis on content creation seems like it will be a key and Maatta’s previous experience in television is probably a big factor in the decision to give him leadership. In March of 2015, Wizard joined with Cinedigm to launch CONtv, an online content network of interviews from Wizard conventions and original content.
Wizard World grew out of Wizard Magazine, a monthly magazine that began in 1991 to cover the comic book industry. Wizard Magazine was very influential in the 1990s, eventually leading Wizard to start producing comic book conventions, beginning in Chicago in 1997. There are currently 18 Wizard World conventions around the U.S. The Wizard cons feature guests from movies, TV and comic books and like most comic conventions have expanded well beyond just comics. In addition to CONtv, Wizard also runs ComicConBox, a premium subscription service that sends members boxes of selected pop culture merchandise each month.