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12 July 17
20 years ago, Oz locked down the prestige-drama formula
series premiered in the late ’90s, featured an expansive cast, and
juggled humor and realism in a gritty setting. There were
capital-letter themes, lots of nudity, and warring factions, not to
mention Edie Falco in a starring role.
7 June 17
Tom invited William Daniels and friends for a get together to celebrate the publication of
“There I Go Again”.
“Bless you, Bill Daniels! Thanks to your wonderful book, I get to live
the best years of my life over again—the magical ’80s when we did St.
Elsewhere. And not just those wonderful times—I get to relive Two for
the Road, The Graduate, and 1776 in the bargain. What a treat!”—Ed
6 June 17
20 Years of 'OZ': The Show That Changed TV Forever
the end of the last millennium, HBO gave the green light to a prison
drama with a difference, and television hasn't been the same since.
6 June 17
HBO’s Joe Paterno Movie Gets Green Light With
Al Pacino Starring & Barry Levinson Directing
Almost two years after HBO hit pause on its film about the
Penn State football scandal starring Al Pacino, the project is moving
forward with a green light and a new director. Barry Levinson is set to
direct and executive produce the movie, reuniting with Pacino and HBO.
3 August 16
15 June 16
Tom Fontana – A Conversation at ATX
BY JARED MUNSON
stresses that ratings shouldn’t be the main indicator if a show should
be renewed or not. It should be about more about what is actually good. read the article here
11 June 16
Credit: Omar L. Gallaga / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
How HBO’s ‘Oz’ and ‘The Wire’ changed the game...
showrunners of some of the most influential TV dramas of the so-called
golden age of TV shared the stage at the ATX Television Festival
Saturday morning at Google Fiber Space, describing the birth of HBO’s
original dramas, what it was like to create iconic shows such as “The
Wire” and “Homicide: Life on the Street” and why despicable characters
still make for great
TV. read the article here
30 March 16
Dramas like 'Game of Thrones' and 'Orange is the New Black' owe a great deal to HBO's original ambitious prison drama
When HBO produced Oz in
1997, American audiences had never seen anything like it on television.
The show was ruthlessly violent — criticizing the penal justice system,
portraying both rape and homophobia, interrogating race relations and
pitting Muslims against Christians. What’s more, it was heavily
stylized, beginning each episode with a prelude from wheelchair-bound
prisoner Augustus Hill (Harold Perrineau), who waxed poetic on larger
themes affecting the prisoners in Oswald State Penitentiary.
Read the Inverse article by Emily Gaudette here
3 March 16
You Married Them Once, but What About Twice?
After 22 years, the divorce didn’t work out for Sagan Lewis and Tom Fontana.
They tried to maintain a severed union. And for more than
two decades, they were successful. Ms. Lewis, a former actress, lived
in the verdant tangle of Hawaii and then Arizona; he moved to the
cobblestones of the West Village.
She had a child on her own; he wrote and produced some of
the most hard-edge, violent shows on television. They saw each other on
occasion and still loved each other, but were not, emphatically, a
And yet, something kept bringing them together again.
Finally, as if orchestrated by a Hollywood show-runner, in July, the
woman who found comfort in the red rocks of Sedona and the man who
lives in a 10,000-square-foot building in Manhattan, remarried.
16 February 16
‘Killing Fields’ Season Finale Clocks 2.5 Million Viewers On Discovery Channel
By Lisa de Moraes
The season finale of
Discovery’s first true-crime series Killing Fields clocked 2.45 million
viewers in Live + 3 Day viewing – a 44% growth from its debut crowd of
1.7M. The series, from Barry Levinson and Tom Fontana, also delivered a
season high in the 25-54 demographic, 1.3M v its first episode’s 762K
viewers in the demo. Over its run, the series grew in the demo every
week, as it took viewers inside an active criminal investigation.
(read the article here
23 December 15
How a 1980s TV show became the glue that connected 'I Love Lucy' to 'Law & Order: SVU'
When Tom Fontana was a producer
on the show “St. Elsewhere” in the 1980s, he loved to push the
boundaries of weirdness — at least as much as he could get away with on
21 November 14
Rise of Epic TV Series: Tom Fontana, Creator of "Oz"
is proud to welcome the recipient of three Primetime Emmys and multiple
other awards, Tom Fontana, for an event charting both the artistic and
the economic revolution that changed the face of TV over the last one
and a half
See the interview here
11 November 14
The TV Legacy of St. Elsewhere's
"Tommy Westphall Universe"
read the article by Jim Vorel here
one truly lasting and iconic contribution to pop culture stems from its
bizarre and totally unexpected ending, and the sprawling web of
theories that ending implies. And it all starts with the imagination of
an autistic boy named Tommy Westphall.
