R. Thomas Umstead has had a diverse career in the telecommunications arena, having served as a writer, editor, producer, videographer, speaker and moderator during his more than 30 years as a journalist. He has written extensively about the cable television business during his more than quarter century tenure at cable trade publication Multichannel News, where he currently serves as senior content producer, programming, covering content development, talent signings, program scheduling and distribution agreements for more than 500 cable networks as well as emerging digital and online streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. Umstead is also Multimedia Editor for the Multichannel News website (www.multichannel.com), responsible for filming, editing and producing video news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers, actors and celebrity personalities. Umstead has produced, edited and posted more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports through several video franchises including “One-On-One In 2,” and “Multicultural Perspectives.” Umstead has also worked both in front of and behind the television camera, having been interviewed about cable television issues and trends on Fox News, CNBC and NBC’s The Today Show. He has also conducted numerous television interviews with key cable television executives for industry-based digital news outlets The Nelson Network and The Cable Center. As a videographer, he has filmed, produced, edited and uploaded video interviews with a cadre of cable executives as well as celebrities and entertainment personalities like Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Bryan Cranston, Sarah Palin, Dan Rather, Jennifer Lopez and Wendy Williams. Umstead has moderated numerous panels focusing on telecommunications issues for Multichannel News, Broadcasting & Cable, The National Cable Television Association, The National Association For Multi-Ethnicity In Communications and Horowitz Research. Umstead served on the Board of Directors of The National Association Of Multi-Ethnicity In Communications, a non-profit, multicultural telecommunications advocacy organization. He is also a longtime member of the Television Critics Association. Umstead graduated Iona College with a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Journalism. He resides in New York with his wife and two daughters.
John is creative director and co-founder with Andrew Snook of Silk Factory. With offices in London and New York, Silk Factory is a vibrant global creative agency that crafts compelling and award winning marketing campaigns for the biggest brands in entertainment.
As editor and later as creative director he has produced trailers, promos and TV spots for a huge variety of film and television content including The Dark Knight Trilogy, The Harry Potter Series, The Hurt Locker, Pans Labyrinth, Robocop, Evil Dead, Non-Stop, Sully and The Girl On A Train.
He and his team have produced award-winning AV creative for an extensive range of HBO shows including every season of Game Of Thrones plus Sharp Objects, Succession, Boardwalk Empire, True Blood and Girls.
In 2020 Silk Factory launched the ground-breaking ‘Parasite’ in the UK and produced first look creative for such shows as His Dark Materials, Family Law, Industry, A Discovery Of Witches and Shadowplay.
Silk Factory recently launched a production arm to specialise in brand marketing and content creation.
Craig leads international content strategy, acquisitions, programming and operations for VCNI’s portfolio of international streaming services across all international markets. Craig is focused on leading the development and execution of VCNI’s content proposition and channel/programming strategy for Paramount+, Pluto TV and Noggin in dozens of key markets.
Previously, Craig was Vice President of Programming at Roku, where he was responsible for the company’s content value proposition and entertainment development. He oversaw the design and implementation of programming initiatives to drive consumer engagement and affinity through a deep understanding of their consumers and the overall OTT landscape.
Prior to joining Roku, Craig was Senior Vice President of Business Planning and Operations at Discovery Communications in their Digital Media & Commerce group, responsible for all digital content creation for Discovery’s websites, mobile extensions and syndication platforms, as well as full-length, on-demand programming through partnerships with cable operators and download-to-own services for consumers. Craig also served as Senior Vice President of Digital Syndication where he played a strategic role in the growth of two of Discovery’s leading digital services – Discovery Mobile and Discovery on Demand. He also established Discovery’s award-winning and NY Times recognized digital production team that was nominated for two Emmy awards.
Craig holds a B.S. from Bryant University in Business Administration and a M.B.A. from Baruch College in Marketing Management. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, their three children, and two dogs.
Kevin Eubanks, guitarist and prolific composer. He is well known by many as the former Music Director of The Tonight Show band, appearing on the show 18 years (1992 – 2010). His laid back style and affability seems to belie the concentration and focus that have made him successful both as a consummate musician and a household name for late-night TV viewers.
Kevin was born into a musical household in Philadelphia, PA. His mother, Vera Eubanks, is a gospel and classical pianist and organist with a Masters Degree in music education. She has taught both privately and in the school system, until her recent retirement. Vera’s brother, the late Ray Bryant, was a journeyman jazz pianist who recorded and toured with jazz greats such as Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, and Sarah Vaughan not to mention a hit records of his own. Kevin was thus exposed to world-class music in his formative years as he began violin lessons, his first instrument, at age seven. His brother Robin, is a trombonist, arranger and tenured professor at Oberlin College and brother Duane is consistently influencing so many younger musicians as a trumpet teacher and continues to expand his recording career. Kevin also studied the trumpet before making his commitment to the guitar which was solidified with his entrance to the world renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston from which he has received an ‘Honorary Doctorate’ degree. He has also received an ‘Honorary Doctorate’ degree from the University of Redlands in California.
Kevin moved to New York after attending Berklee College of Music where his career kicked off in earnest. He started playing with some of the greats of Jazz, including Art Blakey, Slide Hampton, McCoy Tyner, Sam Rivers, Roy Haynes, Dave Holland, Ron Carter and others. In addition to working in other bands, Kevin become the leader of his own group and traveled to Jordan, Pakistan, India and Kuwait on tours sponsored by the US State Department, not to mention the European/Japanese Jazz circuit which so many artists frequent. His first album as a leader, Guitarist, was released on the Elektra label when Kevin was 25. It documented a sophisticated, nuanced voice on the instrument, and was graced by the presence of some peers who are still performing with him today: tenor saxophonist Ralph Moore, (Tonight Show Band member) and his brother Robin. Kevin’s cousins, the late bassist David Eubanks and the pianist Charles Eubanks, also appeared on the recording, which was so well received that it lead to a seven record recording contract with the GRP label, owend by Dave Grusin and the late Larry Rosen. Those recordings, based largely upon Kevin’s compositions, gained him a wide audience through extensive radio airplay and touring. It showed the range of his skill on both acoustic and electric guitar. Kevin become a full-time bandleader, and traveled the world with his group.
