Jamie Tarses

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Jamie Tarses
Born Sara James Tarses
(1964-03-16) March 16, 1964 (age 54)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US
Other names Jamie McDermott
Alma mater Williams College
Occupation Producer
Studio executive
Years active 1985–present
Known for Friends
My Boys
Happy Endings
Spouse(s) Dan McDermott (1993–1996)
Parent(s) Jay Tarses
Rachel Tarses
Relatives Matt Tarses (brother)

Sara James Tarses (born March 19, 1964)[1] is a television producer and former television studio executive. Tarses was the President of ABC Entertainment from 1996 to 1999, the first woman and one of the youngest people to hold such a post in an American broadcast network.[2]

Early life[edit]

Tarses was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the daughter of television writer Jay Tarses and Rachel Tarses (née Newdell).[3] She has a younger sister, Mallory Tarses, a fiction writer and high school English teacher,[4] and a younger brother, Matt Tarses, a producer and screenwriter (The Goldbergs, Scrubs, Sports Night).[5]

Tarses graduated from Williams College in 1985.[6] She received a degree in theater.[7]


Casting and production[edit]

After graduating from college, Tarses became an Assistant to the Talent Executive on the 1985-1986 season of Saturday Night Live. She then went on to work as a Casting Director for Lorimar Productions.

Network executive[edit]

In September 1987, Tarses was hired by NBC Productions' Brandon Tartikoff as Manager, Creative Affairs. Tarses steadily worked in various advancing executive positions at NBC until 1996. At NBC, Tarses helped develop Friends and Mad About You.[7][8]

In 1991, Tarses passed on her father's pilot about jazz musicians called Baltimore."[7]

She left NBC in 1996 amidst a significant amount of press.[9][10][11][12] From 1996 to 1999, Tarses was President of ABC Entertainment.[13][14][15][16]

Tarses was the subject of a noteworthy "unflattering profile" written by Lynn Hirschberg in the New York Times Magazine in July 1997 in which Tarses "was portrayed as an embattled executive whose competence and professionalism was being questioned in Hollywood show business circles."[14][17][18]

Amanda Peet, who played Jordan McDeere, the head of fictional network NBS on NBC show Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, has said that her character was "loosely based" on Tarses.[19][20] A rough draft of the script for Studio 60 had Amanda Peet's character named "Jamie".

Jamie Tarses was a consultant for Studio 60. When she was senior vice president of primetime series for NBC, she had a major role in developing Friends[21] and Wings, which starred Studio 60 actors Matthew Perry and Steven Weber, respectively.


In 2005, Tarses went into partnership on a production company called Pariah Productions with producer Gavin Polone.[22]

Tarses currently has a production company called FanFare Productions at Sony Pictures Television.[23]

Tarses was co-producer of My Boys, a comedy television show about a female sports reporter starring Jordana Spiro, on TBS cable television network from November 28, 2006 until September 14, 2010. In 2010, Tarses executive produced several television series including Mr. Sunshine, Happy Endings, and Franklin & Bash.

Personal life[edit]

Tarses married DreamWorks SKG television executive Dan McDermott in 1993. They divorced in 1996.

Tarses also dated David Letterman's Late Show with David Letterman producer Robert Morton.[7][24]

She currently serves on the advisory board of directors for Young Storytellers, an arts education nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles.


TV series[edit]

TV movies[edit]

  • 2001: Tikiville - Executive Producer
  • 2003: Crazy Love - Executive Producer
  • 2004: Americana - Executive Producer
  • 2004: Nevermind Nirvana - Executive Producer
  • 2006: The Angriest Man in Suburbia - Executive Producer
  • 2006: More, Patience - Executive Producer
  • 2007: Primeval - Executive Producer
  • 2007: Backyards & Bullets - Executive Producer
  • 2008: Held Up - Executive Producer
  • 2009: Eva Adams - Executive Producer
  • 2010: Held Up - Executive Producer
  • 2012: Happy Valley - Executive Producer
  • 2014: Duty - Executive Producer


  1. ^ "Sara Arses - United States Public Records". FamilySearch. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  2. ^ Carter, Bill (7 August 1996). "At Lunch With: Jamie Tarses - A Soap Opera Ends: Let the Comedies Begin". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  3. ^ Wilson, Pamela (1997). Newcomb, Horace, ed. Jay Tarses. Encyclopedia of Television. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers. ISBN 9781884964268. Retrieved 10 January 2015. Online edition at Museum of Broadcast Communications 
  4. ^ "Faculty and Staff - Upper School » English". Cape Fear Academy. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  5. ^ "Jay Tarses". Turner Classic Movies Database. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  6. ^ "Jamie Tarses". Turner Classic Movies Database. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c d Jacobs, A.J. (10 May 1996). "'Friends' in high places? ABC woos the TV exec behind NBC's Friends and Frasier". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  8. ^ Eller, Claudia; Hofmeister, Sallie (29 July 1997). "Tabloids' Obsession With the ABC Exec Rewrites the Script : Tarses Saga Redefines Frenzy". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  9. ^ Carter, Bill (12 June 1996). "TV Notes; Executive Upheaval". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  10. ^ Carter, Bill (21 June 1996). "The Media Business; ABC Ends Weeks of Speculation By Naming Pair to Run TV Unit". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  11. ^ Carter, Bill (8 January 1997). "Other Shoe Drops: Executive Quits ABC". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  12. ^ Turner, Richard (25 March 1996). "Old Boys and New Girls". New York. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  13. ^ Pierce, Scott D. (31 August 1999). "Strange reign of Jamie Tarses at ABC comes to a sudden end". Deseret News. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  14. ^ a b Carter, Bill (23 July 1997). "Tarses Says She's Staying at ABC". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  15. ^ Carter, Bill (27 August 1999). "The Media Business; Amid Changes, ABC's Top Programmer Quits". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  16. ^ Carter, Bill (30 August 1999). "TV Executive: Young, Female and Unemployed". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  17. ^ Hirschberg, Lynn (13 July 1997). "Network Drama at ABC: Jamie Tarses' Fall, as Scheduled". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  18. ^ Bart, Peter (23 July 1997). "More than meets the eye in Tarses-bashing". Variety. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  19. ^ Amanda Peet segment, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, 20 October 2006. Peet: "I'm the head of network … The role is loosely based on Jamie Tarses…".
  20. ^ de Moraes, Lisa (5 May 2006). "NBC's 'Saturday Night' Fever: How Many Series About a Sketch Show Can It Run?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  21. ^ Littlefield, Warren (May 2012). "With Friends Like These (Oral History)". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on 21 January 2015. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  22. ^ Adalian, Josef (21 September 2005). "Tarses pacts with Polone". Variety. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  23. ^ Schneider, Michael (30 September 2010). "Jamie Tarses: Primetime comeback". Variety. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  24. ^ Frankel, Daniel (10 November 1997). "Tarses-Morton Split Blamed for Sitcom Downfall". E! Online. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 

External links[edit]

Business positions
Preceded by
Ted Harbert
President of ABC Entertainment
Succeeded by
Susan M. Lyne