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Pioneering TV Executive Jamie Tarses Dies At 56

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Pioneering TV executive Jamie Tarses died Feb. 1 at the age of 56. (Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)
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If you look around the television business, it's not hard to find women holding powerful positions: Bonnie Hammer at NBCUniversal, Dana Walden at the Walt Disney Co. and Bela Bajaria at Netflix. It wasn't always so” and there's still a long way to go. But there was one pioneer who helped break the glass ceiling, and she died on Monday.

In 1996, Jamie Tarses became president of ABC Entertainment. Just 32 at the time, she not only was one of the youngest top executives in TV but also the very first woman to head programming at a major network. She died today at the age of 56 from a heart condition.

While at ABC, Tarses oversaw such series as "Sports Night," "The Practice" and "Dharma and Greg." But she is best known for her earlier work at NBC, where she helped launch "Friends," "Frasier" and "Mad About You."

More recently, Tarses produced the Amazon series, "The Wilds," and the upcoming Disney Plus project, "The Mysterious Benedict Society." But her real legacy? All the female TV executives who followed in her footsteps.

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