ABC has tapped longform vet Quinn Taylor to head up movies and miniseries for the net.
Taylor, who’s been at the Alphabet since 1996, will keep his current senior VP title while assuming overall responsibility for longform programming, as well as the net’s “Wonderful World of Disney” franchise. He replaces Susan Lyne, who was named head of ABC Entertainment in January.
Taylor “has every quality you could want in a department head,” Lyne told Daily Variety. “He’s a great exec, he’s a great developer … and he’s generous. He really pulls out the best in writers.”
While at ABC, Taylor has been the net’s development point person for critical and ratings hits such as “Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows,” “Anne Frank,” “Amy and Isabelle” and “Brian’s Song.”
Lyne said that during her final year as head of longform at ABC, she made sure to include Taylor in every meeting and decision, knowing he’d ultimately replace her.
“No one is more prepared for this job or has earned it more,” she said.
Taylor will report directly to Lyne, though Lyne said she will give her successor a wide berth.
“Decisions about what he wants to greenlight and how to organize the department are up to him,” she said.
Given the recent successes of ABC’s longform department, Taylor said he wasn’t planning major changes in direction. “The ship is on a very successful path; I don’t want to change course suddenly,” he said.
Nonetheless, while ABC will continue to develop highly promotable titles — biopics, remakes, etc. — Taylor wants to avoid falling into a rut.
Seeking fresh talent
“We don’t want to imitate ourselves,” he said. “We’ll continue to work with all the producers that have delivered for us time and time again. But we’ll also seek out new and innovative writers and directors.”
Taylor’s current slate includes the upcoming biopic “Gilda Radner: It’s Always Something,” “Snow White: The Fairest of Them All” and the May mini “Dinotopia.” For next season, he’s developing a two-hour backdoor pilot revival of “Nancy Drew,” the Matthew Broderick starrer “The Music Man” and a new take on “Fame.”
Storyline topper Craig Zadan — who is producing “Music Man” with partner Neil Meron and is behind some of ABC’s biggest longform hits — hailed Taylor’s promotion.
“No one fights harder for a project, no one is smarter in the development of a script (and) no one is more passionate about keeping the quality high as the license fees become tighter,” Zadan said, speaking for himself and Meron. “This is his moment, and I think he will be great running this very tricky and elusive arena of television network programming.”