Vin Di Bona
Vincent John "Vin" Di Bona (born 1944) is a television producer for many American television shows such as America's Funniest People, MacGyver, and Entertainment Tonight, as well as America's Funniest Home Videos. He runs an eponymous production company called Vin Di Bona Productions. In 2010 Di Bona launched a second business, FishBowl Worldwide Media, an independent production company developing properties for film, television, digital platforms and brands.
A native of Cranston, Rhode Island, Di Bona began his career in the entertainment industry as a singer, under the stage name Johnny Lindy (the last name was taken from the Cranston area restaurant owned by his parents and where Di Bona worked at as a pre-teen); releasing two records by the age of 16, which became hits regionally. However Di Bona turned his aspirations to making film and television in 1962, following the major worldwide success of The Beatles, quoted in a 1990 interview as saying "Guys who sang romantic ballads were up a creek without a paddle. So I adapted."
He received an education at Emerson College in Boston, where he served as manager of WECB, the campus radio station. Di Bona met his first wife Gina, who serves as a production consultant on many of his series including America's Funniest Home Videos and with whom they have a daughter, Cara, while attending Emerson College. After graduating from Emerson in 1966 and earning up a master's degree of fine arts in film at UCLA, he worked for nine years at Boston's then-NBC affiliate WBZ-TV (channel 4; now a CBS-owned station). After he left WBZ-TV, Vin, his wife, and daughter moved to Los Angeles, Di Bona did not find a job for about eight months, until he became employed at CBS directing and producing documentaries for the network, which earned him four Emmys and a Peabody Award.
Di Bona is considered one of the pioneers of reality TV, thanks to Battle of the Network Stars, which Di Bona produced in 1976. By the 1980s, Di Bona became a producer for the syndicated newsmagazine Entertainment Tonight and later served as a producer for one season on the ABC series MacGyver; he also was a director for the American Music Awards and the Academy of Country Music Awards and produced taped segments for the 36th Annual Emmy Awards, among others.
Di Bona's first two television series creations were spawned from two Japanese programs, and at the insistence of his then-wife Gina, the ABC series Animal Crack-Ups, was based on a popular Japanese game show called Waku Waku; Gina watched a story featured on CBS News about the show, which aired on the Tokyo Broadcasting System, the story featured a frilled lizard, which made Gina laugh and at her insistence, Vin looked into developing a series based on Waku Waku. America's Funniest Home Videos was inspired by another Tokyo Broadcasting System series, the variety show Fun TV with Kato-chan and Ken-chan, after Vin and Gina attended a television festival in France and Gina walked past a booth showing Japanese home video clips, Gina found the clips in the program to be hilarious, asking her husband to look into developing a series based on the viewer-submitted home video segment.
America's Funniest Home Videos, currently in its 24th year and the longest-running primetime entertainment show on ABC, reached a milestone 500 episodes in 2012. The show eventually led to two spinoffs, America's Funniest People and the short-lived World's Funniest Videos; along with similar home video shows Show Me The Funny for Fox Family Channel (now ABC Family) and the syndicated series That's Funny. Di Bona also produced several made-for-TV movies and a Showtime series Sherman Oaks.
Di Bona was chair for The Caucus for Television Producers, Writers and Directors for four years. Having served for many years on the Board of Trustees for his alma mater, Emerson College, he is now the Board's vice-chairman. He is also chairman of Emerson's 2013 fund-raising committee and donated one million dollars to kick-start the effort. Di Bona received the 2,346th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Thursday, August 23, 2007. In 2009, objects from "America's Funniest Videos" were accepted into the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. The Museum put the camcorder used to shoot the first winning video in 1989 on display. In 2006 Di Bona married Erica Gerard.
Vin Di Bona is executive producer of Upload with Shaquille O'Neal, for TruTV, about the basketball superstar and TNT NBA analyst Shaquille O'Neal O'Neal and friends rounding up the week's online video clips, as well as create their own viral videos and comment on and parody current pop culture stories.  for TruTV with executive producers Bruce Gersh, Susan Levison, attorney-executive producer Ellen Stiefler, and writer-executive producer Yahlin Chang. Vin Di Bona is bringing Dr. Mimi Guarneri's Simon & Schuster book, The Heart Speaks, to television at ABC as a weekly medical television drama with Sony Pictures Television. for TruTV.
In 1992, Arleen Sorkin, who is white, was fired from the television show America's Funniest People by Di Bona. In response, Sorkin filed a lawsuit against Di Bona, claiming that she was dismissed from the show due to her race, after ABC Chairman Dan Burke had suggested to Di Bona that Sorkin be replaced by an African-American or a person of another ethnic minority. Sorkin sought $450,000 for lost earnings, and an additional unspecified amount for harm to her professional reputation and emotional injury. Sorkin additionally claimed that after she denounced the move as unfair, Di Bona changed plans and hired new cohost Tawny Kitaen.
- Littleton, Cynthia. "Putting the fun in 'Home Videos'; Vincent John Di Bona, executive producer of television program America's Funniest Home Videos", Broadcasting & Cable, May 20, 1996. Retrieved March 8, 2011 from HighBeam Research.
- Emily Benedek. "How the 'Funniest' Thing Happened; Vin Di Bona, Making 'Home Videos' Into a Sunday-Night Smash.", The Washington Post, April 3, 1990. Retrieved March 7, 2011 from HighBeam Research.
- http://www.variety.com/profiles/TVSeries/main/173514/Battle%20of%20the%20Network%20Reality%20Stars.html?dataSet=1. Missing or empty
- "Dealine Hollywood article".
- "Former TV Co-Host Suing Producer". Buffalo News. 1993-04-18. Retrieved 31 October 2010.