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Jane Feuer

Film Studies Professor

Jane FeuerJane Feuer is Professor of Film Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. She has written about television since the early 1980s and published many articles on TV-related subjects. She is a co-editor of one of the first academic books about television: MTM: Quality Television (British Film Institute,1984) in which she wrote two chapters on the MTM sitcom and described numerous MTM pilots from the Wisconsin archive. Her book Seeing through the Eighties: Television and Reaganism (British Film Institute,1995) covers various types of TV drama. Since then, Feuer has written a number of articles on television “quality” drama; she is currently working on a book on this topic. Recently she has renewed her interest in the sitcom in the form of the new “reality” sitcoms and the “sitcom verite.” Feuer also consulted for ABC daytime. Her other main interest is film musicals and she is delighted to see the shows Glee and Smash uniting her two favorites!


Bambi Haggins

Professor Film and Media Studies

Bambi HagginsBambi Haggins is an Associate Professor in Film & Media Studies at Arizona State University. Haggins’ research explores representations of class, ethnicity, gender, race and region in American film and television. Her first book, Laughing Mad: The Black Comic Persona in Post Soul America (Rutgers University Press, 2007), won the prestigious Katherine Singer Kovacs Book Award for outstanding book of the year from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. She is currently working on a cultural history of US television.


Janis Hirsch


Janis HirschJanis Hirsch was born in Trenton, New Jersey, which she left the second she was allowed to attend Rollins College, majoring in Theater Arts. A month after graduating, she went to work at the legendary Coconut Grove Playhouse and the following summer was hired by burlesque legend (at least that’s what she called herself) Ann Corio to assistant-manage the Storrowton Music Theater in Massachusetts.

Hirsch moved to New York and talked herself into a job on the National Lampoon Show Lemmings, which starred John Belushi, Christopher Guest and Chevy Chase, among others. She then worked at the National Lampoon Magazine back when it was funny and can be seen in none of her glory in the National Lampoon’s famed High School Yearbook parody. During this time she also contributed to several books of humor as well as writing for various publications including both the New York Times and a much-heralded parody of it called Not the New York Times.

Her first job writing for television was on a show called Love, Sidney, significant because its star, Tony Randall, played a gay character. Alas, times being what they were, the only way anyone knew he was gay was that he had a photograph of a man on his desk. Hirsch came to Los Angeles to write for Square Pegs, which starred a 16 year old Sarah Jessica Parker during which time she wrote her first television pilot under the tutelage of Norman Lear, and then moved to the iconic It’s Garry Shandling’s Show. She also was fortunate enough to write and produce for series, including Anything But Love, LA Law, The Nanny, Frasier, Bette, My Wife and Kids, Will & Grace, 'Til Death, and Brothers while also writing movies of the week, including Stranded and Little White Lies. She’s also worked on a lot of forgettable series but is quick to note that you work just as hard on the crap and, happily, you laugh just as hard.

She’s rewritten several feature films, including Girls Just Want To Have Fun and has written jokes for several theatrical presentations, including Hairspray, Can-Can at the Pasadena Playhouse, Flora the Red Menace for Reprise in Los Angeles as well as writing the script for Some Kind of Wonderful, a musical with the songs of Carole King and Gerry Goffin, which premiered in Los Angeles several seasons ago. She also contributed special material for Bette Midler’s latest Las Vegas show.   

Hirsch is currently writing two original musicals with composer Dan Lipton and lyricist David Rossmer for producer Jayson Raitt, Thank Heaven: Singing the Praises of Alan Jay Lerner to be produced by Liza Lerner, and the play Such A Pretty Face with Caroline Aaron, produced by Suzi Dietz and directed by Sheryl Kaller.

Having had polio as a child, Hirsch is active in post-polio awareness and devotes much of her time promoting and supporting the integration of people with disabilities into mainstream television and films. A former Board Member for Deaf West, the theater company that developed Big River, she is still an honorary member of that fantastic organization. She is on the producing committee for the Alzheimer’s Association’s “Night At Sardi’s” fundraiser and is particularly proud of her work as a Board Member of Faith In America. Faith In America comes from the brain, heart and soul of her old friend Mitchell Gold and is dedicated to ending religious-based bigotry in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual communities.

Hirsch lives in Los Angeles with her husband Larry Shulman, their son Charlie and their dogs Gracie and Fiddy Cent Shulman.