In 1992, Kevin moved to the West Coast to join The Tonight Show Band featuring Jay Leno. In 1995, Kevin was asked the lead the band. His versatility and open minded approach enabled him to write and choose music that satisfied the huge and varied audience for the show. He assumed the role as Leno’s sidekick, sometimes participating in skits, and his engaging personality as well as his musicianship drew attention. The position afforded Kevin the opportunity to work with great and popular musicians from all genres. As a result of living close to LA, Kevin has become involved in writing scores for both TV movies and full-length independent feature films. He loves to do volunteer work for charities and maintains an active relationship with the organization dearest to his heart, The Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. He has appeared on various TV shows from Hollywood Squares to VIP to Girlfriends, Days of Our Lives, Royal Pains, HGTV, Oprah’s OWN, The History Channel, to name a few. But his passion is clearly seen when he is on stage performing as he continues to embrace his true passion, the love of music.
A strong advocate for music education, Kevin served as the Artistic Director of the Jazz In The Classroom Program for The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz from 2010 – 2012, where he worked with young up-and-coming middle and high school musicians in the Los Angeles public schools. “Young people need to be able to express themselves in ways that educate, uplift, and inspire self-confidence,” Eubanks remarked. “It’s important that everyone in the neighborhood gets to see that.” He also hosted the 2013 NEA Foundation Gala. He has taught at the Louis Armstrong Jazz Camp, the Banff School of Fine Arts in Canada, Rutgers University, and at the Charlie Parker School in Perugia, Italy as well as hosting master classes at many colleges and universities.
In November, 2010, Kevin released the CD Zen Food (Mack Avenue Records) that debuted in the Top Five on the Billboard Jazz Chart and was Kevin’s fastest selling record ever. In February, 2013 his CD The Messenger (Mack Avenue Records) was released, garnering a 2014 NAACP Image Award nomination for “Outstanding Jazz Album.” That same year, he toured extensively as a member of Dave Holland’s PRISM. In March 2015, the acclaimed Duets (Mack Avenue Records), with fellow guitarist Stanley Jordan, was released to rave reviews and concert performances. His latest project, the CD East West Time Line was released on April 7, 2017 (Mack Avenue Records) and quickly reached #1 on the JazzWeek Radio Chart, and is receiving critical praise around the globe.
In addition to club/concert touring Kevin has begun presenting at conferences around the country not only as a musician but also as a motivational speaker to people of all ages. As one of the most accomplished guitarists of his or any generation, Eubanks has deservedly become known to millions through music, TV, and what so many artists know so well, “lots of hard work.”
Marco Nobili is the Senior Vice President of Marketing, Growth, Data & Analytics for ViacomCBS Networks International’s (VCNI’s) streaming division.
Nobili oversees VCNI’s marketing strategy and operations for streaming products and platforms across all markets. Nobili leads VCNI’s international brand strategy, growth strategy, marketing execution and data and analytics for the company’s portfolio of streaming services including Paramount+, Pluto TV and Noggin. In this role, Nobili is focused on driving brand awareness for VCNI’s streaming products across international markets, as well as reaching subscriber acquisition targets and driving direct to consumer revenue.
Nobili joined VCNI in 2020 as Head of Emerging Business in Latin America. Before joining ViacomCBS, Nobili was Director of Product Innovation & Originals Launch Strategy for Netflix in Spain and Latin America, where he identified long-term opportunities and oversaw the launch strategy for new content. Prior to joining Netflix, Nobili held several critical positions at Amazon, including Regional General Manager for Amazon Prime Video, where he launched and oversaw the market strategy for Prime Video in Mexico and Spanish-speaking Latin America. He also held the position of Marketing and Product Management Lead for Marketplace. Nobili also held several leadership positions and oversaw new product launches at Microsoft, particularly with Xbox in the entertainment space.
Nobili holds a Master of Business Administration from SDA Bocconi in Milan, Italy and a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Università Degli Studi Di Bologna in Bologna, Italy.
Meredith Vieira is a 14-time Emmy Award-winning host, executive producer and anchor. Most recently, Meredith served as co-host of PBS and BBC’s Royal Wedding Watch, and she is currently hosting the PBS series The Great American Read. She served as executive producer on the award-winning documentary TOWER, released in October 2016. Vieira hosted and served as executive producer on her own nationally syndicated daytime talk show, titled The Meredith Vieira Show, which premiered in September 2014 and ran for two seasons. Previously, she received critical acclaim for her hosting of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, The Today Show, and The View. Early in her career, Vieira spent more than a decade at CBS News, garnering five Emmy Awards for her work as an editor on the news magazines 60 Minutes and West 57th. Vieira founded and is CEO of Meredith Vieira Productions, which develops and produces film, television, and theatre. A native of Providence, R.I., Vieira received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University in Medford, Mass. She has three children, Ben, Gabe, and Lily, with her husband, best-selling author and journalist, Richard Cohen.
As Vice President of Sales for Comscore’s national media clients, Tara Gotch oversees a team and
portfolio of enterprise, medium and small business clients ranging across all Comscore products, with a focus on national TV, digital and cross-platform.
“I’m heavily invested in the future of Comscore as the leader of cross-platform measurement,” Tara says. “I believe in our importance as a third-party measurement provider, and the value Comscore data brings to clients of all sizes across a wide range of industries and business models.”
Tara brings more than a decade of industry experience to her current role at Comscore. Starting her career at Comcast/NBCUniversal, Tara spent more than seven years on the Ad Sales team working across a number of Networks and Platforms (Cable, Broadcast, Digital, OnDemand). In 2013, she joined Rentrak, where she served as Director of Sales for OnDemand Essentials and National Networks, until assuming her role at Comscore, following the 2016 merger between the two companies.
