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30 July 22
Tom Fontana on 'City on a Hill,' Emmys
and entering a Buffalo Hall of Fame
a wide-ranging interview, Fontana addressed the recent Emmy
nominations, the perils of filming during Covid, his next project, his
entry into the Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame and this season of
“City on a Hill.”
19 July 22
Oz Premiered 25 Years Ago, Birthing Prestige TV With It
Before The Sopranos, HBO gave us a prison drama
that set the stage for the next quarter-century of TV.
read the article on
...this was a
revolutionary concept when it was first proposed almost three decades
ago and initially was met with resistance. Involved in its inception
were two top TV showrunners, Law & Order creator and executive
producer Dick Wolf and Oz creator and executive producer Tom Fontana.
The two had been good friends since Fontana was on St. Elsewhere and
Wolf was on Hill Street Blues in the early ’80s. “We kept in touch as
our career wended its way through various highways,” Wolf says. “Tom
moved back to New York, I stayed in LA.”
“Homicide was one of my favorite shows, he said
Law & Order was one of his,” Wolf says. “We were talking, and we
thought it would be interesting and fun to do a story that crossed over
both shows. He didn’t think anyone had done that and neither did I.”
1 April 22
Showitme releases trailer for Season 3
7 February 22
Entertainment Master Class Launches Showrunner Society Mentoring and Training Platform
Entertainment Master Class (EMC) has launched the Showrunner Society, a
hybrid online/in-person community for showrunners and media
executives. Described as “a new way for experienced writers
and writing producers to learn the craft of Showrunning".
"With the amazing amount of television that’s being created these days,
having a place where showrunners from everywhere can meet to share
ideas and experiences is essential. We also need a venue to nurture the
next generation of showrunning talent.” Tom Fontana
12 November 21
16 Jume 21
ATX ‘OZ’ Retrospective
Creator & Stars Reminisce About HBO Series
That Changed Television And Their Lives
who played Tobias Beecher, noted “the balls” Fontana had to write a
show like Oz, at a time when there was nothing else like it on TV.
“Nobody knew how people were going to take it,” he recalled. “We were
all out there going, ‘Lets see what happens.'”
10 June 21
Must-See Programming From the
ATX Television Festival
ATX Television Festival Season 10 virtual edition, June 11-20.
Tickets and info at atxfestival.com.
2 June 21
“City on a Hill,” Showtime’s critically acclaimed Boston crime drama starring Emmy nominee Kevin Bacon and Screen Actors Guild Award winner Aldis Hodge, has been renewed for a third season. Emmy-winning executive producer and showrunner Tom Fontana, creator of HBO’s “Oz” and Canal Plus’ “Borgia,” is set to return for Season 3.
27 March 21
Craig muMs Grant,
15 March 21
Actor and Slam Poet, Dies at 52
muMs Grant’s biggest success as an actor was the role of Poet on the
HBO prison drama “Oz,” but fans of that series were accustomed to
seeing him credited simply as muMs. It was a name he adopted as a young
man when he was exploring rap and slam poetry, influences that he said
changed his life.
Drama From Scott Frank & Tom Fontana
Heats Up TV Marketplace
Spade centers around writer Dashiell Hammett’s great detective, Sam
Spade, played by Owen, who has been quietly living out his golden years
in the small town of Bozuls in the South of France.
23 February 21
‘City On A Hill’: Star Aldis Hodge, EP Tom Fontana Talk Racism & Police Corruption In Season 2
Boston-based crime drama City On A Hill may take place in the 1990s,
but today's conversations about racism and police corruption will find
relevance in the series' upcoming second season.
31 January 21
Granville Adams' Cancer Fund
many of you know, our friend and brother Granville Adams has been
diagnosed with cancer. We want to gather together and show
Granville our love and support in his fight against this vicious
Please share this campaign with friends and fans of Granville and help spread the word.
Thanks so much,
Tom Fontana and Dean Winters
19 January 21
‘City on a Hill’:
No Rest for the Wicked in Boston Crime Drama
Bacon, Aldis Hodge, and Jonathan Tucker star in Showtime’s gritty crime
drama ‘City on a Hill’. Set in Boston in 1992, the city’s crime and
corruption have reached a boiling point. Even among the cops and
robbers, it’s difficult to tell who are the real “bad guys.”
Read the article here
An anthology of Buffalo and Buffalo-based writers on their
“Among the diverse group of poets and prose writers are Carl Dennis, Gary Earl Ross, and Tom Fontana—who contributed an original short story featuring four families in an apartment building on Buffalo’s West Side, a slice of their lives in early days of the pandemic.
15 December 20
City on a Hill Season 2: Release date, plot, cast and everything we know so far!
“With the inspired pairing of Kevin Bacon and Aldis Hodge and the
inspired writing of Tom Fontana and Chuck MacLean, we believe there is
a rich future for this compelling series.” Gary Levine
Read the article here
15 July 20
'90s drama 'Homicide' told
painful truths about policing
Based on a nonfiction book by ex-Baltimore Sun reporter David Simon (who went on to create “The Wire”), developed by Oscar-winning director Barry Levinson and show-runner Tom Fontana, “Homicide” turned the trope-heavy police procedural into a haunting interrogation of the wages of grief.
read the article with video clips Here
15 April 20
stage debut was in college as an actor in George Bernard Shaw’s Saint
Joan, directed by his frequent mentor, Warren Enters. While working at
the Williamstown Theater Festival in the early 1980s, he was offered
the opportunity to write for television – the offer coming from Bruce
Paltrow who was launching St. Elsewhere on NBC.