David Isaacs


David IsaacsDavid Isaacs has worked as a TV and Film Writer/Producer for over 35 years. He has written multiple episodes for series such as M*A*S*H, Cheers, Wings, The Simpsons, Bold and Becker. Isaacs has been nominated eight times for the Writers Guild of America Award and won two times for Cheers. He has six Emmy nominations with one win for co-producing the first season of Cheers. He has also been nominated for the Humanitas Award and received a Peabody Award as a member of the staff of Frasier.

Isaacs also serves as a Professor of Screen and Television Writing in the USC School of Cinematic Arts.  


Barnet Kellman

Executive Producer/Director and Educator

Barnet KellmanBarnet Kellman directed the feature film comedies Straight Talk (Disney), Key Exchange (Fox), and Stinkers (Sony). His highly regarded work on television includes the directing the pilots of the network series Murphy Brown, Mad About You, Suddenly Susan, Something Wilder, The George Lopez Show, and My Boys. His work on television has been recognized with two Emmys Awards and seven Emmy nominations, a Directors’ Guild Award and three nominations, and a Monitor Award. He has directed twenty-one pilots that became on-air series, and continued with many of them as Executive Producer/Director.

In addition he has directed episodes of the award winning series Alias, Ally McBeal, Once and Again, Felicity, and E.R. and most recently episodes of the ABC hit comedy The Middle, starring Patricia Heaton, and Mr. Sunshine, starring Matthew Perry.

Kellman began his career in the New York theatre, directing the premiere productions of Key Exchange, Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, The Good Parts, The Loman Family Picnic, Friends, and Breakfast with Les and Bess. His New York productions have been seen at the American Place Theatre, the New York Shakespeare Festival, Playwrights’ Horizons, Circle in the Square, The Manhattan Theatre Club and the Ensemble Studio Theatre. He has also directed works at the Geffen Theatre, the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, the Yale Repertory Theatre, The Folger Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival and the Actors’ Theatre of Louisville. Kellman made his radio debut with Wendy Wasserstein’s The Sisters Rosenweig for L.A. Theatreworks, and KCRW. 

He graduated magna cum laude from Colgate University in 1969. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, he was a recipient of the prestigious Danforth Graduate Fellowship, and the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. He attended the Yale School of Drama, and received a Ph.D. from The Union Institute. He is a Professor of Directing at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and Co-Director of its comedy initiative, Comedy@SCA.


Lisa Kudrow

Actress and Producer

Lisa KudrowEmmy Award-winning actress, Lisa Kudrow, continues to bring her original sense of comedic timing and delivery to every role she takes on and is able to venture between films to television to the internet with ease. Kudrow made her feature film debut in the Albert Brooks’ comedy Mother in 1996. Following Mother she starred opposite Toni Collette and Parker Posey in Clockwatchers (1997) and in the critically acclaimed hit comedy Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion (1997) with Mira Sorvino which garnered her widespread popularity with film audiences. She went on to star in The Opposite of Sex for writer/director Don Roos (1998); Analyze This (1999) and the sequel Analyze That (2002) with Robert DeNiro and Billy Crystal; Lucky Numbers (2000) with John Travolta; Hanging Up (2000) opposite Meg Ryan and Diane Keaton; Wonderland (2004) with Val Kilmer; Happy Endings (2005) for writer/director Don Roos; P.S. I Love You (2007) with Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler; Hotel for Dogs (2008); Easy A (2010) with Emma Stone, Stanley Tucci, Patricia Clarkson and Thomas Hayden Church and Paper Man (2010) opposite Jeff Daniels and Ryan Reynolds. Kudrow has always received rave reviews for her feature film roles. She won the Best Supporting Actress Award from the New York Film Critics, an Independent Spirit Award nomination and a Chicago Film Critics Award nomination for her role in The Opposite of Sex. She won a Blockbuster Award and received a nomination for an American Comedy Award for her starring role in the box office hit Analyze This for director Harold Ramis.

Of course it was Kudrow's role as Phoebe Buffay, the character she brilliantly portrayed on the NBC hit comedy series Friends for ten seasons (1994-2004) that brought her to audience attention worldwide. For this role Kudrow was nominated for an Emmy Award five times and won once for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 1998. She also received a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series, an American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Female Performer in a Television Series and a Golden Globe Award nomination. 