Jose Sotolongo, Director of Sports & Entertainment Tourism at the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, is charged with the attraction, promotion and retention of sporting events, sports conferences and sports conventions. Additionally, he also works with the Miami-Dade Film Commission to attract the production of motion pictures and television shows to Miami-Dade County. Most recently, Sotolongo led the Miami 2026 World Cup bid, which resulted in the destination being chosen as one of 17 potential host cities for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. He also plays an integral role in the communities’ preparations for Super Bowl LIV as well as the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship.
Sotolongo has been in the sports industry in Miami-Dade County for 32 years, including tenures at the Florida Marlins (now Miami Marlins), Miami Dolphins, University of Miami, the Zoological Society of Florida and Florida International University where he served as Interim Director of Athletics from 1998-2000 for his alma mater.
Dade Hayes is Business Editor at Deadline, covering a range of financial news along with film, television and technology. He is co-author, with Dawn Chmielewski, of the forthcoming William Morrow/HarperCollins book BINGE TIMES, a first-hand account of the streaming boom. Dade has written two previous books, OPEN WIDE and ANYTIME PLAYDATE, and his writing has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Entertainment Weekly. He has also contributed original scripts to the popular Wondery podcast Business Wars.
Catherine Herkovic is a Nielsen veteran and is currently EVP, Managing Director of Local Television Client Services. She leads the team that serves local television stations, local cable stations, and MVPDs.
Other roles Catherine has held at Nielsen include: Global Quality Leader, Managing Director of National Client Services, General Manager Local Television, SVP Sales and Marketing, NSI
Catherine has a BA degree from Dowling College with majors in English and Education.
Court Stroud is a writer, consultant, and educator who helps people and businesses make sense of today’s tumultuous media landscape. He’s held leadership roles at Univision, Telemundo, Azteca, and worked at CBS Interactive, as well as several digital startups. The bilingual Texas-native serves as the Managing Director of the Cledor Group, a boutique media consulting and training company with past clients including NBCUniversal (NBC, Telemundo, NBC Sports), Sony Entertainment and BBC Studios. Stroud designs and teaches course such as “Diversity in Media & Advertising” as an adjunct at NYUn. His writing appears in the New York Times, Washington Post and Forbes, where he’s a contributing writer. He holds undergraduate degrees from The University of Texas at Austin and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Follow him on Twitter: @CourtStroudNYC
Alex von Krogh is a media industry consumer insights expert who has helped shape data innovation strategies for some of the world’s largest entertainment organizations. Whip Media is transforming the global content licensing ecosystem with a market leading enterprise software platform that centrally connects data, processes and teams throughout the digital distribution journey. Prior to joining Whip, Alex spent ten years at Nielsen, most recently serving as Director of Business Development for the Non-Traditional Group in Nielsen’s Watch organization. During his tenure, he managed Nielsen’s relationship with companies focused on talent, branded integration, licensing, and marketing to help integrate Nielsen data into their core businesses. Before Nielsen, Alex held leadership positions at Telephia, taking the company from a startup to an established company positioned as the industry standard in mobile measurement. Telephia was acquired by Nielsen in 2007. A Stanford University alum, he currently resides in Los Angeles.
Born in New York City and educated at Hunter College and New York University, Mr. Orosz has been based in New York and Miami Beach since the 1980’s. Mr. Orosz’s start in the Production Industry began owning a travel/production company ACT Travel, which served Wall Street & Rock ’n Roll tours.
About ACT Productions:
ACT Productions has more than 30 years of experience setting a recognized standard for producing unique events and ensuring the client’s message is seen, heard and enjoyed by all. Renowned for facilitating top-of the-line Event, Film, Video and Print work, ACT Productions turns ideas into realty.
We’ve produced it all: beach sporting events, city events and parades, halftime shows, global music festivals and gala celebrations.
ACT Productions Event Highlights
ACT has been a leader in developing and bringing exciting worldwide events to Miami;
• Art Basel, Miami Beach – Since 2003
The premier art showcase of the Americas. Collaborations with Audemars Piguet, the Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach convention center, the Botanical Garden and more.
• Hard Rock Stadium Miami, Orange Bowl and El Classico soccer Pre-game and Halftime show – Since 2006
Featuring amazing performances by Marc Anthony, ZZ Top, John Fogerty, Kool & the Gang, Doobie Brothers, Flo Rida, Dierks Bentley, Taylor Hicks and many more
• Orianne & Phil Collins Little Dreams Foundation Gala, The Fillmore Miami Beach – Since 2013
Fundraiser supporting musical careers of under privileged children to make their dreams a reality.
• Miami Beach Centennial 2015-2016
Year-long sequence of Music, Sports, Fashion events culminating in the Centennial Concert featuring 35 acts including Andrea Bocelli, Gloria Estefan, Barry Gibb, Jon Secada and many more
• Red Bull Foiling Generation, Hobie Beach – 2018
The biggest youth sailing program on the planet.
Boards & Committees
Bruce Orosz is current Chairman of the GMCVB.
PIC; Board Member of the Production Industry Council for Miami.
Florida Motion Picture and Television Assn. Mr. Orosz is a leading force in promoting support for the entertainment industry statewide.
Hollywood and Vine Cellars
in 1998, Bruce Orosz partnered with Doug Barr to launch “Hollywood & Vine Cellars, producing the acclaimed “2480” Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay from Napa Valley with top winemaker Celia Welch.
Need tech support? Email us at: email@example.com
WGEN is a full power television station in Key West, FL that serves the Miami – Ft. Lauderdale television market. The station airs programming from the Estrella TV network and identifies itself as “Estrella 8 Miami”. WGEN is a digital full-power television station that operates with 7 kilowatts of power and is owned and operated by Estrella Media. This station broadcasts primarily in Spanish. WGEN will be launching a second digital signal in South Florida for Estrella News network in Q1 of 2021.
