Spotnitz in 2017
|Alma mater||UCLA (BA)|
American Film Institute (MFA)
|Occupation||Executive producer, showrunner, writer|
|Known for||The X-Files|
The Man in the High Castle
Frank Charles Spotnitz (born The X-Files and The Man in the High Castle. Spotnitz is also the chief executive officer and founder of Big Light Productions, a London and Paris-based production company, which specializes in international television series, including drama, comedy and documentaries. Spotnitz's career includes creating, writing and producing series with networks, cable, streaming and other broadcast platforms around the world.November 11, 1960) is an American television writer and executive producer, best known for his work on
Under the Big Light banner, Spotnitz has produced: Amazon's Emmy-winning The Man in the High Castle; Medici: Masters of Florence and two seasons of Medici: The Magnificent (RAI, Netflix, SFR Play); The Indian Detective (Netflix, CTV); Ransom (CBS, Global, TF1, RTL); Crossing Lines season three with Tandem/StudioCanal; and Transporter: The Series season two (TNT, M6, HBO Canada). Most recently, Spotnitz co-created and executive produced Leonardo, which is currently in production in Italy.
Born in Camp Zama, Japan. Spotnitz's father is Jewish, though Spotnitz was not raised religiously. Spotnitz's father was a doctor in the US Army. Much of his childhood was peripatetic[clarification needed] before the family settled in Phoenix, Arizona. As a child, Spotnitz consumed television shows and films as much as he could, sometimes watching the same film two or three times in a row. Spotnitz's education at Camelback High School inspired him to pursue a career in Hollywood.
Spotnitz graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a bachelor's degree in English literature in 1982, where he was a reporter for the Daily Bruin. He later received a MFA in screenwriting from the AFI Conservatory in 1991.
Upon graduation from UCLA, Spotnitz was employed as a wire-service reporter for the United Press International in Indianapolis and New York. He also briefly worked for the Associated Press in Paris. Spotnitz freelanced for Entertainment Weekly andRolling Stone before returning to his passion and studying screenwriting at AFI.
Spotnitz created, executive produced and wrote several episodes of The Man in the High Castle, based on the classic alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick, which upon its release became Amazon's most viewed series ever. Starring Alexa Davalos, Rufus Sewell and Joel de la Fuente, the series explores life in a 1962 America where the Allies lost the war and the country is divided between the fascist Japanese in the West and the Nazis in the East. The series won two Emmy Awards, was nominated for two others, and named Best Drama Series at the Roma Fiction Festival. It was also nominated for an ASC Award for Outstanding Cinematography, the USC Scripter Award and Best Drama at Monte Carlo Television Festival's Golden Nymph Awards.
Spotnitz co-created, executive produced and co-wrote Leonardo, currently in production. The eight-part limited series shows the terrible personal sacrifice that led Leonardo to create masterpieces that changed the way we see the world forever. Starring Aidan Turner and Freddie Highmore, the series is the first produced by The Alliance (RAI, France Télévision, ZDF).
Spotnitz co-created, executive produced and co-wrote Medici: Masters of Florence, starring Richard Madden, Dustin Hoffman and Annabel Scholey. Chronicling the rise of the Medici family during the Italian Renaissance, it shows how the family's ascent from simple merchants to power brokers sparked an economic and cultural revolution, creating powerful enemies in the process. The Netflix Original Series was produced with Lux Vide Productions for RAI, Italy's largest broadcaster, and SFR in France. The RAI premiere attracted a record-breaking seven million viewers in Italy, becoming the country's most-watched new series.
Set 20 years later, Medici: The Magnificent starred Daniel Sharman, Bradley James and Sean Bean, and was also co-created, executive produced and co-written by Spotnitz. After an attempt on Piero de Medici's life, his son Lorenzo is forced to assume leadership of the family-run bank. Once in power, young Lorenzo resolves to abandon the cynical politics of the past to usher in a new era of creative and political revolution, bringing him into open conflict with rival banker Jacopo Pazzi, who will stop at nothing to defeat him. Their clash gives rise to one of the most thrilling true-life political intrigues of all time, the infamous Pazzi conspiracy. The second season of Medici: The Magnificent was broadcast on RAI in December 2019 and premieres as a Netflix Original Series in May 2020.