In the fall of 2003 Kudrow formed the production company, Is or Isn’t Entertainment with actor/writer Dan Bucatinsky. Is or Isn’t Entertainment has garnered great success since its inception. Is or Isn’t’s first television series, the critically acclaimed HBO series The Comeback (2005), garnered three Emmy Award nominations including one for Kudrow for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. Who Do You Think You Are, the second series from Is or Isn’t Entertainment, is a documentary series which traces the genealogy of a well-known person in each episode. Season 3 returned to NBC in February 2012.

Is or Isn’t also produces the web series Web Therapy in which Kudrow stars. Seasons 1-4 of the critically acclaimed series, which is about a therapist who does sessions with her clients via the internet, can be found at www.lstudio.com and is also available for download on iTunes. The Web Therapy iPhone app was released last year. Last summer Showtime aired Web Therapy, the network’s first-ever online-turned-television comedy series. The second season of the series will return to Showtime this summer. In 2009 Kudrow received a Special Webby Award for Outstanding Comedic Performance for her role in Season One of Web Therapy; in 2010 the show won a Webby Award for Best Comedy Series and received two additional nominations including one for Kudrow for Best Individual Performance and in 2011 Lisa Kudrow won a Webby Award for Best Individual Performance and Web Therapy won for Best Comedy: Long Form or Series. Most recently Web Therapy received a nomination from the Producers Guild of America for Best Web Series.

Ken Levine

Writer, Director and Producer

Ken LevineKen Levine is an Emmy Award-winning writer/director/producer/major league baseball announcer. In a career that has spanned over 30 years Ken has been the head writer of M*A*S*H, producer of Cheers, creative consultant of Fraiser and Wings, and has co-created three of his own series including Almost Perfect that starred Nancy Travis for CBS from 1995-1996. Levine is currently a play-by-play announcer for the Seattle Mariners. Over the last twenty years he has also done radio/TV play-by-play for the Baltimore Orioles and San Diego Padres and has contributed pieces for ESPN and Fox Sports. He has also hosted Dodger Talk on the Los Angeles Dodgers Radio Network for eight years. A book about his year in Baltimore was published by Villard in 1993 entitled, It's Gone...No, Wait A Minute. A second book, Where in the Hell Am I? Trips I have Survived, was published in March 2011. 

As a writer Levine and his partner David Isaacs have written over a hundred episodes of network television. In addition to scripts for Cheers (40), M*A*S*H (20), Frasier, and Wings they have also written for The Simpsons, The Jeffersons, and Becker (among others). 

Screenplays include Volunteers starring Tom Hanks and John Candy and non-credited rewrites for Jewel of the Nile with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner and Mannequin. Recently, Levine completed his first stage play, Upfronts & Personal. A staged reading was held in Los Angeles starring Jason Alexander, Ed Asner, Wendie Malick, and Jennifer Tilly. And in 2006, a musical Levine co-wrote with Janet Brenner, The 60's Project,  was produced by the Goodspeed Theatre in Connecticut with Tony winner, Richard Maltby Jr. directing. 

Levine has directed over forty episodes of television. Among his credits: Everybody Loves Raymond, Frasier, Becker, Dharma & Greg, Wings, It's All Relative, and Just Shoot Me

He has won one Emmy, two Writers Guild Awards, and has had Peabody and Humanitas recognition. He was voted the Virginia Sportscaster of the Year in 1989 (when he broadcast for the Tidewater Tides minor league team), and twice was named “Best Sports Talk Host” by the Southern California Sportscasters Association for his work on Dodger Talk. Ken's first career was a radio disc jockey. In the 70’s Ken spun the hits on such stations as 10Q, K100, KMPC, KFI Los Angeles, KYA San Francisco, WDRQ Detroit, WXLO New York, KCBQ, B100 San Diego. 

Ken also writes a popular daily blog, By Ken Levine at KenLevine.blogspot.com. Time Magazine recently named it one of the 25 Best Blogs of 2011.


Steven Levitan

Creator and Executive Producer

Steven LevitanModern Family co-creator and executive producer Steven Levitan has been writing, producing, directing and creating television comedies for almost 20 years. His credits also include Wings, Frasier, The Larry Sanders Show, Just Shoot Me (Creator), Greg the Bunny, as well as several comedies he’d like you to forget. 

A Chicago native and graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison (The Harvard of Southwestern Wisconsin), Levitan's honors include a Peabody Award, four Emmy Awards, five Writers Guild Awards, a Humanitas Prize, a Producers Guild Award, a Comedy Writer of the Year Award, two Television Critics Awards. He also won an Emmy Award, Producers Guild Award and the Humanitas Prize for Frasier, and three Emmy nominations for Just Shoot Me and The Larry Sanders Show, among others. 