WGEN launched local two local newscasts at 5 and 11P in 2019 to serve the South Florida marketplace.
Tom Werner has executive produced over 1,500 half-hours of television, including landmark programs such as the original “Roseanne,” “The Cosby Show,” “3rd Rock from the Sun,” “That ‘70s Show” and most recently, “The Conners”, currently in its third season. Werner has been inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame, as well as the Broadcasting & Cable Magazine Hall of Fame. His company, Carsey-Werner, has produced shows which have won numerous Emmy® Awards (24), Golden Globes® (10), Humanitas Prizes (4), George Foster Peabody Awards (2) and NAACP Image Awards (24). Outside of entertainment, Werner serves as Chairman of the Boston Red Sox and the Liverpool Football Club. Under his tenure, the Red Sox have won 4 World Series, and Liverpool is the current champion in the Premier League.
Tim and Colleen Crescenti founded Small World IFT in 2005. Tim wasnamed by Broadcast magazine as a ‘Top Dealmaker’ in international television, Tim has brought the world such global hits as Dragons’ Den (aka Shark Tank in his Sony days), I Survived a Japanese Game Show, Silent Library, Miss Country Girl, The Fan and Japanizi Going Going Gong! and Grandpas Over Flowers aka Better Late Than Never which made history as the first South Korean format to be adapted in the US, where it launched to #1 ratings on NBC, airing for two seasons with the highest completion rate out of any unscripted NBC show at a whopping 73%. The format has since been optioned in 18 countries and produced in eight (including the US).
Tim has personally consulted on over 195 shows produced in 76 countries ranging from international adaptations of Wheel of Fortune to Joe Millionaire. He is responsible for placing seven format titles on the major US networks alone, encompassing 25 seasons and still growing.
In July 2020, it was announced that MGM would be partnering with Small World in a first-look deal to discover global formats and bring them to U.S. screens. Along with the MGM deal, live events production outfit Joe Lewis Company (JLC) and Small World formed a strategic partnership, expanding the reach of both companies. JLC’s event clients include U.S. studio majors, the Academy Awards, Disney, the Grammy Awards, Netflix, NFL and the Special Olympics.
Also in the past year, Tim has taken the first Romanian format ever to be adapted in the UK, Got What It Takes, into its’ sixth season with the BBC Children’s channel, as well as introducing Better Late Than Never in to the French market where it premiered on France 3 as a surprise ratings success, and was also renewed for a second season with RTL 4 in the Netherlands.
Prior to launching Small World, Tim was VP of international formats for Sony Pictures Television International. Tim discovered the winning format Dragons’ Den/Shark Tank now adapted by Sony into 34 countries. Tim also served as VP of international production for Fox World, where he covered the worldwide roll-out of Fox’s formats including Joe Millionaire, and Simple Life.
Stephen Brown is currently the EVP of Programming and Development for Fox First Run and Fox Television Stations and oversees the syndicated programs: Divorce Court, Dish Nation, 25 Words or Less and the soon to be launched You Bet Your Life with Jay Leno. He also co-manages strategy and programming operations at Fox Soul, a new streaming platform serving the African American audience.
Prior to joining Fox as an executive in August 2005, Stephen Brown spent 17 years producing reality and game shows for network, cable and syndication, among them, the prime time game show Winning Lines for CBS and Pyramid, starring Donny Osmond.
Brown also co-created Shop ‘til You Drop, and the CableAce-winning Legends of the Hidden Temple, a kids’ game show on Nickelodeon, testing both brains and brawn and set in a fictional Mayan ruin.
Brown was also Executive Producer on Sony Pictures Television’s The Newlywed Game revival with Bob Eubanks.
In 1995 Brown served as Vice President of Development for The Travel Channel before it was bought by The Discovery Channel. A native of upstate New York, Brown graduated from Colgate University and initially worked as an English teacher in Greenwich, Connecticut. His first television position was as a writer on Love Connection
Sherri Shepherd is a well-known actress, Emmy Award-winning co-host, stand up comedienne, and best-selling author. She currently has a co-starring role in the Netflix comedy series “Mr. Iglesias,” for which season 2 was released in the summer of 2020. Sherri is set to hit the road on a 12-city comedy tour, “Ladies Night Out,” with Loni Love, Nene Leakes, B. Simone, Kym Whitley & Adele Givens. In 2019, she had roles in multiple film and television projects, as co-star of the biopic “BRIAN BANKS,” alongside Aldis Hodge, Morgan Freeman, and Greg Kinnear, as well as a role in the Netflix movie, “Walk.Ride.Rodeo.” Sherri is also starring in the upcoming Netflix musical “A Week Away,” and she previously served as a weekly co-host of the nationally syndicated radio program, “The Tom Joyner Morning Show.” Additionally, Sherri was co-host of “The View” from seasons 2007 – 2015. In 2009, along with her co-hosts, Shepherd was awarded a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show Host on “The View,” was included in the list of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” and was named one of Forbes’ “30 of the Most Influential Women in Media.” Sherri was the first African-American woman to host a game show when she served as host of four seasons of “The Newlywed Game” and portrayed the first African-American version of the Evil Stepmother in the Broadway production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Cinderella.” Shepherd has also co-starred in several primetime series, including “Trial and Error,” “Rosewood,” “Man With a Plan,” “30 Rock,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “The Jamie Foxx Show.” She starred in and executive produced her own Lifetime sitcom, “Sherri” and starred in a comedy stand-up special, “Sherri Shepherd: It’s My Time to Talk.” Some of her film credits include roles in “One for the Money,” “Top Five,” “Precious,” “Woodlawn,” “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa,” and “Beauty Shop.” Sherri is the author of two books, “Plan D: How to Lose Weight and Beat Diabetes (Even If You Don’t Have It),” and “Permission Slips: Every Woman’s Guide to Giving Herself a Break.”
