CRAIG ZADAN and NEIL MERON, executive producers
Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, under their Storyline Entertainment shingle, are the producers of critically acclaimed and award-winning feature films, television movies and series. All totaled, their productions have garnered six Academy Awards, five Golden Globes, ten Emmy Awards, two Peabody Awards, the TV Critics Association Award, the HRC Corporate Award and two GLAAD Awards. Their outstanding television work also has amassed 66 Emmy nominations.
Among the heralded movies and miniseries they have executive-produced are "Meredith Willson's The Music Man," starring Matthew Broderick, Kristin Chenoweth and Victor Garber; "Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows," starring Judy Davis; the historic lesbian custody drama, "What Makes a Family"; "The Three Stooges"; ABC's "Annie," starring Kathy Bates; "The Beach Boys: An American Family"; "Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella," starring Brandy and Whitney Houston; ABC's new version of the classic "Brian's Song"; "The Reagans," starring Judy
Davis and James Brolin, which received seven 2003-2004 Emmy nominations; "Martin and Lewis," starring Sean Hayes and Jeremy Northam; "Lucy," the story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz; "Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story," starring Glenn Close and Judy Davis; "Double Platinum" with Diana Ross; and "Gypsy," starring Bette Midler. The pair's first sitcom, "It's All Relative," premiered this past season on ABC.
The powerhouse team executive-produced the critically acclaimed and Academy Award-winning feature film, "Chicago," starring Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Richard Gere. They also produced the film "My Fellow Americans," starring Jack Lemmon and James Garner, and Mr. Zadan produced the feature hit, "Footloose," starring Kevin Bacon. Their next feature is "Fahrenheit 451," which will be written and directed by Frank Darabont and produced with Mel Gibson and Bruce Davey for Castle Rock. They have also signed on to produce "Damn Yankees" for Miramax, will remake "Footloose" as a musical for Paramount, and will produce two comedies for Revolution Studios, "Ice Breakers" and "In the Pink." They will also produce "The Banshee," an upcoming family film, for The Walt Disney Company.
TONY JONAS, executive producer
A veteran of over 20 years in the business, Tony Jonas now heads up his own production company, Tony Jonas Productions, which presently has a multi-year development deal with Touchstone Television. The company will begin production on the fifth season of the hit Showtime drama series, "Queer as Folk." The company also produced the critically acclaimed Showtime drama, "Leap Years." Prior to executive-producing "Empire," he served as executive producer on the ABC mid-season comedy, "Lost at Home."
Jonas most recently served as president, Warner Bros. Television, a position he held since 1995. Under his leadership Warner Bros. Television was the largest supplier of network primetime programs for four straight years, featuring such projects as "ER," "Friends," "The Drew Carey Show," "The West Wing," "Third Watch," "Whose Line Is It Anyway?," "The Norm Show" and "Murphy Brown." Off Network, WBTV produced USA cable's signature "La Femme Nikita," TNT's "Bull," and "Witchblade." Jonas joined Warner Bros. (then Lorimar Television) in 1989 as senior vice president, Drama Development. He supervised development on the multi-Emmy Award winning dramas "I'll Fly Away," "Homefront," "Reasonable Doubts," "Gabriel's Fire" and "Sisters."
In June of 1991 Jonas was promoted to executive vice president, Creative Affairs. He supervised development that ultimately resulted in the hits "Living Single," "Hangin' with Mr. Cooper," "Step by Step" and "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman." The subsequent re-signing of producer John Wells, coupled with Michael Crichton and the retainer of high-profile producers Bright/Kauffman/Crane and Bruce Helford, resulted in not only "ER," "Friends," "Veronica's Closet" and "The Drew Carey Show," but also the series "Jesse" and "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"
CHIP JOHANNESSEN, executive producer
Chip Johnannessen began writing series television on the long-running Fox hit, "Beverly Hills, 90210," and went on to become executive producer of Chris Carter's "Millennium." His series producing credits also include the award-winning hit series "The X-Files" and "24." Johnannessen's big screen writing credits include "Crow: The Salvation," starring Kirsten Dunst.
Prior to working in television, Johnannessen was a rock guitarist in New York City and wrote for the Harvard Lampoon.
TOM WHEELER, executive producer and creator
"Empire" marks Tom Wheeler's debut as a television writer. However, as a screenwriter, he has written for nearly every major studio, including 20th Century Fox's "The Prometheus Project" for Jan DeBont, Columbia's "The Mission," Touchstone's "Simeon's Code," The Walt Disney Company's "Meg," New Line's "Black Hole," Universal's "Hard Knox" and MGM's "Supernova."
Wheeler's first novel, "The Arcanum," a supernatural thriller from Bantam Books released in May 2004, earned praise from both author Clive Barker and filmmaker Wes Craven. He is currently working on the sequel.