Clifford: Leslye Schaefer

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Turning Clifford into one of TV's top dogs has been a pet project of Leslye Schaefer since joining Scholastic Entertainment six years ago as senior VP-marketing and consumer products.

No stranger to brand marketing, Ms. Schaefer previously spent 15 years at Viacom's MTV Networks, most recently as senior VP-marketing at VH1. With plaudits from MTV and Nickelodeon on her resume, Ms. Schaefer is steadily working her magic with Clifford. "In identifying which Scholastic properties we wanted to expand, Clifford clearly stood out," she explains. "But it's taken a number of years to put the right players in place."

Less than a year after its launch on TV, the Emmy-nominated show rated No. 1 for kids ages 2 to 5, according to Nielsen Media Research. In another nod to the character, voiced by John Ritter, the Public Broadcasting Service has picked up the cartoon for 25 more episodes in 2002. And the show will continue a busy schedule of marketing deals, including General Mills' Kix cereal as its underwriter; a major promotion with Wendy's International; and apparel and merchandise licensing with J.C. Penney Co. and F.A.O. Schwarz.

A mother herself, Ms. Schaefer, 50, is enjoying the show's commercial recognition, but she's most proud of "helping Clifford connect to kids and parents worldwide." Having mastered TV, perhaps Clifford is headed in a direction more suited to his size-the big screen?

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