Laura Michalchyshyn is Chief Creative Officer & Co-President, Content Production for Blue Ant Studios. Based in New York City, Michalchyshynoversees content creation and development across multiple businesses within Blue Ant Media. She co-manages Blue Ant Studios, which operates production companies in Canada, Singapore, New Zealand, and the United States, with a focus on expanding its dynamic slate of programming globally.
A passionate creative, she currently serves as executive producer on projects including Canada’s Drag Race (Crave/Bell)and the upcomingscriptedthriller series Daylight (in development at FOX). Independent from her work at Blue Ant Studios, earlier this year she also produced the acclaimed feature documentary John Lewis: Good Trouble, directed by Dawn Porter.
Previously, Michalchyshyn co-founded Sundance Productions with Robert Redford, where she served as president and executive produced projects including CNN’s Death Row Stories and HBO’sEmmy Award-winning Momentum Generation. She has held senior executive roles in the U.S. and Canada for Sundance Channel, Alliance Atlantis Media, and Discovery, where during her tenure she commissioned hundreds of hours of content.
Michalchyshyn has produced content for entertainment and media platforms worldwide, partnering with talent, studios, and production companies including World of Wonder, Radical Media, Alex Gibney’s Jigsaw Media, Dawn Porter’s Trilogy Films, Isabella Rossellini, Stephen David Entertainment, Brick City TV and All Rise Productions. Her accolades include three News and Documentary Emmys, a Sports Emmy, and awards from GLAAD, the International Documentary Association (IDA), and Peabody.
David A. Hurwitz has established himself as one of Alternative Television’s most sought-after Show Runners and content creators with a diverse slate and background that includes LIVE VARIETY SHOWS, TALK SHOWS, GAME SHOWS and revolutionary STUNT COMPETITION
David has been part of such groundbreaking series as The Arsenio Hall Show, Comedy Central’s The Man Show, Fear Factor, Nickelodeon’s Brain Surge and Ellen’s Game of Games to name a few.
The Emmy Nominated creator has earned a reputation as a great story teller and format developer known for executing the spectacular and putting ordinary people in extraordinary situations on mega shows like FEAR FACTOR, AMERICAN GLADIATORS and STARS EARN STRIPES. Never afraid to take big swings, he was entrusted with some of NBC’s biggest and most innovative launches such as BEST TIME EVER with NEIL PATRICK HARRIS and MILLION SECOND QUIZ with Ryan Seacrest, the first ever show of its kind that allowed viewers to participate live in real time via a smart phone app.
In 2020 he debuted a hit YOUTUBE series with Beauty Influencer James Charles entitled INSTANT INFLUENCER and the ABC family competition series DON’T, as well of a first of its kind competition series entitled Chasing the Crown for Amazon’s gaming platform Twitch. 2021 is off to a big start with multiple series in development and summer plans to shoot YOU BET YOUR LIFE with Jay Leno premiering in the fall.
Hurwitz shares the production shingle Bill’s Market & Television productions (BMTVP.com) with his wife Gelila Asres Hurwitz. Gelila is a veteran Emmy nominated producer with sitcom, dance series, talk and children’s programming in her portfolio.
Natasha S. Alford is an award-winning journalist, digital host, and millennial media executive. As Vice President of Digital Content and a Senior Correspondent at theGrio, she leads a national team in reporting the most critical news and issues impacting the African-American community. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, and Oprah Mag, and she’s been a guest contributor on CNN, MSNBC, The Breakfast Club, and Sirius XM.
In 2020, Natasha was selected for the Poynter Leadership Academy for Women in Media, and in 2018 was named NABJ Emerging Journalist of the Year, and Rolling Out Magazine’s “Leading Lady in Media.”
In 2017 she received the Harvard “Rising Leader” Women’s Leadership Award for her work at theGrio.
Natasha holds a master’s degree in broadcast journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and a B.A. from Harvard University. She is the executive producer of the Pulitzer Center-sponsored documentary “Afro-Latinx Revolution: Puerto Rico,” and is producing another documentary for Entertainment Studios about the story of the Black Panthers’ Angola Three.
She resides in New York City and can be followed on Twitter and Instagram at @NatashaSAlford.
Sandy Lighterman is the Chief of Film and Entertainment for the Regulatory and Economic Resources Office of Film and Entertainment. Under her purview is County’s Office of Film & Entertainment. Ms. Lighterman is responsible for the growth and development of the Billion Dollar film, television, music, digital media, commercial advertising and still photography industry in Miami-Dade County. Her role is the chief marketer to bring Film and Entertainment business into the County. She oversees two office staff and manages their providing location and logistic assistance, government liaison, municipalities’ liaison, production information and referral sources to the entertainment production industry. Ms. Lighterman is the chief auditor of the County’s Film, television and Entertainment incentive program.
Ms. Lighterman serves as an advisor to the Miami Dade College School of Entertainment and Design Technology and is the Chairman of their Advisory Board. She has relationships with many higher education facilities and advises on ciriculum.
Ms. Lighterman serves on the Advisory Boards for Miami Media and Film Market and the Miami Film Festival Student showcase, Cinemaslam.. Additionally, Ms. Lighterman is Vice Presdient of the the State-wide non-profit organization, Film Florida.
Sandy Lighterman joined the Miami-Dade County Office of Film & Entertainment in 2008, enjoying a successful 25+ year career as a film and Television producer. Ms. Lighterman brings a wealth of industry experience to her position from producing 200+ music videos and TV commercials, as well as, television series and independent films. She has a stellar relationship with the local and global industry. In 2007, Ms. Lighterman retired from her production career in order to stay closer to home and her children. Ms. Lighterman holds a bachelor’s degree in Mass communications from the University of Miami.
Jack Abernethy is CEO of FOX Television Stations (FTS) since 2004, overseeing 29 FOX-owned stations in the nation’s largest television markets.
The FOX stations are industry leaders based on the growth and success of locally produced programming, which have more than doubled under Abernethy’s leadership, with over 1000 hours of locally produced news per week, more than any other owned-and-operated broadcast group. He is directly responsible for the creation of the national network, MyNetworkTV, currently in its 13th season and has led the success of syndicated programs, such as “Wendy Williams,” “TMZ,” “The Real” and “Divorce Court.”
