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Jamie Tarses, Former ABC President, Dies at 56

Jamie Tarses attends Women in Film 2018 Crystal + Lucy Award at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on June 13, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California.
Jamie Tarses attends Women in Film 2018 Crystal + Lucy Award at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on June 13, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Image credit: Greg Doherty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Jamie Tarses, former president of ABC Entertainment, has died at age 56. Her family cited complications from a cardiac event last fall as the cause of death. 

Tarses took over ABC Entertainment at age 32, an extraordinary accomplishment given her age and her gender. She ran the division from 1996 to 1999. 

Tarses got her start as an assistant at Saturday Night Live and then worked in casting at Lorimar Productions. She joined NBC in 1987 as manager of creative affairs for NBC Productions, then took over comedy programming. 

In 1994, Tarses was named senior VP of primetime at NBC, where she learned from entertainment president Warren Littlefield. She worked on Friends, Frasier and Mad About You, among other hit series. 

Tarses shifted to ABC in 1996, where she worked on Dharma & Greg, Sports Night and The Practice, among many others. 

After departing ABC, Tarses was a prolific producer. In 2003, she and Karey Burke, then executive VP of development at NBC, headed up a production company out of NBC Studios. 

Tarses was an executive producer on Amazon Prime drama The Wilds, which premiered last month. Other production credits in recent years include The Mayor and Happy Endings on ABC, NBC comedy Welcome to the Family, TBS comedy My Boys and TNT dramas Hawthorne and Franklin & Bash.  

Her series The Mysterious Benedict Society debuts on Disney Plus later this year.