Nina Tassler

Executive


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her two-hour Archive interview, Nina Tassler discusses her college years studying acting at Boston University and pursuing her acting career after graduation. She talks about moving to Los Angeles (precipitated by her husband, actor Jerry Levine, being cast as "Stiles" in the movie "Teen Wolf") and her first industry job as a receptionist at a talent agency. She details her swift rise to agent and her move into development at Lorimar Television, where she was hired by Leslie Moonves. Tassler then discusses her work in developing ER with John Wells, and eventually moving on to CBS. For her years at CBS, she details her duties as both President and Chairman, as well as her role in developing shows including How I Met Your Mother, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and The Big Bang Theory. Along the way, Tassler emphasizes her interest in creating dynamic roles for women and diverse voices at CBS, and discusses the then-recent shakeup in the CBS late-night lineup that involved the hiring of both Stephen Colbert and James Corden. She concludes by giving advice to aspiring television executives, and discussing her future plans following her then-upcoming departure from CBS. Amy Harrington conducted the interview on September 24, 2015 in Studio City, CA.

"My old boss used to say, 'You know, there's no limit to what a man can do if he doesn't mind who gets the credit.' And I, of course, augmented that to, 'There's no limit to what a man or woman can do if he or she doesn't mind who gets the credit.'" 

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Nina Tassler on the importance of developing shows that provide leading roles for women as well as a work-life balance for lead actresses
Nina Tassler on the development and casting of How I Met Your Mother
Nina Tassler on buying CSI: Crime Scene Investigation as an executive at CBS
Nina Tassler on giving Chuck Lorre a chance to shoot a second pilot of The Big Bang Theory when the first one didn't work
Nina Tassler on advice to aspiring television executives 
Nina Tassler on hiring Stephen Colbert to host The Late Show
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her childhood and early influences; on applying to Skidmore College in Saratoga, NY; on studying acting at Boston University and eventually moving to Los Angeles (Ed. note: Ms. Tassler would like to correct that Skidmore is in Saratoga, not Syracuse)
On quickly moving up from receptionist to agent at The Irv Schecter Company; on working at Triad Artists and her move into development at Lorimar Television
On her duties as Director, Movies and Miniseries at Lorimar Television; on her move into serialized television as Vice President, Drama Development at Warner Bros. Television (which had merged with Lorimar)
On the development and casting of ER; on becoming the Head of Drama for CBS Productions

Chapter 2

On CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and its spinoffs; on developing shows that provide leading roles for women
On her promotion to President of CBS Entertainment; on How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory; on her promotion to Chairman of CBS Entertainment
On diversity in television; on changes to CBS's late-night lineup
On her proudest career achievement; on advice to aspiring television executives; on her then-upcoming plan to move on from CBS Entertainment
Shows

Big Bang Theory, The

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Nina Tassler on giving Chuck Lorre a chance to shoot a second pilot of The Big Bang Theory when the first one didn't work

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

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Nina Tassler on buying CSI: Crime Scene Investigation as an executive at CBS
Nina Tassler on the then-upcoming end of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

CSI: Cyber

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Nina Tassler on the development of CSI: Cyber

Chicago Hope

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Nina Tassler on ER and Chicago Hope going up against each other when both shows debuted

ER

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Nina Tassler on the development and casting of ER
Nina Tassler on ER and Chicago Hope going up against each other when both shows debuted

How I Met Your Mother

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Nina Tassler on the development and casting of How I Met Your Mother

Late Late Show, The

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Nina Tassler on hiring James Corden to host The Late Late Show

Late Show with Stephen Colbert, The

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Nina Tassler on hiring Stephen Colbert to host The Late Show
Topics

Advice

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Nina Tassler on advice to aspiring television executives 

Diversity in Television

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Nina Tassler on the importance of developing shows that provide leading roles for women as well as a work-life balance for lead actresses
Nina Tassler on diversity in television

First Big Break

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Nina Tassler on how agent David Windsor helped her to see her potential to become an agent

