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Veteran Execs in Deal With NBC

Jamie Tarses and Karey Burke are launching a production company that will be affiliated with the network.

June 20, 2003|Meg James | Times Staff Writer

NBC said Thursday that it was hanging up a new shingle on its Burbank lot for two veteran network executives with signature style: Jamie Tarses and Karey Burke.

The production deal allows Tarses -- who made headlines during a rocky tenure as ABC's entertainment chief from 1996 to 1999 -- to go into business with her longtime friend. It also provides a segue for Burke, who is stepping down next month in the wake of a management shake-up at NBC.

Burke, the network's executive vice president for prime-time development, is leaving to make room for Kevin Reilly, who currently is entertainment president for the FX cable network. Reilly's mandate at NBC is to quickly find replacements for some of the network's aging hits.

While at ABC, Tarses helped to develop "Dharma & Greg," "Spin City" and "The Practice." Before that, she spent seven years at NBC, working with Burke to develop hits such as "Friends," "News Radio" and "Mad About You."

Since leaving ABC three years ago, Tarses has been president of Three Sisters Productions, a joint venture between NBC and producer Jim Burrows. That deal ended this month.

Burke has been one of NBC's top development executives, shepherding such shows onto the air as "Scrubs," "Ed" and, more recently, "American Dreams" and "Boomtown."

Burke, who is pregnant with her third child, said she first expressed a desire to leave NBC's executive suite a few months ago so she could spend more time with her family.

Burke said she and Tarses had long wanted to team up as TV producers. "The timing was perfect, given what's going on in our lives and everything that's going on at NBC," Burke said. "We've been talking about doing this as long as we've known each other -- for 15 years."

NBC also has agreed to finance the new company, which does not yet have a name. "We're taking suggestions," Tarses said.

Financial details of the deal, finalized this week, were not disclosed. However, all projects developed will be offered first to NBC. If the network passes, the duo can shop their idea to other networks.

"NBC has been very good to us, so we feel we need to be good to them by bringing them new hit shows," Tarses said.

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