ABC laffer sr. VP Carlson takes buyout

Exec developed 'Drew Carey,' 'Dharma & Greg,' 'Joan'

Longtime ABC comedy exec Carolyn Ginsburg Carlson has opted to take an early Disney buyout and ankle the Alphabet web this summer.

Carlson, who joined ABC in 1989 fresh out of college, gave notice following the net’s fall upfront presentation last week. Carlson has served as senior veepee of comedy at ABC since 1998, overseeing both the development and management of all primetime comedy series.

Disney sent out a call companywide last March for voluntary buyouts, although it’s doubtful the company expected execs of Carlson’s level to accept the package. Carlson said her contract was also expiring, giving her reason to reconsider the future.

“I made this decision very quickly,” Carlson told Daily Variety. “I had an opportunity I couldn’t pass up that was a financial incentive. I’ve been here almost 12 years and really wanted a change. It seemed like the perfect time.”

During her tenure at ABC, Carlson helped develop laffers such as “The Drew Carey Show” and “Dharma & Greg.” The exec more recently oversaw the network development for sitcoms including “What About Joan,” “My Wife and Kids” and “The Job.”

Rare opportunity

“I know I’ve had a rare and unusual time at ABC,” said Carlson, who has worked under the regimes of execs including Brandon Stoddard, Bob Iger, Ted Harbert, Jamie Tarses, Stu Bloomberg and Lloyd Braun. “It’s been a long time.”

Carlson hasn’t determined her next move, but the exec said she doesn’t want to drop out of the workforce too long.

“I’m obviously someone who likes to make long-term commitments, so I’m trying to think about the next long-term thing,” she said. “It’s exciting but scary.”

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