Web backs drama topper despite tough season

Thom Sherman is looking at another two years of drama at ABC.

Alphabet’s senior VP of drama development has inked a new deal to remain as head of the division. He reports to ABC Entertainment prexy Susan Lyne, who confirmed the pact Tuesday.

“He’s always been a great development executive who brought great talent into the network, and he’s wonderful working with writers,” Lyne said.

“He’s also growing as an executive, and he’s building a great team under him.”

Sherman’s reupping ends speculation that Sherman might be ready to ankle ABC in the wake of a particularly difficult year for drama at the network. None of the Alphabet’s fall 2002 frosh hours snagged a second season order, though midseason drama “Dragnet” will be back this fall as “Dragnet L.A.”

Despite that, Lyne said Sherman had “a very good, strong development season” for fall 2003 and that, more importantly, the failure of ABC to launch a new hit drama in recent seasons doesn’t rest solely on Sherman’s shoulders.

“I think it’s easy to point fingers and find a fall person for a network’s inability to get a drama hit or a comedy hit, for that matter, depending on where you are,” she said. “And there are many factors that go into whether a (development exec) has successful shows. It’s our decisions about what shows we pick up, what we tell (Sherman) we need, how we schedule them. What we do know is that Thom has done everything right from his end, and we’re going to give his shows the support they deserve.”

Sherman said he was thrilled to be staying at ABC, noting he and his colleagues at the net “have learned a lot of lessons” as they head into the fall.

“I think we have the right shows, with easily digestible concepts,” he said, noting the success of “Karen Sisco” on Wednesdays would open a lot of doors to future drama success for the net.

Exec said his competitive nature fueled his desire to stay at ABC.

“I want to see this through. I want to see ABC rise to the top again,” he said. “I feel like I have unfinsished business here, and I want to be a part of the resurrection of ABC.”

Sherman, who had a brief run as a thesp, has headed drama at ABC for the past two years, having been upped to senior VP last summer. He’s been at ABC since 1996, joining the web as manager of drama series.

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