20 April 14
À NU le spectacle au Vingtième Théâtre
click on the image to see a video promo for the play
Earlier this year an adaptation of “Strip Search” was presented in Paris.
À NU was adapted and directed by Marc SAEZ
More images from the production here
TV profile and extended interview
12 April 14
11 April 14
Tom Fontana & Chris Long share
Two of today's best-respected TV creators shared
production stories at MIPTV.
By Angela Natividad
Read the story here.
Watch the video here
13 October 13
Honoree of the Year
Honoree of the Year Tom Fontana, far left, visits with his siblings
Frank and Charlene Fontana and Peter LoJacono, president of Federation
of Italian-American Societies of Western New York, before
Sunday’s event. Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News
see WKBW's coverage here.
15 June 13
13 May 13
the Kid' Limited Series in Development at Fox
The network is
teaming with Homicide: Life on the Street's Tom Fontana to develop a
limited-run drama about Billy the Kid.
Borgia is back for season 2
'BORGIA' DRAMA PROVES A WORLDWIDE HIT
producer, American Tom Fontana, says producers searched
far and wide to assemble the talent working on Borgia. "We were
always determined to have the best actors, the best designers,
the most talented people here, regardless of what country they come
from," he said. "Everyone who is here knows they are here because we
think they are the best.
Read the whole story here.
14 November 12
Read more details
25 October 12
11 October 12
WILDER, MORE CORRUPT, MORE
look at the
read the article (in German) here
special place in TV history. ...three major series that he has done...
have become landmarks on the landscape of TV, shows with characters and
plots that have become regarded as absolutly essential to what the
medium was capable.
Read the article at examiner.com
28 August 12
aims to keep N.Y. in picture
past, current projects
TF: You get offered a
lot of crime stuff, having done
"Homicide" and "Oz," and every once in a while you say, "That's a way I
haven't done it before."
Read the interview
17 August 12
27 July 12
"From Beautiful Pond To A Ghetto":
Tom Fontana's Walking Tour Of Gritty Five Points
17 July 12
script "Strip Search" adapted and performed at Festival Avignon in
The La Provence article here
The video clip here
Tom and Sidney Lumet talk
about "Strip Search" here
12 June 12
"COPPER is a
gripping crime series set in 1860s New York City, and centers
cop working the city's notorious Five Points neighborhood."
2 April 12
Copper, from BBC America
and Cineflix Studios, debuts August 19 at 9 p.m.
26 March 12
The papal period drama will start shooting in Prague and Italy and
reach the U.S. and U.K. via Netflix.
PARIS - Lagardere, EOS, ZDF, ORF and Canal Plus will join
again for the second season
of Tom Fontana’s period drama Borgia. The next twelve
the series will shoot in Prague and Italy through November. read
the article here
5 March 12
21 February 12
BY RICH HELDENFELS
and Fear" comes from
writer-producer Tom Fontana, acclaimed for his work on "Homicide: Life
on the Street," "Oz" and "St. Elsewhere." He is also at work on
projects for BBC America ("Copper," about an Irish policeman in
19th-century New York City) and A&E ("The Box," a drama about
police interrogations) but not for the broadcast networks he has so
"I'll tell you the God's honest truth," he said, "the networks don't
seem to want to make shows that are outside their comfort zone. But I
want to make shows that are outside my comfort zone, so I have gone all
over the world in search of people that are willing to take a bigger
risk than the networks will."
He was invited to work on "Faith and Fear," an international
co-production, but added: "I love history and the popes have been
something I've been fascinated with my whole life, being a Catholic.
... It's been a great ride so far. We're working on scripts for the
second season. We're going to shoot in Prague and in Rome this year, so
But what about that other series, from writer-director Neil Jordan
("The Crying Game")?
"Initially, Showtime had wanted us to combine the two productions,"
Fontana said. "I flew to Dublin to meet with Neil Jordan. We had a
perfectly lovely dinner but we realized at this dinner that we wanted
to make two completely different versions of this story. From that
point on, I just decided to pretend that the other one doesn't exist.
So I haven't watched it, I haven't read anything about it. ... It's
like when I was doing 'Homicide' and 'NYPD Blue' came on the air. I
didn't want to watch 'NYPD Blue' - not because I didn't respect
(writer-producer) David Milch, but because I didn't want to be
influenced by what he was doing on his show."
