Karey Burke: Live and Event Programming Is the Focus

I am a huge champion for the power and validity of broadcast television,” said Karey Burke, who began her career working as an intern at NBC Productions for Brandon Tartikoff and has now been honored with a Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award. “I don’t see broadcast going away anytime soon, and I consider it my job to keep it as relevant and as fresh as possible.”

A key strategy for Burke as ABC Entertainment president is live and event programming. She credits broadcast television for “doing it better than anyone else.”

“We are planning a calendar around at least one live or event program every month,” she said. “People come to broadcast to be gathered around the television at the same time as their friends and family to watch something that is happening at that moment, and they tweet and talk about it. We use that strategy to support our scripted programs.”

Prior to her current role, Burke was executive VP, programming and development at Freeform, charged with overseeing all of the cable network’s scripted and non-scripted development and current original programming. Earlier, she was a partner in production companies Dark Toy Entertainment and Katalyst Films, and was the executive VP of primetime series at NBC.

Under Karey Burke’s leadership, ABC has announced Young Frankenstein as its next live musical. A new version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, will bow on April 8. The Live in Front of a Studio Audience franchise will return this spring. The Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time tournament opened with 14.37 million viewers, which is the second-largest audience for any entertainment program this season to-date. Upcoming this spring is romantic dramedy The Baker and the Beauty. And, in development for 2020-21, are anthology drama Women of the Movement and limited series Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11, based on the book by Mitchell Zuckoff.

See Also:17th Annual NATPE Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards | Christine Baranski: A Success Across All GenresCourtney Kemp: Promising Future for Powerhouse Producer | Marcos Santana: The Quest for Better Programming | WarnerMedia's Jeff Zucker: Profiting from Live TV

“Brandon Tartikoff was instrumental in launching my career,” Burke said. “No matter what happened, he always kept his sense of humor and approached the job like a showman and like someone who was lucky to be able to do what he was doing. One of his great gifts was he loved the award-winning show as much as the lowest common denominator show. He had the capacity to understand and value television both as a fan and a programmer.”

“I am grateful to have learned that lesson from him,” she added.

Marc Berman

Marc Berman is editor-in-chief for media-centric The Programming Insider (programminginsider.com), which pioneered the email newsletter format at its inception in 1999. Marc has written for a wide range of publications including Broadcasting + Cable, Next TV, Forbes, Newspro, Campaign US, The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. Known as “Mr. Television” at Mediaweek (now Adweek), Marc has appeared on camera on Entertainment TonightExtraInside Edition and CNN and MSNBC, among other series and outlets. He is a member of The Television Critics Association and The Broadcast Journalists Television Association. And Marc put his TV historian hat on as author of desk calendar Today in TV History