Meet the Judges


Kristofer Updike

Senior Director of Original Programming and Development for Sprout

Kristofer Updike is the Senior Director of Original Programming and Development for Sprout, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment’s preschool network. In this role, Updike leads the creation of all original long-form programs for kids and their families. He develops live action and animated properties and has produced and developed over 200 hours of television for Sprout, including several original series both in live action, competition/reality, and animation.

Updike has over 20 years of experience in the entertainment industry, working exclusively in television and film. Previously, he was Vice President of Production at the stop-motion animation studio, Bix Pix Entertainment. In this capacity he wrote, produced, pitched and directed programming for clients, including the Emmy- and Annie-nominated show “The Roadents.”

Updike graduated with a B.A. degree in Theatre, Film and Art from Albright College, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University. He resides in New York City.


Kirsten Hurd

Acquisitions, TVO Kids

As Acquisitions Officer for TVO, the technological extension of Ontario’s public education system, Kirsten is responsible for sourcing a wide range of kids programming. In her previous positions she spent 15 years in international sales and acquisitions of finished programming, most recently as Director of Acquisitions and Canada Sales at Distribution360. Prior to D360, Kirsten served as Director of Sales for factual distributor BuzzTaxi Communications, and has held sales and management positions at Cookie Jar Entertainment, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and Decode/DHX Media. As a specialist in program sales, Kirsten has worked within territories across the globe including North America, Latin America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, New Zealand and Australia. She has attended international markets extensively including Kidscreen, MIPCOM, MIPTV, Banff Media Festival, Hot Docs, AIDC, TIFF, Realscreen and NATPE.


Brandon Lane

Production Executive, Corus Kids

Brandon is a screenwriter, director and a Production Executive for Corus Kids – where he oversees original productions for YTV, Teletoon and Treehouse. He developed, creative produced and wrote for YTV’s ‘Numb Chucks’, as well as co-created and creative produced YTV’s ‘Cache Craze’.

He currently oversees production for Corus Kids on ‘Inspector Gadget’, 'Hotel Transylvania', ‘Camp Lakebottom’, ‘Cupcake & Dinosaur’, ‘Winston Steinberger & Sir Dudley Ding-Dong’ and many other kids cartoons. Brandon has written and produced short content for Sesame Street, was story editor on ABC Spark's Web Series ‘All For One’, wrote and directed Treehouse’s Youth Media Alliance Award of Excellence nominated web series ‘Miss Persona’ and wrote and directed ‘Princess Sparkly Butt and The Hot Dog Kid’ for Teletoon.


Jay Stephens

Jay Stephens has been creating cartoon characters for over 25 years. His work in newspapers include the OH, BROTHER! daily strip, and WELCOME TO... ODDVILLE! monthly comic. Jay is the creator of the popular CHICK AND DEE characters and the X-TRA CURRICULAR adventure comic from chickaDEE and OWL Magazines, respectively. He is the writer and artist of several 'how-to-draw' activity books, as well as many comic book projects including THE LAND OF NOD, and the All-Canadian superhero, ARROWHEAD, currently being serialized in the 'True Patriot Presents' monthly anthology. Jay is best known for his animated series' THE SECRET SATURDAYS, created, Art Directed, and Executive Produced for Cartoon Network, and TUTENSTEIN, the Emmy-Award winning series created for Discovery Kids/ NBC. Jay also created, wrote, and Art Directed four JETCAT shorts for Nickelodeon's 'KaBlam!' series. For fun, he works in the art department on low-budget horror movies.

Rotating Judges


Jillianne Reinseth

Vice President, Creative Affairs, eOne Family

As Vice President of Creative Affairs, Jillianne Reinseth is responsible for overseeing the creative elements of all projects in development and production for eOne Family. Since joining the company in 2015, the eOne Family production slate has included Cupcake & Dino: General Services and Ricky Zoom, as well as seven new projects in development with partners around the world.

Jillianne’s nearly 30 year career in entertainment spans children’s animation, primetime comedy and drama in the U.S., Europe and Canada. She has worked with the top creative talent in the industry for companies including Disney, Nickelodeon, DHX (as Studio B and Nerd Corps), ABC, and CBS with credits on top series such as Kate & Mim-Mim, Endangered Species, Johnny Test, Chuck’s Choice, Kid vs. Kat, Martha Speaks, Kim Possible, Lilo & Stitch, The Fairly OddParents and My So-Called Life. She started her career as a television publicity assistant for Rachel McCallister & Associates working on In Living Color, Charles in Charge and It’s Garry Shandling’s Show.


Adina Pitt

Vice president, Content Acquisitions and Co-Productions, Cartoon Network and Boomerang

Adina Pitt is vice president, content acquisitions and co-productions for Cartoon Network and Boomerang, In this capacity, Pitt is responsible for identifying, negotiating and acquiring pre-produced series, specials, movies and short-form product that fit the Cartoon Network and Boomerang brands for exposure on all platforms. She continues to oversee those programs once they have been acquired and positioned at each of the networks. Pitt also serves as a liaison with international Cartoon Network and Boomerang channels to coordinate global acquisition contracts, and she represents the U.S. networks at all major programming markets including MIPTV, MIPCOM, Kidscreen and NATPE. Pitt is based in New York City and reports directly to Robert Sorcher, chief content officer for Cartoon Network.

Previously, Pitt was vice president of acquisitions for Nickelodeon and MTVN Kids and Family Group. In this position, she developed acquisition strategies that supported current and long-term programming plans for Nickelodeon, Nicktoons, Nick Jr, Nick at Nite, The N and Noggin. In addition to these duties, she oversaw channel inventory, cable and network television series and movie deals, competitive pricing, theatrical and made-for-TV movie availability, and competitive inventories, both domestically and globally.

Pitt joined Nickelodeon in 1998 as a coordinator of acquisitions and, over the course of nine years, has worked on Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, TV Land, Nicktoons Network, Noggin, The N, Nick Jr., TNN and Spike TV. She previously worked in film programming acquisitions at HBO.

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Pitt earned a bachelor’s of arts degree in elementary education from Brandeis University and a master’s degree in educational communication and technology from New York University.

Cartoon Network, currently seen in more than 97 million U.S. homes and 166 countries around the world, is Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.’s ad-supported cable service now available in HD offering the best in original, acquired and classic entertainment for youth and families. Nightly from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. (ET, PT), Cartoon Network shares its channel space with Adult Swim, a late-night destination showcasing original and acquired animated and live-action series for young adults 18-34.

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, creates and programs branded news, entertainment, animation and young adult media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.


Stephanie Betts

SVP, Development and Current Series, DHX Studios

As Senior Vice President of Development and Current Series, Stephanie Betts is responsible for fostering, managing and expanding the kids and family development slate at DHX Studios, while also taking an active role in the creative oversight of all original DHX Media content. Stephanie’s expertise lies in building strong, creatively driven teams, and in developing series that appeal to domestic and international broadcasters – and most importantly, to kids! Drawing on more than a decade of experience producing and developing award-winning series, Stephanie has spearheaded the development of more than a dozen successful DHX series, including Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Inspector Gadget, Teletubbies, Supernoobs, and Make It Pop. Prior to joining DHX Media, Stephanie worked for more than six years as a Producer and Development Executive at Breakthrough Films and Television, and at Atomic Cartoons.