From August 2016 through May 2018, Abernethy served as Co-President of FOX News Channel and FOX Business Network. In this role, he oversaw all business components of both networks, including finance, advertising sales, legal and distribution units. In addition, he led an overhaul of the executive team, hiring new management in advertising sales, finance and human resources.
In 2018, Abernethy was awarded Broadcasting & Cable’s “Broadcaster of the Year” and named a “Giant of Broadcasting” by the Library of American Broadcasting Foundation. In 2017 and 2018, he was named one of The Hollywood Reporter’s “35 Most Powerful People in New York Media” and was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame in 2012. Under Abernethy’s leadership, TVNewsCheck named FTS “TV Station Group of the Year.” He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Television Program Executives.
Abernethy served as the Executive Vice President of FOX News from 1996-2004, where he was integral to the successful launch of the channel. Before FOX, Abernethy had a distinguished 15-year career with NBC, where he held a variety of executive finance management positions for the NBC Television Stations division, driving CNBC’s early growth as VP of Finance and Operations.
A graduate of Georgetown, Abernethy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and received his MBA degree from NYU.
Acclaimed TV late night show host, admired stand-up comedian, best-selling children’s book author, much-in-demand corporate speaker, lovable TV and movie voice-over artist, pioneering car builder and mechanic, and philanthropist…it’s no wonder that Jay Leno is widely characterized as “the hardest working man in show business.”
And all this hard work certainly paid off handsomely: Jay Leno’s late night television ratings domination included two decades as the host of the #1-rated “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” – he never lost a year in which he served as host.
Leno has now taken his considerable talents and married them with his intense passion and unparalleled knowledge of cars as host of the CNBC series “Jay Leno’s Garage” now in its second season. “Jay Leno’s Garage” explores the world of cars, never forgetting that it’s the people behind the wheel who provide the real stories. The series debuted in October 2015 and delivered CNBC’s most-watched first season in network history. New episodes of “Jay Leno’s Garage” return Wednesday, November 9th at 10PM ET/PT on CNBC.
The show is an outgrowth of jaylenosgarage.com, which Leno produces and which has an international following on the Web and which has garnered several Emmy Awards and nominations for Outstanding Special Class–Short-Format Nonfiction Programs.
Leno has been honored by the Television Academy with an Emmy for “Outstanding Comedy, Variety or Music Series.” “The Tonight Show” has also taken home the trophy for “Favorite Late Night Show” in the annual TV Guide Awardsdetermined by voting viewers. Leno is also the recipient of the People’s Choice Award and other honors, including the Harris Poll selection as most popular star on television. Other personal highlights include the Hasty Pudding Award at Harvard University, an honor whose sole prior comedy/talk host recipient was Johnny Carson; receiving a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, and being the first person to drive the pace car of all major NASCAR events.
It was in May 1992 when Leno followed in the footsteps of legendary NBC late-night hosts Steve Allen, Jack Paar and Johnny Carson as “Tonight Show” host. Pitted against another television superstar David Letterman in the ll:35 p.m. hour, Leno became the ratings leader of late night within two years and never looked back.
Prior to becoming host, Leno had been the exclusive guest host on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” since September 1987. He first appeared as a guest on the show March 2, 1977, and he made numerous additional appearances on the show, as well as NBC’s former program “Late Night with David Letterman.”
An indefatigable performer, Leno loves to test his humor live on audiences across the nation, performing over 100-150 live appearances in nightclubs, theaters and stadiums each year. He has been touted as one of the nicest people in show business and the hardest-working — a winning tandem for the man who says, “Anyone can have a life – careers are hard to come by!”
His “everyman”-style and personality have helped him earn millions of fans worldwide, especially in the regions where people relate to his personable style and work ethic. In addition to traversing the U.S., he has entertained in various countries, including performing for military troops associated with the wars in Afghanistan and Bosnia. He remains passionate about performing in front of live audiences, including the military, and appears regularly in Las Vegas, on college campuses around the United States and in other venues.
Moreover, he is committed to using his amalgam of talents to help those less fortunate. Each year, he serves as Master of Ceremonies and does numerous benefit performances, including shows for those whose lives were devastated by the 9/11 tragedy, the tsunami in Thailand, hurricanes in the gulf, and the severe economic downturn in Detroit. For 18 years he led the annual Love Ride in California to benefit numerous humanitarian organizations serving people with autism, muscular dystrophy, and Special Olympics, among many others.
He has also served as honorary campaign chairman for several years for the Entertainment Industry Foundation, Hollywood’s charitable arm, and he has assisted the Gender Apartheid campaign led by wife Mavis together with the Feminist Majority, to free Afghan women of Taliban tyranny, an effort for which Mavis and The Feminist Majority were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Leno’s children’s book “If Roast Beef Could Fly” (from Simon & Schuster) hit bookstores in April 2004 and immediately was a New York Times Bestseller. His follow-up kids book “How to be the Funniest Kid In Your Class” was similarly successful. His other book, “Leading with My Chin” (from HarperCollins), hit the bookstores in 1998. He also has published four versions of “Headlines,” the compilation of books and desk calendars featuring his favorite funny newspaper headlines, and “Police Blotter,” a book with more humorous newspaper clips involving police stories (book proceeds go to various charities).
When he is not performing, writing, doing charitable work, Leno keeps busy doing voice-over work in such movies as “Cars” and “Igor” and the hit-TV show “The Fairly Oddparents” (Nickelodeon), where the character “The Crimson Chin” – a superhero with a chin with superpowers – was inspired by Leno’s own noted jawline. He also is a much-in-demand corporate speaker for companies including General Motors, and he is a monthly columnist in “Popular Mechanics.” And in his “spare” time (as if he has any), he enjoys working on his collection of classic cars and motorcycles. In fact, he has built a number of cars, including an acclaimed eco-car in his eco-friendly green garage.
