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Tufts Grads Pack Prime Time Punch

Tufts Grads Pack Prime Time PunchA wide variety of Tufts graduates are doing their part – on screen or behind the scenes – to make this fall’s television season stand out.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [09.23.05] You’ve seen all the commercials. You’ve heard all the hype. The new fall TV season has begun. With scores of new programs making their debuts, and dozens of successful hits returning with new seasons, more than 40 network and cable shows – from The O.C. to The Office - have ties to Tufts alums.

Warner Brothers Television, headed by Tufts graduate Peter Roth (A’72), is the driving force behind a slew of shows on the schedule this fall, including several new programs, like Fox’s Reunion and the WB’s Supernatural. Roth has also helped edgy shows like Nip/Tuck and prime time hits including The West Wing reach the small screen.

“TV topper Peter Roth is coming off a banner year, with 33 series in production for the six nets and two more for cable,” Daily Variety recently reported.

While Roth is making an impact on the entertainment world from behind the scenes, 1977 Tufts graduate Peter Gallagher (A’77) has a more visible role on the WB’s returning teen drama, The O.C. In addition to playing TV dad Sandy Cohen, the former member of the Tufts Beelzebubs recently finished r ecording his first solo music album, which is due to be released by Epic Records in November.

“That decision [to make a record] has already given me some of the most memorable experiences of my life,” Gallagher wrote on his website. “All this gives further proof to the notion that 90 percent of life is showing up. Keep showing up and don't give up and it's amazing what can happen.”

While The O.C., in its third season, remains one of TV’s hottest dramas, WB has some other shows that are also going strong. Both Reba and Smallville were nominated for awards at last weekend’s 57 th Annual Emmys, although Tufts graduate Rob Burnett (A’84), president and CEO of WorldWide Pants, Inc., ultimately came out on top.

WorldWide Pants production Everybody Loves Raymond, which finished its ninth and final season this spring, picked up an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series, while two of the show’s stars, Brad Garrett and Doris Roberts, grabbed awards for their supporting roles in the CBS comedy.

But Burnett, who also serves as executive producer of The Late Show with David Letterman , isn’t the only Tufts brain behind a hit television TV show this year.

Tufts graduate Ben Silverman is the executive producer of The Office, a joint production of Silverman’s company, Reveille, and NBC Universal Television Studio. The “docu-reality,” which pokes fun at traditional 9-5 office life, kicked off its second season September 20.

Silverman, whose resume boasts reality shows like USA’s Nashville Star, Bravo’s Blow Out and FX’s 30 Days, is also co-creator and executive producer of NBC’s The Biggest Loser, which challenges and encourages a group of overweight participants to shed pounds through dieting and exercise while competing for a $250,000 grand prize.

Tufts’ own assistant professor of medicine Dr. Michael Dansinger has a front row seat on the sidelines of the prime time reality show as a weight loss and nutrition consultant.

Dansinger, who completed a nutrition research fellowship at Tufts, serves as the director of clinical studies and obesity research for the atherosclerosis research laboratory within the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism at Tufts-New England Medical Center. He is also the principal investigator of the Tufts Popular Diet Trial, a comparison of Atkins, Zone, Weight Watchers and Ornish diets.

AmyNabsethChaconLike Dansinger and Silverman, Tufts graduateAmy Nabseth Chacon (A'77) is involved with a hit reality show. She is co-executive producer of CBS' The Amazing Race, which recently won an emmy forOutstanding Reality-Competition Series.

Also working in prime time, Tufts alum, Eric Tannenbaum (A'85), whose past TV ties include shows like Mad About You, Party of 5, Dawson's Creek and Family Law, is executive producing the CBS comedy Two and a Half Men, which premiered in 2003 and stars Charlie Sheen.

While some Tufts graduates, like Tannenbaum, are focusing on the fall TV season, others, like Jeff Greenstein (A’84), are looking ahead. According to an article in The Hollywood Reporter, as part of a two-year deal with Touchstone Television, the former member of the Emmy-winning Will & Grace production team will executive produce ABC’s Jake in Progress, which has not yet set a season premiere date.

“We jumped at the chance to collaborate with Jeff,” Touchstone TV Vice President Alex Weinberger said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “His reputation as an enthusiastic showrunner who can grow with a series is a valuable commodity we always welcome.”












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