Eric Coleman is an American television producer who served as the executive producer and production manager of the hit Nickelodeon series Avatar: The Last Airbender. He worked with Nickelodeon from 1992 to 2008, for a span of sixteen years. Since the latter year, Coleman has been the senior vice president of Disney Television Animation (owned by The Walt Disney Company).
Avatar: The Last Airbender credits
Avatar: Braving the Elements credits
- 105. "Origin Stories with Eric Coleman"
Selected other credits
- Doug (special thanks)
- Invader ZIM (executive producer and special thanks)
- CatDog (executive producer)
- Spongebob Squarepants (executive producer, production manager and special thanks)
- Gravity Falls (head of animation)
- Mickey Mouse (2013 series) (head of animation and production supervisor)
- Star vs. the Forces of Evil (head of animation)
- Tangled: The Series (head of animation)
- DuckTales (2017 series) (head of animation)
Eric Coleman was born in 1968. He graduated from Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, where he majored in English literature. During his junior year, he stayed for six months in Florence, Italy, to absorb himself in art and another six months in London, United Kingdom, for his literature studies. After his graduation, Coleman continued to travel, moving from Southeast Asia to Australia, while staying in Nepal and New Zealand. Wanting to work in a creative industry after his return to the United States, Coleman sat in on a job fair, where he networked with and took advice from those in the field, including an executive of MTV. Afterward, Coleman got a job, in Nickelodeon, as an assistant to then vice president of animation, Vanessa Coffey. From 1992 to 1993, he worked on The Ren & Stimpy Show and Rugrats.
In 1995, Nickelodeon promoted Coleman to manager of development, until 1997. For the network, he helped develop SpongeBob SquarePants, during which he found that the qualities of a character in a show are more important than its concept. Later, he served as executive-in-charge of production from 1997 to 2003, before taking on the role of vice president of animation development and production from 2003 to 2008. During his time in Nickelodeon, Coleman had supervised two of the network's most popular shows, Spongebob SquarePants and Avatar: The Last Airbender, the latter for which he was co-nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award, in 2007.
In 2008, Coleman, by then a Nickelodeon veteran, left the network to work for Disney Television Animation, where he was hired as senior vice president of the studio on February 4 the same year, replacing Meredith Roberts, who moved to DisneyToon Studios to serve as its general manager and senior vice president. Since then, Coleman has been responsible for the development of several Disney television series. These include Gravity Falls, Wander Over Yonder, Mickey Mouse (2013), Star vs. the Forces of Evil, Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero, Tangled: The Series and DuckTales (2017), all of them having completed their run.
- Coleman's liking of animation came from the way it combined "so many art forms", among which were painting, graphic design, writing, music, and acting.
- It was Coleman who was responsible for adding Zuko into the plot of Avatar. During production, when Fire Lord Ozai was planned to be the main villain, Coleman, who acted as the series' supervisor, suggested that they needed a character who would follow Team Avatar.
- Additionally, Zuko was initially to be portrayed as an adult. Coleman, however, suggested that the character be portrayed as a really driven kid chasing Aang. It was followed by Konietzko asking whether he can have a scar, to which Coleman agreed. As a result, Coleman was dubbed as "the godfather of Zuko".