Mark Ruffalo Recalls His TV Cop Show Days on ‘The Beat’
had seen me in plays and was a fan. He got me for what I was — a
theater brat,” Ruffalo recalled. “It was an amazing opportunity to live
in New York and shoot a show about cops and real blue-collar people.”
05 February 20
Kevin Bacon spotted filming
‘City on a Hill’ in Boston
Kevin Bacon and filmmakers
rolled back the clock in Boston on Tuesday and Wednesday while filming
season two of “City on a Hill,” the Showtime drama set in 1990s Boston.
23 January 19
winner Tom Fontana,'73, is helping the next generation of film and
television-makers with an annual scholarship for Buffalo State's
television and film arts (TFA) program. Made in memory of his late
wife, actress Sagan Lewis, the Tom Fontana/Sagan Lewis TFA scholarship
is designated for TFA student internships in New York City, Los
Angeles, and other major cities.
18 September 19
Oz: 10 Storylines That Were Never Resolved
5 August 19
Showtime’s ‘City on a Hill’ gets crime, grime,
crooked cops and East Coast, urban life right
entertainment, it has some of the finest acting, strongest dialogue and
most evocative visuals of ethnic, urban, East Coast neighborhoods
anywhere on television. I love that kind of visual texture.
As culture, I believe it could have something valuable to
tell us about crime, corruption and what it is going to take for
troubled cities like Baltimore to be made safe for citizens. I love TV
that’s culturally relevant even more." DAVID ZURAWIK
8 August 19
"Oz" Creator Returns To The Berkshire Stage
With "Screenplay By Stalin"
Listen to the interview here
See the article here
15 June 19
Tom Fontana has a career first in
Showtime's 'City on a Hill'
looking for ways to speak about the world we live in now
another lens,” said Fontana. “And 1992 Boston gives you a
palette of what America is going through now in terms of
Red the article here
6 May 19
Premiers May 7th at 8PM
A revealing look at the foster care system as seen through the eyes
of those who know it best. From Oscar-winning filmmakers
Deborah Oppenheimer and Mark Jonathan Harris
See the trailer and learn more HERE
14 March 19
George Morfogen, 'Oz' Actor
and Theater Veteran, Dies at 86
played the murderer Rebadow on 56 episodes over all six seasons
(1997–2003) of Oz, created by Tom Fontana. His character, the
oldest inmate at the Oswald State Correctional Facility, possessed a
sort of mythical quality, especially after a blackout occurred while he
was strapped in the electric chair, sparing his life.
16 February 19
18 February 19
From the Hollywood Reporter story:
"Julianna Margulies detailed her 25-year friendship with
Tom Fontana as she presented the Oz creator with the Ian
McLellan Hunter award for career achievement. Margulies explained that
she marveled at his reported 35 Emmy nominations, with Fontana telling
her that couldn't confirm that number because he'd lost count."
20 November 18
now streaming on Hulu
"a binge-worthy watch that reveals a show far ahead of its time"
Read the article here
31 October 18
Tom Fontana & Oliver Stone Team For ‘Dolce Vita’ TV Series About 1950s Rome
Read the details at Deadline Hollywood
7 August 18
Buffalo's Hollywood connection is starring in
'That (Almost) '70s Show'
2 August 18
Tom Fontana Named Showrunner of Showtime’s
Affleck-Damon Drama ‘City on a Hill’
Written by Chuck MacLean (Boston Strangler) and based on an original idea by Affleck,
City on a Hill is set in early 1990s Boston when the city was rife with violent criminals
emboldened by local law enforcement agencies in which corruption and racism was the norm,
until it suddenly all changed. The drama is a fictional account of what was called the
Read the article here: DEADLINE Hollywood
25 May 18
See the Facebook live recording of the event HERE
16 February 18
Homicide: Life on the Street: A Reunion
Thursday, May 24, 2018
Time: 6:30 pm
Paley Center will reunite key members of the cast and creative team of
one of the most influential and acclaimed dramas in television history
including: Richard Belzer ("John Munch"); Andre Braugher ("Frank
Pembleton"); Tom Fontana, Creator and Writer; Barry Levinson,
go on sale for Paley Center Individual Members onFebruary15 at noon,
and to the general public on February 16 at noon. To learn more about
the benefits of Paley Membership, including the ability to purchase
tickets ahead of the general public, please visit
26 October 17
THE GREAT OZ
20 October 17
know, it’s funny because when you do something and then you go and
revisit it 20 years later, you’re sort of terrified that it’s going to
be crap. And I just watched the pilot again for the first time in 20
years and I was happy to see, most of all, how incredible the cast was
and about the diversity in the show. Which I think 20 years ago was
fairly unheard of. "
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.
the article here
11 June 16
Credit: Omar L. Gallaga / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
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
the article here
30 March 16
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
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
past TomFontana.com entries
are in the Archive