Leno was born in New Rochelle, New York, and raised in Andover, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Mavis, live in Los Angeles.
THE GURIN COMPANY and Award-Winning Producer/Writer Phil Gurin have been creating, acquiring, selling, and producing entertainment programs all over the world. The Gurin Company is responsible for executive producing, creating and writing thousands of hours of television across multiple genres including live events, game, music, hidden camera, comedy, stunt, clip shows, factual, documentary, dramatic re-enactment, docusoaps and formatted reality. The Gurin Company’s shows have aired on every major U.S. broadcast network, many cable networks, and in over 185 countries around the world.
Gurin has won four Prime Time Emmy Awards as an Executive Producer on ABC’s Shark Tank, and an international Rose d’Or (Golden Rose) for the comedy game show Oh Sit! which he co-created for The CW. His The Singing Bee (NBC/CMT) is one of the Top 30 most produced original formats in the world.
He has also produced and written many other formats, including Weakest Link, Lingo, Test The Nation, Candid Camera, Double Dare, Remote Control, Your Chance To Dance, Wanna Bet?, All-New 3’s A Crowd, Make The Grade, Win Lose or Pawn, So You Think You’d Survive, FOX’s New Year’s Eve Live, Women Rock, US Olympic Hall of Fame, KISS: Live, Miss America, Miss USA and Miss Universe. His newest original format Fridge Wars debuted on the CBC (Canada) and aired last summer in the US on The CW. In early 2020 he Executive Produced his 7th NAACP Image Awards (which aired live across 9 Viacom-owned channels), and in June 2020 he Executive Produced Movies of The Movement for TBS/TNT/truTV.
On the documentary side, he has produced and/or written several projects including When Cameras Cross the Line, Split Second Decision, On Thin Ice: The Dark Side of Skating, Hollywood’s Greatest Stunts, Holocaust: The Revenge Plot (nominated for a Royal Television Society Award), and is currently in production on the feature doc Brothers At War: The Long
Gurin serves on the Board of Directors for NATPE (National Association of Television and Programming Executives) where he developed the NATPE REALITY annual conference and market; is Co-Chairman of the international non-profit organization FRAPA (Format Recognition and Protection Association) and he served for the TELEVISION ACADEMY on the
Executive Committee of the Producers’ Peer Group and helped develop and launch the prestigious TV ACADEMY HONORS awards. He moderates panels and speaks frequently on the topics of global television and format rights, creation and protection.
World Renowned Entertainers Penn & Teller to Host the Ceremony -January 21
LOS ANGELES, January 13, 2021 – The National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE), the premier global business association for content producers, distributors, streamers and buyers across all platforms, today announced the recipients for the 2021 Iris Awards. Magicians, entertainers, and scientific skeptics Penn & Teller (“Penn & Teller: Fool Us”) will serve as hosts. The ceremony will take place as part of NATPE Virtual Miami on Thursday, January 21that 1:00 PM ET. This year’s Iris Award honorees are:
● Award for Excellence in Performance: Kelly Clarkson, award winning entertainer and host of The Kelly Clarkson Show
● Lew Klein Award for Leadership: Jordan Wertlieb, President of Hearst Television
● Award for Career Achievement: Kevin Frazier, host of five-time Emmy Award-winning Entertainment Tonight
● Award for Excellence in Programming: Entertainment Tonight
NATPE’s Iris Awards were created to recognize best-in-class executives, program producers, creators, talent and importantly content that makes a significant impact on the industry and our culture. In 2021 the organization once again honors a very select group who demonstrate excellence in the world of the broadcasting industry.
Commented JP Bommel, President and CEO, NATPE: “I am thrilled to announce that the iconic IRIS Awards are back for the 2nd year during NATPE Virtual Miami 2021. In these extraordinary times, this year’s recipients represent the best in Television locally, nationally and globally with franchises that expand around the Globe”
The conference portion of NATPE Miami Virtual will take place January 19-22, with the Marketplace open from January 19-29. For more details on the executives speaking and for a look at the programming agenda, please visit www.natpe.com/miami/agenda.
The NATPE brand has long been recognized as a one-stop-shop in the global content marketplace, and even during challenging times, its goal remains the same: to be the ultimate resource for producers and distributors as the one-stop-shop for the business of content. NATPE Virtual delivers the key elements that make NATPE’s physical experience a must attend event.
NATPE is the largest U.S-based global content association and professional membership organization dedicated to shaping the future of content through global marketplaces and conferences, screenings, awards, and networking events, including NATPE Miami Marketplace + Conference, L.A. Screenings Independents, NATPE Budapest International and NATPE Streaming Plus. Representing every facet of the content business, NATPE, with a history of over five decades, is committed to representing the needs of its evolving members and constituents across all platforms and to bringing them together to be the indispensable resource in the evolution of content as the conduit to connectivity, business insights and opportunity.
The Lippin Group (LA)
Patrice Courtaban serves as Chief Operating Officer for all TV5MONDE operations in the USA including distribution, marketing and programming development. TV5MONDE is one the world’s largest television networks reaching 364 million homes in nearly 200 countries. As the COO, he’s orchestrated the growth of TV5MONDE US subsidiary from its inception. Today, TV5MONDE premium package is one of the most widely distributed international pay-tv services in the USA, available to nearly 50 million cable, satellite and OTT homes.
Mr. Courtaban successfully developed and launched six new television services under the TV5MONDE umbrella and leads the company’s digital strategy. Prior to serving as COO of TV5MONDE USA, he oversaw operations for TV5MONDE in Eastern, Central & Northern Europe. Mr. Courtaban has worked in more than 20 countries and has 15+ years experience launching, expanding and distributing new media products across established and emerging platforms. He is an alumnus of the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Mr. Courtaban is currently a Board member of both NATPE and Silicon Valley based startup Liveplex.
