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Eye high on exex

Architects of CBS primetime turnaround reup

This summer’s ongoing game of TV exec musical chairs has skipped CBS: Development toppers Nina Tassler and Wendi Trilling are signing up to spend three more years at the Eye.

Barely two months after CBS chairman-CEO Leslie Moonves reupped for five years (Daily Variety, April 14), the two day-to-day architects of the Eye’s primetime success have signed deals that will keep them at CBS until June 2006.

Tassler remains senior VP of drama, while Trilling (nee Goldstein) continues as senior VP of comedy. They report to CBS Entertainment prexy Nancy Tellem.

Both Tassler and Trilling attracted interest from outside suitors, but chose to remain a part of the Eye team, which now ranks as the most stable programming department of any of the Big Four webs.

NBC last week radically revamped its development team, while ABC is legendary for its surprise shakeups (though none appear to be in the offing this summer). At Fox, entertainment prexy Gail Berman has survived longer than any other top Fox programmer, but comedy development chief Tracy Katsky is set to ankle later this month .

Tellem said the veteran status for Tassler and Trilling gives the Eye a leg up in the development derby.

“They have such strong relationships with the writing community, and that really lets them pick the best writers,” Tellem said. “They both have that wealth of experience you want, but they’re also very forward-thinking. They make a great team.”

On the drama front, Moonves said Tassler was a “invaluable part of my team.

“Nina has proven to be a hitmaker,” he said. “Nobody I know on the network TV landscape today has been involved in the development of as many hits as she has: ‘Judging Amy,’ ‘CSI,’ ‘The Guardian,’ ‘CSI: Miami,’ ‘Without a Trace.’ Year after year, she’s developed the No. 1 new drama.”

Laff-wise, Moonves said Trilling has helped CBS rise from the comedy ashes.

“Six years ago, comedy was dying on CBS, and now we’ve reestablished ourselves as the kings (of comedy) on Mondays,” he said. “Wendi’s been actively involved in all of these shows that have done extremely well, like ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ and, although they don’t get a lot of credit, ‘King of Queens’ and ‘Yes, Dear.'”

Tassler joined CBS in 1997 as VP of drama for CBS Prods., moving over to the network side and a post as senior VP of drama development a year later.

Before the Eye, Tassler worked with Moonves for eight years when both were at Warner Bros. Television. At the studio, she developed or worked on hits such as “ER,” “Sisters” and “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.”

The Boston U. grad began her career in the legit world, then served as a talent agent at Triad Artists.

Trilling has been at CBS since 1990, starting out in current programs and moving into development two years later. She began focusing on comedy development in 1993, and was tapped VP of the department in 1997 and upped to senior VP in 2000.

Trilling began her career as a senior copywriter at Beantown-based BBK Advertising.

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