As for "Faith and Fear," Fontana said: "What I wanted to bring to the
program was two keys.
"One was that, if you take faith out of the Catholic Church for a
second, what you are left with is the Vatican, Inc. You're left with
the brand, and what the brand sells is salvation. Much better than
selling Chevys, it's selling salvation. People want to be saved for
eternity a lot more than they want a new car. So on one element we're
examining the Vatican not as a religion but as a corporation. ...
17 January 12
SOON TO BBC AMERICA —
is an immigrant drama about an Irish
working in 19th century New York City. Slated to premiere on BBC
America in the summer of 2012 and in Canada on Shaw Media’s
Showcase in fall 2012, it will link audiences on both sides of the
Read the article here
7 December 11
Buys Cop Drama With A
Tom Fontana And Barry Levinson
A&E Network has teamed with Homicide alums Tom Fontana and
Levinson for The Box, a half-hour cop drama that takes place largely
within the walls of the interrogation room. The cable network has
ordered two scripts from the project, which will be written by Fontana.
Read more about it here
25 October 11
Ratings Hit in France, Italy
First episode of papal
drama starring John
Doman draws a record 1.7 million viewers on Canal +.
Germany – Tom
Fontana’s papal period drama Borgia has converted unbelievers
Italy and killed them in France. The series, directed by Oliver
Hirschbiegel (Downfall) and starring John Dorman (The Wire), debuted to
an audience of 1.7 million on Canal +, a record for the French pay TV
network. On Sky Italia, where Borgia debuted with a two-episode teaser
this summer, the series nearly doubled its audience over its 12-episode
run. 420,000 watched the series finale last Friday. Netflix has picked
up North American rights to Borgia and will bow the show via its online
service later this month.
3 October 11
Takes North American Rights to Tom Fontana's 'Borgia'
thrilled to bring this compelling tale of family, power and intrigue to
our U.S. subscribers,” said Netflix director of content
acquisition Elizabeth Bradley. “Our members love
sumptuous historical dramas and Borgia is a great one.”
14 September 11
8 September 11
3 September 11
BBC AMERICA ORDERS FIRST
ORIGINAL SCRIPTED SERIES FOR SUMMER
Jul 28, 2011 | BBC America
Channel announces COPPER - A Cineflix Studios production, in
association with Levinson/Fontana
New York – In its most significant original programming
commitment to date, BBC AMERICA has announced its first original
scripted drama series, Copper. The 10 episode series, which
centers on a young Irish cop operating in the immigrant communities of
19th century New York, is co-created by Tom Fontana (OZ,Homicide: Life
on the Street, St. Elsewhere) and Will Rokos (Monster’s Ball,
Southland). The executive producers include Fontana, Rokos,
Levinson (Good Morning, Vietnam, Rain Man, You Don't Know Jack) and
Christina Wayne (Broken Trail and executive in charge of Mad Men at
AMC) of Cineflix Studios.
Copper is set in the Five Points Irish neighborhood of New York City in
the 1860’s. The series focuses on a rugged young
who has to navigate the unruly and sometimes violent currents of his
immigrant neighborhood, while simultaneously interacting with uptown
Manhattan high society and the emerging black community in
Copper will commence production in the fall of 2011 in Toronto and
premiere on BBC AMERICA in Summer 2012.
Perry Simon, General Manager, BBC AMERICA says: “Copper is a
great fit for BBC AMERICA, capturing the early American multicultural
experience in provocative, ground-breaking fashion. In the
of great BBC drama it’s brimming with fascinating and complex
characters giving us the opportunity to cast the best actors from both
sides of the Atlantic. I’m delighted to be working with Tom
Barry again, together with Will, Christina and the talented team at
Cineflix Studios. We could not be in better hands for BBC
AMERICA’s first dramatic series”.
“BBC AMERICA is the ideal home for Copper in the
said Glen Salzman, CEO, Cineflix. “Cineflix Studios
together an amazing team for this series, some of the best in the
business, who will produce compelling television with widespread
international appeal. We look forward to starting production in a few
months and continuing to ramp up our scripted programming
the press release on line here
has a half
hour feature on "Borgia". You can see it here.
more on Tom's
new series, look Here
image to see an interview with Tom on Canal+
from the set of "Borgia" in
Tom with John Doman who
Cardinals waiting for
can see more pictures from the set of "Borgia" in Prague, here
are in the Archive