Archive 2013 - 2010

Archive 2010 - 2001
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30 July 22

Tom Fontana on 'City on a Hill,' Emmys
and entering a Buffalo Hall of Fame

In 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.”
read the article here

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

7 June 22 of 12 members of Buffalo Broadcasters Assoc.
2022 Hall of Fame class.

Fontana is a SUNY Buffalo State graduate best known for his 40-year Emmy and Peabody Award career as the writer and producer of NBC’s medical series “St. Elsewhere,” the NBC police series “Homicide: Life on the Street" and HBO’s prison series “Oz” and currently is producing Showtime’s “City on a Hill” set in Boston starring Kevin Bacon and Aldis Hodge.

19 May 22

The Night The Crossover Event Was Born
...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

'City On A Hill': Corbin Bernsen, Joanne Kelly, Ernie Hudson Join Showtime Drama Series As Recurring
click here to read the article

16 Jume 21

ATX ‘OZ’ Retrospective

Creator & Stars Reminisce About HBO Series
That Changed Television And Their Lives 

Lee Tergesen, 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

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.

12 May 21

Norman Lloyd Remembered by
‘St. Elsewhere’ Showrunner
Tom Fontana

Norman Lloyd, November 8, 1914 - May 11, 2021

“He was completely open to any new adventure. Here’s a guy who had worked with Hitchcock and Welles and yet here he was with us doing this crazy show and breaking all the rules,” Fontana recalled. “He totally embraced it. He was the biggest cheerleader for the writers. He was totally game for the serious stuff and the crazy funny stuff.”

26 March 21

Road to season two of 'City on a Hill'
took detour navigated by Tom Fontana

"We finished all the scripts, then all the writers went on their way, and then after George Floyd was murdered, we brought all the writers back just because the season is specifically about elements of racism."

Read the article by Alan Pergament in The Buffalo News

27 March 21

Craig muMs Grant,
Actor and Slam Poet, Dies at 52

Craig 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.

read the article in The New York Times

15 March 21

‘Monsieur Spade’
Drama From Scott Frank & Tom Fontana
Heats Up TV Marketplace

Monsieur 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

Showtime's 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

As 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 disease.

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

Kevin 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

15 December 20

An anthology of Buffalo and Buffalo-based writers on their
pandemic experiences

“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.

Read the story here

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

His 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.
Read the article HERE.

Mark Ruffalo Recalls His TV Cop Show Days on ‘The Beat’

“Tom 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.”
Reat the article HERE

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

Emmy-award 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

"As 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

Reat the article in THE BALTIMORE SUN

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'

“I’m always looking for ways to speak about the world we live in now
through another lens,” said Fontana. “And 1992 Boston gives you a
pretty wide palette of what America is going through now in terms of
all those issues.”

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

Morfogen 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

‘St. Elsewhere’
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'

Read the story at

2 August 18

Deadline Hollywood logo

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
“Boston Miracle.”

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

The 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, Executive Producer.

Tickets 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


Two decades on, it’s clear that the 1997 premiere of Oz was the Big Bang of Great TV.

Read the article by Adrienne Westenfeld in Esquire

20 October 17

"You 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

JK Simmons from OZ

This 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 Begley Jr.

6 June 17

Vice logo

20 Years of 'OZ': The Show That Changed TV Forever

At 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

‘Havana Quartet’: Tom Fontana Joins Antonio Banderas Starz Series As EP

Rex/Shutterstock/Associated Press

...looking to be the first U.S. series to film in Cuba on a continuous basis.

read Nellie Andreeva’s article here

15 June 16
ATX logo
Tom Fontana – A Conversation at ATX

Fontana 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...

Three 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 couple.

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.

Read the NYTimes article here

 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 network TV...

21 November 14

Rise of Epic TV Series: Tom Fontana, Creator of "Oz"

 The WZB 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 decades.            See the interview here

11 November 14

The TV Legacy of St. Elsewhere's
"Tommy Westphall Universe"

read the article by Jim Vorel here

The show’s 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 showrunner secrets.

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 entries are in the Archive