Levitan's wife, Krista, and their three children are tired of him reminding them about all this whenever he’s asked to do the dishes.

David Marc


David MarcDavid Marc is the author of six books and more than 300 articles on American television, radio, film, and popular culture. His first book, Demographic Vistas (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994), adapted from his doctoral dissertation in American studies at the University of Iowa, is about to celebrate its 30th anniversary in print. Marc’s shorter pieces have appeared in periodicals ranging from The Village Voice and The Atlantic to peer-reviewed journals and in-flight magazines. During a 25-year university teaching career, he served on the faculties of Brown, Brandeis, USC, UCLA, and Syracuse University, and was a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Aarhus in Denmark. Marc currently offers private writing instruction, principally to corporate executives and scientists, and serves as a writer-editor for the development efforts of Syracuse University and other nonprofit institutions and foundations. His current book project, Leveling the Playing Field, concerns racial bias in collegiate sports during the mid-20th century. 


Howard Rosenberg


Howard RosenbergHoward Rosenberg is the Pulitzer Prize-winning former television critic for The Los Angeles Times, where his column was distributed nationally and widely read by decision makers in the media and entertainment industry for 25 years. In addition to the Pulitzer, Rosenberg earned two National Headliner Awards and numerous other citations for his print commentaries. He has been a sports media commentator on ESPN and was the author of the nationally syndicated satirical cartoon strip, Airwaves.

At the University of Southern California, Rosenberg teaches news ethics in the Annenberg School of Communication and critical writing and a TV symposium in the School of Cinematic Arts. In addition, he served seven years on the University of Georgia’s prestigious Peabody Awards board, which hands out the premier individual prizes in electronic media.

An anthology of Rosenberg’s columns and essays, Not So Prime Time: Chasing the Trivial on American Television, was published in 2004 by Ivan R. Dee Inc. Rosenberg’s latest book, written with Charles S. Feldman, is No Time to Think: The Menace of Media Speed and the 24-hour News Cycle. It was published in October, 2008 by Continuum Books. 

Prior to joining The Los Angeles Times, Rosenberg was television critic at The Louisville (KY.) Times, and before that a reporter for that paper and the Moline (Ill.) Dispatch. He began his journalism career as editor of the White Bear Press, a weekly paper near St. Paul, Minn. He and his wife, Carol, now reside in a suburb of Los Angeles with a cockatiel, two cats and stacks and stacks of DVDs.  


Phil Rosenthal

Creator and Executive Producer  

Phil RosenthalPhil Rosenthal’s early writing credits include the series Down the Shore and Coach. He was the creator/executive producer of the hit CBS comedy, Everybody Loves Raymond, staying with the show for its entire nine season run, beginning in l996. Everybody Loves Raymond was nominated for over 70 Emmy Awards, and won 15 times, including for Best Comedy Series in 2003 and 2005. Rosenthal won the 2002 Writers Guild Award for Excellence in Television Writing for his Everybody Loves Raymond script, Italy.

Rosenthal is the author of You’re Lucky You’re Funny: How Life Becomes a Sitcom (Penguin Group, 2006). He returned to his roots as an actor in the James Brooks feature film Spanglish, in which he played Adam Sandler’s sous chef. He also appeared in Curb Your Enthusiasm, Jake Kasdan’s feature The TV Set, and The Simpsons Movie.

Rosenthal has the distinction of having directed President Bill Clinton in the White House Correspondents Dinner video, which was shown to wide acclaim at the April, 2000 event. He co-wrote America: A Tribute to Heroes, the 9/11 telethon which aired on all four networks, won a Peabody Award and an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing. 

Phil Rosenthal was born in Queens, raised in Rockland, N.Y., and attended Hofstra University on Long Island. Starting out as an actor in New York, Rosenthal also wrote and directed theater before relocating to Los Angeles where he now lives with his wife, actress Monica Horan (who played Amy on Everybody Loves Raymond), and their two children. 

Jacob Smith

Professor Radio-Television-Film

Jacob SmithJacob Smith is Assistant Professor in the Radio-Television-Film Department at Northwestern University. In addition to the books Vocal Tracks: Performance and Sound Media (2008), Spoken Word: Postwar American Phonograph Cultures (2011) and The Thrill Makers: Celebrity, Masculinity and Stunt Performance (forthcoming May 2012), all from University of California Press, he has published numerous articles on media history and performance.



