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ABC on dev’t march with Sherman

Net's focus has been on aud-friendly dramas

Gearing up for another development season, ABC drama chief Thom Sherman has been named senior VP of the division.

Sherman helped develop upcoming Alphabet entries like “Push, Nevada,” “That Was Then” and “MDs” and oversees all of ABC’s primetime drama development and series.

Under Sherman’s watch, the network has made an effort to focus on creating more aud-friendly dramas rather than the critically acclaimed but ratings-challenged entries of recent years like “Once and Again” and “Nothing Sacred.”

Our dramas had been “a little bit too smart and intellectual, and not as accessible,” Sherman said. “We want both Emmy awards and ratings. But if I had to choose one or the other, I’d choose ratings.”

Sherman said the net is looking to develop nontraditional franchise series.

No rules apply

“I think we have different types of shows than what the other networks are doing,” Sherman said. We’re not looking to do “straight-ahead police dramas or legal dramas. That’s what will separate us from the pack. We’re open for anything. There are no rules here at ABC.”

As he looks ahead to fall 2003, Sherman said he’ll be on the lookout for young female-driven relationship shows now that “Ally McBeal” is off the air.

Sherman had served as VP of drama since June 1999. He first joined ABC in 1996 as manager of drama series, working his way up to director in 1997 and executive director in 1998.

“Thom’s instincts and creative acumen are invaluable assets as we tackle the rebuilding of ABC,” said entertainment prexy Susan Lyne. “He did a great job this season shepherding our new fall dramas through the development process and preparing them for air. His taste and breadth of interests are exactly what we need for the future.”

Prior to his career as an exec, Sherman tried his hand at acting –including three episodes of “Silk Stalkings” and a guest spot on “SeaQuest.”

Sherman, who has seen a number of exec changes since joining the net, believes the worst is now in the past for ABC. “I have an optimistic outlook for this coming season,” Sherman said. “My gut says we have turned a corner.”

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