Historic Events and Social Change

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Nina Tassler on the importance of developing shows that provide leading roles for women as well as a work-life balance for lead actresses
Nina Tassler on diversity in television

Interactive Technology

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Nina Tassler on the importance of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and The Late Late Show with James Corden creating digital content and viral clips

Media Consolidation

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Nina Tassler on the merger of Lorimar Television and Warner Bros. Television and her concurrent move from Director, Movies and Miniseries to Vice President, Drama Development at the newly merged company

New Media

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Nina Tassler on the importance of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and The Late Late Show with James Corden creating digital content and viral clips

Pivotal Career Moments

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Nina Tassler on how agent David Windsor helped her to see her potential to become an agent
Nina Tassler on her proudest career achievement

Television Industry

View Topic
Nina Tassler on television packaging (Ed. Note: Ms. Tassler would like to correct that agencies receive a percentage of the budget, not the license fee)
Nina Tassler on the merger of Lorimar Television and Warner Bros. Television and her concurrent move from Director, Movies and Miniseries to Vice President, Drama Development at the newly merged company
Nina Tassler on the "selling season" for network television and how she pitched shows with writers when she was Vice President, Drama Development at Warner Bros. Television
Nina Tassler on what she looks for when hearing a pitch for a television show
Nina Tassler on the importance of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and The Late Late Show with James Corden creating digital content and viral clips
Nina Tassler on advice to aspiring television executives 

Women

View Topic
Nina Tassler on the importance of developing shows that provide leading roles for women as well as a work-life balance for lead actresses
Professions

Executives

View Profession
Nina Tassler on her responsibilities as Vice President, Drama Development at Warner Bros. Television
Nina Tassler on her responsibilities and duties as President of CBS Entertainment and Chairman of CBS Entertainment
Nina Tassler on what she looks for when hearing a pitch for a television show
Nina Tassler on advice to aspiring television executives 

Television Executive

View Profession
Nina Tassler on her responsibilities as Vice President, Drama Development at Warner Bros. Television
Nina Tassler on her responsibilities and duties as President of CBS Entertainment and Chairman of CBS Entertainment
Nina Tassler on what she looks for when hearing a pitch for a television show
Nina Tassler on advice to aspiring television executives 
Genres

Comedy Series

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Nina Tassler on the development and casting of How I Met Your Mother
Nina Tassler on giving Chuck Lorre a chance to shoot a second pilot of The Big Bang Theory when the first one didn't work

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

View Genre
Nina Tassler on buying CSI: Crime Scene Investigation as an executive at CBS
Nina Tassler on the then-upcoming end of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Nina Tassler on the development of CSI: Cyber

Late Night

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Nina Tassler on changes in CBS's late-night lineup

Medical Dramas

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Nina Tassler on the development and casting of ER
Nina Tassler on ER and Chicago Hope going up against each other when both shows debuted
People

Patricia Arquette

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Nina Tassler on the development of CSI: Cyber and casting Patricia Arquette on the show

George Clooney

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Nina Tassler on George Clooney being cast on ER

Stephen Colbert

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Nina Tassler on hiring Stephen Colbert to host The Late Show

Geena Davis

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Nina Tassler on how her college roommate, Geena Davis, helped her to get a job as a receptionist at a talent agency when she first moved to Los Angeles

Chuck Lorre

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Nina Tassler on giving Chuck Lorre a chance to shoot a second pilot of The Big Bang Theory when the first one didn't work

Julianna Margulies

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Nina Tassler on the fact that Julianna Margulies' character "Carol Hathaway" was supposed to have died at end of the pilot episode of ER

Leslie Moonves

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Nina Tassler on her successful interview with Leslie Moonves for a job at Lorimar Television
Nina Tassler on her first impression of Leslie Moonves
Nina Tassler on her move to CBS after Leslie Moonves became President of the company
Nina Tassler on what she has learned from Leslie Moonves

John Wells

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Nina Tassler on the development and casting of ER, and working with John Wells

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