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March 15, 1992|Kathleen Moloney

If you're tired of forking over simoleons for My Little Pony and Smurf figurines, you'll be happy to know that the merchandise mastermind behind many of those cartoon-perpetuated toys has a new line of work. In her six years as president and CEO of Marvel Productions, Margaret Loesch--nicknamed "The Queen of Cartoons"--spent much of her time trolling toy store aisles for ideas for cartoon series. Along the way, Marvel won four Emmys for "Muppet Babies" and brought My Little Pony, Jem, G. I. Joe, Spiderman and Transformers to Saturday morning cartoons. "My No. 1 obligation at Marvel was to make a profit," Loesch, 45, says. Indeed, in her first two years there annual sales revenues rose from $20 million to $60 million.

Then, in March, 1990, Loesch became president of the Fox Children's Network. Now she wants to produce quality children's television. "Fox makes meaningful programs for kids," she says. "I have a free hand to work on projects I believe in, and my life's blood isn't dependent on sales figures."

Fox's lineup includes "Bobby's World" and such merchandise-heavy shows as "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures," "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes" and "Beetlejuice." But Loesch is most proud of her interstitials--one-minute educational spots, shown during commercial breaks, on topics as diverse as art appreciation, gun safety and sexual abuse. "I wanted to teach kids to be street-smart and also offer some motivational advice."

Parenthood has also sparked Loesch's sense of responsibility. Her son, Curtis, is 3, and Loesch has strict TV rules. "I never let my child watch television alone. I closely monitor all the TV he watches."

In the future, Loesch "would like to marry the worlds of children's television and children's literature. Perhaps I could start by turning 'Bobby's World' into a series of children's books."

Books. What will they think of next?

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