In 2017, Spotnitz co-created, executive produced and co-wrote the comedy-drama series The Indian Detective for Canadian broadcaster CTV and Netflix. It starred international comedy sensation Russell Peters, whom Forbes magazine ranked three times in its Top 10 highest-grossing comics list. Peters portrays Doug D’Mello, a charming, smart Toronto cop, who unexpectedly finds himself investigating murder in his parents’ Indian homeland, where, despite his heritage, he remains an outsider. Canada's biggest series debut in two years was the second-most watched programme on the day of its CTV premiere, with 1.6 million viewers. It was bestowed the Golden Screen Award by the Canadian Screen Academy.
Ransom, produced for CBS in the US, France's TF1, Canada's Corus/Global and RTL in Germany, was a suspense drama set against an international backdrop. It starred Luke Roberts and was co-created, executive produced and co-written by Spotnitz. The thriller follows crisis and hostage negotiator Eric Beaumont, whose team is brought in to save lives when no one else can. Beaumont understands criminals better than they understand themselves and uses his insight into human behaviour to resolve the most difficult kidnap and ransom cases. Despite the stakes, Beaumont refuses to resort to violence, even when confronted by some of the world's most dangerous criminals. Ransom was VOX Germany's highest rated drama premiere for over 15 months and France's TF1 premiere reached over 4 million viewers for a market share of 25%. The show ran for three seasons.
In 2012, Spotnitz created, wrote and executive produced the international spy drama series Hunted for BBC1 and HBO/Cinemax, starring Melissa George, Adam Rayner, Stephen Dillane and Patrick Malahide. The series follows Sam Hunter, an operative for a private spy agency, Byzantium. After she is betrayed and nearly killed by one of her colleagues, Sam returns to London in an attempt to root out the traitor, while working undercover in the home of a wealthy and dangerous London gangster on an assignment that could cost her life. The series was BAFTA nominated for cinematography and won the ASC Award. It was also nominated for Best Editing by the Royal Television Society.
Spotnitz served on The X-Files for eight of its nine seasons after joining the show in 1994. He called it "a life-changing experience", graduating from staff writer to executive producer after three seasons. He directed two episodes and wrote or co-wrote more than 40 instalments of the series, including the Emmy-nominated "Memento Mori" with Chris Carter, Vince Gilligan and John Shiban in 1997. He served for four years as executive producer and three years as president of Carter's Ten Thirteen Productions. He was a producer and co-writer of both The X-Files feature films, Fight the Future (1998) and I Want to Believe (2008). Spotnitz shares three Golden Globes for Best Dramatic Series and a Peabody Award for his work on The X-Files. He was also nominated for an Emmy Award for writing and three times for Outstanding Drama Series.
Spotnitz's additional writing and producing credits include: counter-terrorism drama series Strike Back (HBO/Cinemax, Sky); action series Transporter: The Series (TNT); ABC's mystery series Night Stalker (ABC), starring Stuart Townsend and Gabrielle Union; Michael Mann’s crime series Robbery Homicide Division (CBS); unconventional heroes comedy-drama The Lone Gunmen (Fox); sci-fi drama Harsh Realm (Fox); and crime thriller Millennium (Fox).
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Spotnitz adopted the writers' room process from his experience in the US, which he brought to the UK when he founded Big Light Productions. He cards the story scene by scene on a corkboard, with one board for each episode. Spotnitz favours carding in order to better analyse the story and to enable better collaboration. He always asks: why do I care about this story? Why do I care about this character? And aims to draw in the audience early on.
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Spotnitz lives with his family in Paris and divides his time between Big Light’s London and Paris offices.
Spotnitz shared his feeling in an interview about his show The Man in the High Castle: "Frank is the closest to me in the TV series, because my father's Jewish, my mother's not. I don't identify as Jewish in a religious way. I'm not a religious person, and yet if you were living in a Nazi state, that would be no defense. Jews don't get to decide if they're Jews. That's really terrifying to me."
