Lesli Rotenberg, executive who directed digital expansion of children’s media, to leave PBS

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Lesli Rotenberg, chief programming executive and GM for children’s media and education for PBS, is leaving the network June 4.

PBS President Paula Kerger announced Rotenberg’s departure in a memo to station managers Tuesday.

“Inspired by the life-changing events of the last year, Lesli has decided to build on her longstanding commitment to early childhood education by exploring new opportunities to improve the lives of children and families,” Kerger wrote.

“We are grateful for Lesli’s service, and we wish her well as she pursues her next chapter,” said Eleanor Hawkins, PBS spokesperson, in a statement to Current.


Rotenberg joined PBS in 2000 as SVP of brand management and promotion and directed development and rollout of branding strategies for general audience and kids programming. As her portfolio grew to include oversight of children’s programming, she was appointed SVP of children’s media.

During her tenure, Rotenberg oversaw programs like Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Odd Squad, Peg + Cat, Let’s Go Luna! and Molly of Denali.

She also managed the launch of PBS Kids 24/7, the increase of games and other content on mobile devices, PBS Kids’ continued focus on early learning initiatives and the expansion of content on SVOD channels.

Before joining PBS, Rotenberg was VP of marketing for Discovery’s Animal Planet and also held marketing positions for TLC. She began her professional career at Scholastic as an associate editor and managed publicity for Simon & Schuster and Vestron, a defunct company that was a leader in home video.

In the memo, Kerger wrote that Sara DeWitt, VP of PBS Kids Digital, will become interim GM for children’s media and education. DeWitt will work with Linda Simensky, VP and head of PBS Kids content, who continues to lead the unit’s programming strategy. 

Kerger added that she and COO Jonathan Barzilay “are confident that together [DeWitt and Simensky] will provide strong leadership during this time of transition.”

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