Jonathan Stark

Actor and Writer

Jonathan StarkJonathan Stark is from Erie, Pennsylvania. At his parents insistence, he earned his bachelors degree in Elementary Education and hated every minute of it. After graduation he appeared in a college production of 1776. Both the production and he were critically panned. Naturally, he decided to go to L.A. and pursue his dream of acting and has since been seen in Fright Night, Project X, House II, and Tales of the Crypt and is an alumni of The Groundlings and a regular in Bill Steinkellner’s, Instaplay. Acting was hard, so he decided to pursue his dream of being a writer and got a job in TV, penning on such series as Cheers, Bob, The Nanny, Drew Carey and Ellen for which he won an Emmy Award and a George Foster Peabody Award for the coming out episode. Realizing he was never going to be able to retire early, he decided to write whatever would sell. Disney was buying, so he co-created and ran According to Jim for 8 years and 183 episodes. That was really hard. His current dream is to be a featured zombie in AMC’s Walking Dead.

Cheri and Bill Steinkellner

Writers and Educators

Bill and Cheri SteinkellnerCheri and Bill Steinkellner have earned multiple Emmy Awards, Golden Globes, the People’s Choice, BAFTA, Writers Guild, Parents Choice, and TV Land Legend Awards for writing and producing TV's Cheers, and the Disney animated series and critically-acclaimed feature film, Teacher’s Pet s. They first met as charter members of The Groundlings in Los Angeles, where Bill co-wrote the Pee Wee Herman Show (L.A. and Broadway, with Paul Reubens). Other TV: The Jeffersons, Benson, The Facts of Life, Family Ties, Who’s The Boss, Bob, Hope and Gloria, Don’t Shoot Me, and Baby Blues. 2011 Tony-nominees for Best Book of a Musical - Sister Act (written with Bill Steinkellner, Alan Menken and Glenn Slater, currently playing Broadway and world-wide), Cheri and Bill also wrote the books for musicals Princesses, Mosaic (Off-Broadway), and Cheri conceived and wrote book and new lyrics for Hello! My Baby (currently at the Rubicon Theatre, coming to Santa Barbara’s Lobero Theatre May 2012). Other stage includes award-winning comedy Our Place, and Instaplay – L.A.’s original all-improvised musical-comedy. Bill is the best-selling author of Postcards From The Moon (John Daniele and Company, 2000) and the popular postcard-story blog, Greetings From Bill.  Both Steinkellners mentor and teach here in Santa Barbara, having moved here in 1996 to raise their three favorite writers/artists/friends: Kit, Teddy, and Emma Steinkellner.



Ethan Thompson

Professor of Communication

Ethan ThompsonEthan Thompson is Associate Professor of Communication at Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi, where he teaches courses in media and cultural studies. He is the author of Parody and Taste in Postwar American Television Culture (Routledge, 2011) and co-editor of Satire TV: Politics and Comedy in the Post-Network Era (NYU Press, 2009), as well as the forthcoming How to Watch Television (NYU Press).

His articles on television comedy have been published in the academic journals Television and New Media, The Velvet Light Trap, The Journal of Film and Video, and Popular Communication: The International Journal of Media and Culture.



Tom Yellin

Executive Producer

Tom Yellin

Tom Yellin is co-founder and president of The Documentary Group, where he has been executive producer of numerous films including Babyland, China Inside Out, Operation Homecoming, and STEEP. His most recent project, America in Primetime, which aired on PBS this fall as a four-part series, explored the history of primetime television through the lens of character archetypes. The Documentary Group’s upcoming film projects include 10X10: The Girls Education Project, a feature-length film and social action campaign that embrace the enormous potential of girls in developing countries.

Before The Documentary Group, Yellin spent many years as an executive producer at ABC News. In 1989, he created the award-winning Peter Jennings Reporting series, which produced documentaries such as From the Tobacco File: Untold Stories of Betrayal and Neglect, The Search for Jesus, How to Get Fat Without Really Trying, and The Kennedy Assassination: Beyond Conspiracy. As president and executive producer of PJ Productions, he oversaw all productions since the company’s inception in 2003. Yellin was also executive producer of ABC 2000, a 23-hour long millennium broadcast, the 12-hour series The Century, and the multi-part In Search of America. He created and was executive producer of Day One, a primetime ABC News magazine. His programs have won numerous broadcast and journalism awards, including the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award, the George Foster Peabody Award, the News Emmy Award and the Polk Award. Yellin graduated from Harvard University. He is married with four daughters and lives in New York City.