Hollywood Notes

Jun 23, 2003  •  Post A Comment

NBC prime-time development Executive VP Karey Burke and former network executive Jamie Tarses are forming a production company that has a first-look development deal with NBC Studios and is fully funded by NBC. The two-year deal was announced by NBC Entertainment President Jeff Zucker last week. Ms. Burke will make her switch in mid-July after helping reorganize NBC Entertainment before the arrival of recently named President of prime-time development Kevin Reilly. The as-yet-unnamed company will be based at NBC in Burbank and aims to have a full slate of development projects in consideration for the 2004-2005 season. While the company will focus on comedies-“the greatest need at NBC and other networks,” said Ms. Burke-Ms. Tarses said the two partners are “passionate about some drama ideas and writers.” Ms. Burke started her career at NBC in 1988 as an assistant to Ms. Tarses, then rose through the NBC programming ranks and in 1991 moved across town to become director of ABC Productions. She came back to NBC two years later as Ms. Tarses’ director of comedy development. Ms. Tarses, meanwhile, jumped to ABC in 1996 for three stormy years as President of Entertainment. She wasmost recently president of James Burrows’ Three Sisters Productions.
Killed, Back and Whacked Again
The television business was busy making renewal decisions last week, with Fox ceasing production on “Cedric The Entertainer Presents,” the “Gilmore Girls” midseason spinoff’s getting killed, “Becker” earning a sixth season pickup and HBO and “The Sopranos” creator David Chase agreeing on another season.“Cedric” had been scheduled to return this fall for a sophomore season. It will still return in the fall, however, the run will consist of fresh episodes that have not yet aired from the sketch comedy-variety series’ first season. Because the show was given a rest to make room for the debut of “Wanda at Large,” several unseen episodes are still in the can. The WB’s “Gilmore Girls” spinoff, for which there had been such high hopes, got the ax because of high costs associated with plans to shoot six episodes of the hour without any soundstage and all on location in Venice, Calif., and Los Angeles. “After thorough analysis, we have determined that the costs to produce six episodes of an ambitious series, filmed totally on location in Venice, Calif., were simply prohibitive,” said Jordan Levin, president of The WB, and Peter Roth, president of Warner Bros. Television, in a joint statement. CBS ordered 13 episodes of the Ted Danson comedy “Becker,” which is produced by Dave Hackel Productions and Industry Entertainment in association with Paramount Network Television. The new episodes will debut midseason. HBO and creator David Chase have agreed to do a 10-episode sixth season of “The Sopranos.” Mr. Chase is in the midst of production of the 13-episode fifth season of the hit, which is expected to debut in March 2004.
Horvitz Will Direct Emmys Once Again
Louis Horvitz will return for the tenth year as director of the Primetime Emmy Awards, the telecast’s executive producer Don Mischer announced last week. “The 55th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards” will be broadcast Sunday, Sept. 21, on Fox, originating from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Mr. Horvitz recently completed his seventh year as the director of “Academy Awards,” his 12th year as co-producer/director of “The People’s Choice Awards,” and his 10th year as director of “The American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award.”
Universal Signs Cramsey
Universal Domestic Television has signed Denise Cramsey, the executive producer of the TLC cable series “Trading Spaces,” to an overall development deal under which she will produce lifestyle shows for first-run syndication, network prime time and cable. “Lifestyle television is a business that we-like many other studios and networks-very much want to be in, and who better than someone of Denise’s caliber to take us there,” said Lisa Hackner, executive VP, programming and development, Universal Domestic Television.