Today’s Women Behind the Scenes spotlight is shone on writers, executive producers and series creators Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas, who have been working as partners in the industry for nearly 15 years.
Tara actually got her start in 1997, working as an assistant to producers of the short-lived series called Sleepwalkers that starred Naomi Watts and Bruce Greenwood. While Michele got her start working as an assistant to Frank Spotnitz on The X-Files in 1998, continuing on the show through 1999. That same year she moved over to the short-lived series Harsh Realm, working as Frank’s assistant once again.
It was in 1999 that the two women ended up on the short-lived comedy Get Real (which included among its cast Oscar winner Anne Hathaway and actors Jon Tenney, Debrah Farentino and Eric Christian Olsen), working as writers. The following two TV seasons found the ladies working as story editors and writers on the fan favorite series Ed.
It was in 2001 when Tara and Michel landed their biggest job to that point, working on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. They started out as executive story editors for that first year on the show and worked as writers from 2001 to 2006. During that time they were promoted to co-producers in 2002 then moved up to supervising producers the following year. From 2004 to 2006 they worked as co-executive producers of the long-running series.
In 2007 the ladies were given a great opportunity to create and write the fan favorite series Reaper that ran for two seasons on The CW with the ladies working as executive producers on the show. When Reaper was rather unceremoniously canceled, Tara and Michele moved over to the short-lived Joss Whedon series Dollhouse to work as consulting producers and writers for one season.
In 2010, the ladies wrote a pilot called Cutthroat for ABC that was, unfortunately, not picked up to series; but they didn’t let the deter them as they moved on to work for the CBS drama Chaos – short-lived though it was, working as writers and consulting producers. They also worked that same year on another short-lived series, the dinosaur-heavy FOX drama Terra Nova.
During the 2011-2012 TV season, they worked as consulting producers and writers on Hawaii Five-0 and last season they wrote an episode of NCIS: Los Angeles. This TV season they have joined the staff of the ABC drama pilot Gothica where they will serve as executive producers/showrunners should the project be picked up as a series for this fall. This pilot will be set in present day, weaving together a mythology that incorporates the legends of Dracula, Jekyll and Hyde, Frankenstein and Dorian Gray (among others).