Fanfare has six primetime skeins in the works, including laffers bowing in the coming season for ABC and CBS. Tarses built the company from scratch over the past few years but recently decided it was time to bring in a right-hand exec.
Franz has known Tarses, personally and professionally, for years, going back to Tarses’ days as ABC Entertainment prexy in the late 1990s.
“It’s pretty amazing that Jamie has been able to do all of this essentially by herself,” Franz told Daily Variety. “The most important thing in entering any kind of partnership is that you have the same sensibility as your partner. Jamie and I have the same taste in material and we approach writers in a similar way. She’s done a phenomenal job on her own, and I want to help nurture her existing shows while we develop new ones together.”
Tarses’ roster encompasses ABC’s upcoming “Mr. Sunshine” and “Happy Endings” and CBS’ midseason sitcom “Mad Love.” Fanfare is also home to TBS laffer “My Boys,” now in its fourth season, and the upcoming legal dramedy “Franklin and Bash.” And its Jada Pinkett Smith starrer “Hawthorne” is in its second season on TNT.
Franz said Fanfare’s ability to field a range of genres and to be a free agent in selling shows to networks was a big part of the appeal of working with Tarses and at Sony.
“When you’re at Sony, you’re able to pitch everywhere,” she said.
Franz has been with Disney since 1995, when she joined Touchstone TV as manager of current programming. She was promoted to head the studio’s comedy development department in 2000, and upped four years later to exec veep overseeing all creative for the studio — a slate that included “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Lost,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Ugly Betty,” “Scrubs,” “Criminal Minds” and “Brothers and Sisters.”
Franz left her exec role at ABC Studios in early 2009 for a development deal. She noted that she was grateful the Mouse House granted her an early release from her contract in order to join Fanfare as of Sept. 1.