Jennifer Mirgorod is head of sales and account management for MVPDs and special markets for WarnerMedia. In this capacity, she leads all account management for the company’s portfolio of linear television networks, premium channels and direct-to-consumer brands, including HBO, HBO Max, Cinemax, CNN, TNT, tbs, TCM, truTV, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, and HLN. Mirgorod is based in Atlanta and reports Tony Goncalves, head of WarnerMedia Sales & Distribution.
A seasoned cable veteran, Mirgorod most recently served as executive vice president of content distribution & strategic partnerships for WarnerMedia Distribution, where she was responsible for account management, affiliate marketing and business development as well as serving as a conduit between the Turner brands and the distribution division. Before that she was executive vice president of brand distribution for Turner Content Distribution (TCD), and has held previous posts for TCD as senior vice president of sales and marketing for and vice president of strategic marketing where she worked in tandem with the TCD sales force, network marketing and operations and partnership marketing to help set the tactical direction for TCD marketing and advertising sales initiatives. Mirgorod joined TCD in 2003 from Turner Entertainment Networks in Hong Kong where, as senior vice president, regional entertainment advertising sales and off-channel commerce, she was responsible for advertising and licensing revenue generations for Turner Broadcasting’s Asian cable and satellite channels, including Cartoon Network, cartoonnetwork.com, HBO India and China Entertainment TV (CETV). In this capacity, she managed a 46-person sales team across Australia, India, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Philippines.
Mirgorod received a BA degree in Foreign Affairsfrom The University of Virginia. She is a former board member of the Women in Cable & Telecommunications (WICT) Southeast Chapter, was a member of Class XVII of WICT’s Betsy Magness Leadership Institute, and participated in the inaugural class of the WICT Senior Executive Summit at Stanford Business School in 2013. She’s also a 2004 graduate of CTAM University. At WarnerMedia, Mirgorod is the Executive Sponsor of Turner Asia, a company-wide business resource group aimed at leveraging the talents of Asian Pacific American employees throughout the company. In addition, Mirgorod has achieved various industry honors such as the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2019 “Women Who Mean Business,” the 2013 Women in Cable & Telecommunications (WICT) Southeast chapter “Woman To Watch” and the national “Woman To Watch” honor by WICT in 2014. She has is also a mainstay on Cablefax Magazine’s “Most Powerful Women in Cable.”
WarnerMedia is a leading media and entertainment company that creates and distributes premium and popular content from a diverse array of talented storytellers and journalists to global audiences through its consumer brands including: HBO, HBO Max, Warner Bros., TNT, TBS, truTV, CNN, DC Entertainment, New Line, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Turner Classic Movies and others, as well as Xandr’s suite of advanced advertising solutions designed to help to improve advertising for brands, publishers, and consumers.
WarnerMedia is part of AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T).\
Michael Bowling serves as President of DIRECTV Latin America and is responsible for the P&L of the operations in South America (outside of Brazil) & the Caribbean, as part of Vrio, a leading Pay TV provider in South America. In addition to leading DIRECTV, he maintains responsibility for OTT services in LATAM as well as serving on the board of multiple investments in the region for AT&T. Prior to this role, he served as Chief Strategy and Digital Transformation Officer for the Company and was responsible for shaping the strategy for AT&T’s digital entertainment services and pay-tv operations in South America & the Caribbean offered through the DIRECTV and SKY brands. Michael led the Company’s digital transformation initiatives to drive a best-in-class customer experience and enhance over-the-top content offerings.
Previously, Michael has served as the President of DIRECTV Latin America North Region responsible for the pay- tv operations for Colombia, Ecuador and the Caribbean in 2017 and 2018. Michael has also served Vrio Corp as senior vice president- product and emerging business, responsible for developing strategies, products and emerging businesses for AT&T’s DIRECTV and SKY Brasil divisions to drive growth and profitability. He was appointed to that role in September 2015.
Prior to that, Michael was the senior vice president-corporate strategy, responsible for driving AT&T’s overall long-term planning and strategic initiatives. He was appointed to this role in September 2013 and served in this capacity helping shape key elements of AT&T’s strategy to become a modern media company. Michael has also served as chief marketing officer-business solutions. In that role, Michael was responsible for driving the growth of a $37B wireline business as well as the Business Mobility service portfolio.
Michael was president- AT&T Mexico, before that, managing AT&T’s relationship with Telmex, Telmex International, and America Movil. During his time in Mexico, Michael served on the Boards of Telmex and Telmex International.
Michael entered AT&T from BellSouth and led the formulation of the entertainment and advertising strategy for AT&T across wireless, broadband and television platforms, later driving the delivery of “One AT&T”: a seamless customer experience across AT&T products. Prior to the merger, Michael served as vice president of Converged Services and Platform Development as well as vice president of Marketing and Product Management for Broadband from 2003 to 2005.
Michael also worked in BellSouth’s International division, initially in business development then as chief marketing officer in Peru for BellSouth’s wireless unit. He also served in a wide range of marketing and sales capacities within BellSouth’s domestic enterprise and consumer operations since joining BellSouth in 1990.
Michael sits on the Board of Governors for the Center for the Digital Future at the USC Annenberg School and the Board of Trust of American Sentinel University and advisory boards at the University of Kentucky Colleges of Business and Engineering. Additionally, Michael serves as an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Business.
He is married with three children and enjoys training for and competing in triathlons and staying proficient with his Spanish.
Eric is a leading expert in the digital video space, advising the world’s largest, most complex, and most demanding customers, from media and sports entities to Fortune 1000 corporations. His career spans executive, sales, marketing and business development roles in markets around the globe-including Australia, Asia, South America Europe and the United States. Prior to Zixi, Eric worked for Com Tech, PictureTel, Vela Research, Venaca and Signiant.
On a day to day basis, as VP of Business Development Eric works with Zixi’s customers such as NBC, Bloomberg, Verizon and Amazon Video to help them architect and deliver next generation live video solutions. In addition to his commercial responsibilities, Eric is a frequent participant on industry panels and other thought leadership activities.