Fleary leaps to top of UPN laffer ladder

Exec to work closely with prexy Ostroff

Vet programmer Kim Fleary has returned to the network world, joining UPN as the weblet’s senior vice president of comedy development.

Fleary, who starts today, will oversee the creation of all the net’s scripted comedy series and work closely with UPN Entertainment prexy Dawn Ostroff as she looks to expand the net’s comedy chops beyond its urban-oriented Monday night block.

“Kim is a well-respected executive in the creative community who has developed some of television’s top-rated comedy series,” Ostroff said. “Kim possesses a wealth of network development experience, and we’re delighted to have her heading up UPN’s aggressive pursuit of new comedy franchises.”

She replaces Danielle Greene, who departed UPN last month as VP of comedy and alternative development. The ex-jockstrap net has not yet determined who will take over the alternative series reins.

A 13-year ABC veteran, Fleary was senior VP of comedy and variety series development when she departed the net in 1996 due to structural changes in the wake of then-entertainment prexy Jamie Tarses’ arrival.

During Fleary’s long stint at the Alphabet, the exec helped develop series including “Roseanne,” “Home Improvement,” “The Wonder Years” and “Grace Under Fire.”

Fleary most recently served as development chief at H. Beale Co., the production house founded by the late Brandon Tartikoff. At H. Beale, Fleary exec produced the Showtime series “Beggars and Choosers” and co-exec produced the two-hour backdoor pilot “Blade Squad” for Fox. She also co-exec produced animated special “The Online Adventures of Ozzie the Elf” for ABC with Will Vinton Studios and America Online.

Meanwhile, on the drama side, veepee Patrick Moran is expected to renew his deal with UPN; net is also said to be in negotiations to bring on a new drama development chief.

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