Works and publications
TV Outside the Box: Trailblazing in the Digital Television Revolution, Neil Landau (2015)
Dalla parte di John Fante, by Giovanna Di Lello and Toni Ricciardi (Rome: Carocci 2020)
- Leonardo (2020)
- Medici (2016–2019)
- Ransom (2017–2019)
- The Indian Detective (2017)
- The Man in the High Castle (2015–2019)
- Crossing Lines (2015)
- Transporter: The Series (2014)
- Hunted (2012)
- Strike Back: Project Dawn (2011)
- Samurai Girl (2008)
- The X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008)
- A.M.P.E.D. (2007)
- Night Stalker (2005–2006)
- Robbery Homicide Division (2002–2003)
- The Lone Gunmen (2001)
- Harsh Realm (1999)
- The X-Files: Fight the Future (1998)
- Inside the X-Files (1998)
- The X-Files (1996–2002)
- Millennium (1996)
The X-Files credits
|No.overall||No. of season||No. in
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Prod.code||US viewers
|41||2||17||"End Game"||Rob Bowman||Frank Spotnitz||February 17, 1995||2X17||17.5|
|48||2||24||"Our Town"||Rob Bowman||Frank Spotnitz||May 12, 1995||2X24||14.5|
|58||3||9||"Nisei"||David Nutter||Chris Carter & Howard Gordon & Frank Spotnitz||November 24, 1995||3X09||16.36|
|59||3||10||"731"||Rob Bowman||Frank Spotnitz||December 1, 1995||3X10||17.68|
|64||3||15||"Piper Maru"||Rob Bowman||Frank Spotnitz & Chris Carter||February 9, 1996||3X15||16.44|
|65||3||16||"Apocrypha"||Kim Manners||Frank Spotnitz & Chris Carter||February 16, 1996||3X16||16.71|
|81||4||8||"Tunguska"||Kim Manners||Frank Spotnitz & Chris Carter||November 24, 1996||4X09||18.85|
|82||4||9||"Terma"||Rob Bowman||Frank Spotnitz & Chris Carter||December 1, 1996||4X10||17.34|
|85||4||12||"Leonard Betts"||Kim Manners||Vince Gilligan & John Shiban & Frank Spotnitz||January 26, 1997||4X14||29.15|
|87||4||14||"Memento Mori"||Rob Bowman||Chris Carter & Vince Gilligan & John Shiban & Frank Spotnitz||February 9, 1997||4X15||19.10|
|90||4||17||"Tempus Fugit"||Rob Bowman||Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz||March 16, 1997||4X17||18.85|
|91||4||18||"Max"||Kim Manners||Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz||March 23, 1997||4X18||18.34|
|94||4||21||"Zero Sum"||Kim Manners||Howard Gordon & Frank Spotnitz||April 27, 1997||4X21||18.60|
|101||5||4||"Detour"||Brett Dowler||Frank Spotnitz||November 23, 1997||5X04||22.88|
|103||5||6||"Christmas Carol"||Peter Markle||Vince Gilligan & John Shiban & Frank Spotnitz||December 7, 1997||5X05||20.91|
|104||5||7||"Emily"||Kim Manners||Vince Gilligan & John Shiban & Frank Spotnitz||December 14, 1997||5X07||20.94|
|110||5||13||"Patient X"||Kim Manners||Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz||March 1, 1998||5X13||20.21|
|111||5||14||"The Red and the Black"||Chris Carter||Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz||March 8, 1998||5X14||19.98|
|112||5||15||"Travelers"||William A. Graham||John Shiban & Frank Spotnitz||March 29, 1998||5X15||15.06|
|114||5||17||"All Souls"||Allen Coulter||Story by : Billy Brown & Dan Angel
Teleplay by : Frank Spotnitz & John Shiban
|April 26, 1998||5X17||13.44|
|121||6||4||"Dreamland"||Kim Manners||Vince Gilligan & John Shiban & Frank Spotnitz||November 29, 1998||6ABX04||17.48|
|122||6||5||"Dreamland II"||Michael Watkins||Vince Gilligan & John Shiban & Frank Spotnitz||December 6, 1998||6ABX05||17.01|
|128||6||11||"Two Fathers"||Kim Manners||Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz||February 7, 1999||6ABX11||18.81|
|129||6||12||"One Son"||Rob Bowman||Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz||February 14, 1999||6ABX12||16.57|
|135||6||18||"Milagro"||Kim Manners||Story by : John Shiban & Frank Spotnitz
Teleplay by : Chris Carter
|April 18, 1999||6ABX18||15.2|
|138||6||21||"Field Trip"||Kim Manners||Story by : Frank Spotnitz
Teleplay by : John Shiban & Vince Gilligan
|May 9, 1999||6ABX21||15.38|
|139||6||22||"Biogenesis"||Rob Bowman||Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz||May 16, 1999||6ABX22||15.86|
|143||7||4||"Millennium"||Thomas J. Wright||Vince Gilligan & Frank Spotnitz||November 28, 1999||7ABX05||15.09|
