A go-getter right from childhood, Mitchell Hurwitz had established a business before entering his teens, wrote plays in high school, and moved straight into the world of television production upon fin...
|Community||2014 2014||Actor||Preston Koogler||20147|
|Workaholics||2011 2011||Actor||Cool Eric||20117|
|Kroll Show||2013 2013||Actor||n/a||20137|
|Running Wilde||2013 1992 - 1997, 2003 - 2006, 2010 - 2013||Director||n/a||4|
|Arrested Development||2013 1995 - 1997, 2003 - 2006, 2012 - 2013||Director||n/a||4|
|Sit Down, Shut Up||2009 2009||Executive Producer||n/a||1|
|The John Larroquette Show||2013 1991 - 1997, 2003 - 2006, 2010 - 2013||Executive Producer||n/a||1|
|Everything's Relative||1999 1998 - 1999||Executive Producer||n/a||1|
|The Golden Palace||2013 1992 - 1993, 1995 - 1997, 2003 - 2006, 2012 - 2013||Supervising Producer||n/a||1|
|The Ellen Show||2002 2001 - 2002||Executive Producer||n/a||1|
|Brothers||2009 2009||Executive Producer||n/a||1|
|Less Than Perfect||2003 2002 - 2003||Consulting Producer||n/a||1|
|In the Flow with Affion Crockett||2013 1992 - 1997, 2003 - 2006, 2010 - 2013||Executive Producer||n/a||1|
|Nurses||2013 1989 - 1997, 2003 - 2006, 2010 - 2013||Producer||n/a||3|
|The Golden Girls||2013 1991 - 1997, 2003 - 2006, 2010 - 2013||Producer||n/a||3|
|NBC Super Special All-Star Comedy Hour||1994 1993 - 1994||Writer||n/a||1|
|Empty Nest||2013 1989 - 1997, 2003 - 2006, 2010 - 2013||Writer||n/a||1|
|Time Warner Presents the Earth Day Special||1990 1989 - 1990||Other Writer||written material||1|
Mitchell D. Hurwitz was born in Anaheim, CA on May 29, 1963. All children love cookies, but Hurwitz took his adoration to the next level. At age 12, he and his brother co-founded The Chipyard, a chocolate chip cookie business. Hurwitz wrote plays while a student at Estancia High School in Costa Mesa and then moved on to Georgetown University, where he first considered Law, but ended up studying English and Theology. Upon obtaining his degree, he was hired on in an entry level position at Witt/Thomas/Harris Productions, where some spec scripts he had penned garnered the attention of the higher-ups. His earliest television work came as co-associate producer of the short-lived Brian Keith comedy "Heartland" (CBS, 1989) and he also wrote several episodes of the popular sitcom "The Golden Girls" (NBC, 1985-92). Hurwitz's initial venture as a producer came via the sitcom "Nurses" (NBC, 1991-94), but he left after the first season in order to oversee "The Golden Palace" (CBS, 1992-93), a spin-off of "The Golden Girls" (NBC, 1985-1992) that failed to find its predecessors' audience.
Hurwitz's next venture promised something different and had a very promising start. "The John Larroquette Show" (NBC, 1993-96) was more daring and darkly funny than most sitcoms, revolving around an alcoholic protagonist living a far from glamorous life. While serving as showrunner, Hurwitz also wrote a number of the episodes himself and gave the program a very distinctive stamp that was largely lost when NBC insisted on lightening the tone in the hopes of attracting the strongest ratings possible. Much of the program's bite disappeared in the process and it ended up losing viewers, rather than gaining them. After further dips in popularity, it was eventually cancelled and the Jeffrey Tambor/Jill Clayburgh sitcom "Everything's Relative" (NBC, 1999) proved an even bigger disappointment for Hurwitz, going off the air almost immediately. He moved on to "The Ellen Show" (CBS, 2001-02), the comedienne's follow-up to her 1990s ABC series, but as with "The Golden Palace," lightning did not strike twice. "The Ellen Show" was part of a development deal Hurwitz had with Artists Television Group and no successful productions resulted from the collaboration.
Luckily, Hurwitz's next project made his name in the industry and provided him with a great deal of professional satisfaction, even if it failed to be a home run by conventional standards. Executive produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, "Arrested Development" (Fox, 2003-06) told of the oddball Bluth family, a collection of eccentrics whose patriarch has landed in jail for fraud. Their previously lavish lifestyle now gone, the Bluths' various neuroses invariably land them in all manner of trouble. Shot with handheld cameras and narrated by Howard in the third person, Hurwitz's creative choices gave it a look and feel unique among the assembly line comedies that dominated the Fox schedule. "Arrested Development" scored big with critics right out of the gate and won five Emmy Awards, including Best Comedy Series. Hurwitz's script for the pilot earned him the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, but these plaudits did not translate into viewers. The show struggled right from the outset, but in the wake of its widespread critical success, Fox greenlit a second season.
While most would agree that the quality was maintained, season two managed to score even lower Nielsen scores and Fox reduced the episode order from 22 to 18. Once again, Hurwitz was honored with an Emmy for one of his scripts and "Arrested Development" was frequently cited as one of the most dependably amusing and creative ventures on network television. In defiance of their usual procedure for shows that did not live up to ratings expectations, Fox agreed to a third season, which ended up being a mere 13 episodes. With no uptick in the numbers, Fox finally pulled the plug, but very vocal fan outrage and strong DVD sales suggested that the program had a chance for resurrection perhaps one day in the future.
In the wake of "Arrested Development," Hurwitz had difficulty launching another show and oversaw a group of unsold pilots. The considerable success of "The Simpsons" (Fox. 1990- ) opened up a market for primetime animated comedies and Hurwitz's contribution was "Sit Down Shut Up" (Fox, 2008-09), a high school comedy based on a like-named Australian series. However, it was gone after only a season and Hurwitz had similarly bad luck with the comedies "Brothers" (Fox, 2009), "Running Wilde" (Fox, 2010), and "In the Flow with Affion Crockett" (Fox, 2011), which came and went in a similarly short time frame.
In the meantime, there was a growing demand among fans through the years for a revival of "Arrested Development," via either new episodes or a feature film, something Hurwitz himself encouraged by offering periodic tidbits of (often false) encouragement in interviews. Cast members Jason Bateman, Michael Cera and Will Arnett had gone on to varying degrees of success on television or in films since the show ended and some wondered if they could be lured back for a new incarnation of the series. After years of speculation, the video rental giant Netflix stepped in as a production partner and Hurwitz announced that 10-13 new episodes of the show would be produced with the original cast in its entirety. The completed programs would bypass television and all be released simultaneously on Netflix Streaming in 2013. This fourth season would also hopefully act as a lead-in for a feature film incarnation. Industry observers greeted the news with great interest and were intrigued as to how this development might lead to additional high-profile content produced specifically for release on streaming services.
By John Charles
From classic movie palaces to the state-of-the-art IMAX screens.