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Partner quits powerhouse TV producer

Caryn Mandabach says departure was amicable.
/ Source: Reuters

Two weeks after powerhouse TV producer Carsey-Werner-Mandabach opted to stay independent in a field dominated by corporate giants, one of its partners said Wednesday she will leave the company to launch her own production enterprise.

Caryn Mandabach, whose credits with C-M-W include the hit television comedies “Roseanne,” “The Cosby Show” and “That ’70s Show,” said she had contemplated starting her own business for some time and that her departure was amicable.

“I just felt that the time was right,” she told Reuters, denying that her move was influenced by Carsey-Werner’s decision earlier this month to remain a stand-alone company rather than offer itself for sale or align with a major studio.

“That had nothing to do with it,” she said. “That’s just poppycock.”

Mandabach said the direction of her new venture, a bold move at a time when TV comedies are on the wane and more network shows are being produced in-house, was still sketchy but would not stray far from her roots.

“I will definitely remain in the comedy business, because I just don’t know how to do anything seriously,” she said. “I feel that comedy is going to make a comeback in some way, and I’m brazen enough to feel I can have a part in that.”

Mandabach said she will continue to be involved with company founders Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner through their feature film development deal with Paramount Pictures and her partnership with C-W-M’s movie division.

The company Mandabach leaves will revert to its original Carsey-Werner Co. name as it lives on as one of the last independent production studios in Hollywood with one of the most valuable libraries of TV shows.

Mandabach was the first employee hired by Carsey and Werner after they launched their company in 1981. She became president in 1987 and partner in 2001.

In addition to serving as producer for “The Cosby Show,” the smash NBC series that put Carsey-Werner on the map and helped revive the TV comedy genre in the 1980s, she also was involved in such shows as “3rd Rock From the Sun,” “A Different World,” “Cybill” and “Grace Under Fire.”

The Fox network has renewed “That ’70s Show” and the WB is bringing back “Grounded For Life” for the upcoming season, but Carsey-Werner has no new shows on the fall schedule.