Mike Lazzo is the executive vice president at Turner Broadcasting in charge of Adult Swim. He is 49 years old, and is a fan of animation from early 20th century to the present. Mike Lazzo is given a lot of credit for helping Cartoon Network put itself on the media map in the late 1990s.
Mike Lazzo began his career at Turner Broadcasting working in the mailroom at TBS. He managed to work his way up through the company when Turner launched the Cartoon Network, a 24-hour channel devoted to animation, thanks to their recent acquisition of Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc. Lazzo, who became a producer for the network, desired to create original content for the network. However, Ted Turner refused, stating that the network hadn't made enough money yet to begin producing original animated content.
Lazzo decided that wasn't a good enough answer, so in 1993, he and a few others at the Ghost Planet Industries building began work on Space Ghost Coast to Coast, a talk show based on an old Hanna-Barbera superhero character. The 15-minute low budget series gained a lot of attention from TV magazines and critics. Enough to get the show renewed for a few more seasons. In 1995, the network finally began to produce original content. The project was headed by Fred Seibert and John Kricfalusi, and development headed by Linda Simensky and Ghost Planet Industries producer Khaki Jones. In 1997, Lazzo was promoted to the head of development for Cartoon Network, as well as programming director. He held onto these positions for many years, and oversaw the productions of shows like The Powerpuff Girls (and its feature film), Samurai Jack, Spumco's Ranger Smith shorts, and batches of What a Cartoon! shorts, in addition to Space Ghost Coast to Coast. In 1999, development began on Adult Swim, which Lazzo played a large role in, overseeing every new production that Ghost Planet Industries, now Williams Street, had a hand in producing.
In 2003, with the explosive growth of Adult Swim and the changing atmosphere of the kids' side of Cartoon Network, much thanks to the AOL-Time Warner merger and the recent forced resignation of Betty Cohen, Lazzo voluntarily stepped down from his position as head of development and program director at Cartoon Network, and decided to oversee all aspects of Adult Swim. Lazzo is still in this position today, and still works with some of the same people since 1994.