|147||7||8||"The Amazing Maleeni"||Thomas J. Wright||Vince Gilligan & John Shiban & Frank Spotnitz||January 16, 2000||7ABX08||16.18|
|149||7||10||"Sein und Zeit"||Michael Watkins||Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz||February 6, 2000||7ABX10||13.95|
|150||7||11||"Closure"||Kim Manners||Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz||February 13, 2000||7ABX11||15.35|
|153||7||14||"Theef"||Kim Manners||Vince Gilligan & John Shiban & Frank Spotnitz||March 12, 2000||7ABX14||11.91|
|168||8||7||"Via Negativa"||Tony Wharmby||Frank Spotnitz||December 17, 2000||8ABX07||12.37|
|172||8||11||"The Gift"||Kim Manners||Frank Spotnitz||February 4, 2001||8ABX11||14.6|
|173||8||12||"Medusa"||Richard Compton||Frank Spotnitz||February 11, 2001||8ABX13||13.8|
|174||8||13||"Per Manum"||Kim Manners||Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz||February 18, 2001||8ABX08||16.0|
|175||8||14||"This Is Not Happening"||Kim Manners||Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz||February 25, 2001||8ABX14||16.9|
|176||8||15||"Deadalive"||Tony Wharmby||Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz||April 1, 2001||8ABX15||12.4|
|177||8||16||"Three Words"||Tony Wharmby||Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz||April 8, 2001||8ABX18||N/A|
|180||8||19||"Alone"||Frank Spotnitz||Frank Spotnitz||May 6, 2001||8ABX19||12.7|
|183||9||1||"Nothing Important Happened Today"||Kim Manners||Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz||November 11, 2001||9ABX01||10.6|
|184||9||2||"Nothing Important Happened Today II"||Tony Wharmby||Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz||November 18, 2001||9ABX02||9.4|
|185||9||3||"Dæmonicus"||Frank Spotnitz||Frank Spotnitz||December 2, 2001||9ABX03||8.7|
|188||9||6||"Trust No 1"||Tony Wharmby||Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz||January 6, 2002||9ABX08||8.4|
|191||9||9||"Provenance"||Kim Manners||Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz||March 3, 2002||9ABX10||9.7|
|192||9||10||"Providence"||Chris Carter||Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz||March 10, 2002||9ABX11||8.4|
|197||9||15||"Jump the Shark"||Cliff Bole||Vince Gilligan & John Shiban & Frank Spotnitz||April 21, 2002||9ABX15||8.6|
|198||9||16||"William"||David Duchovny||Story by : David Duchovny & Frank Spotnitz & Chris Carter
Teleplay by : Chris Carter
|April 28, 2002||9ABX17||9.3|
- "Frank Spotnitz interview: The Man In The High Castle". Den of Geek. November 19, 2015. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
- AlloCine. "Frank Spotnitz". AlloCiné. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
- "High Castle Scores Nominations at the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards – Big Light Productions". www.biglight.com. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
- VanDerWerff, Emily Todd (December 8, 2015). "The Man in the High Castle's showrunner answers your questions about the Amazon hit". Vox.
- Fallon, Kevin (November 27, 2015). "'The Man in the High Castle' Creator Frank Spotnitz on Making Amazon's Hit Drama" – via www.thedailybeast.com.
- "'The Man in the High Castle' EP talks series' 'chilling' themes (plus: see two exclusive photos)". EW.com.
- "Frank Spotnitz | About". Frank Spotnitz | Official. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
- "Frank Spotnitz". KCRW. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
- Wagmeister, Elizabeth (December 21, 2015). "'The Man in the High Castle' Becomes Amazon's Most-Streamed Original Series". Variety. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
- "Frank Spotnitz Talks Man in the High Castle, Phillip K. Dick". Den of Geek. November 19, 2015. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
- "The Man in the High Castle Named One of 2015's Best Shows – Big Light Productions". www.biglight.com. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
- "Leonardo: writing underway on new Frank Spotnitz drama". Den of Geek. January 22, 2019. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
- Vivarelli, Nick (December 7, 2018). "Frank Spotnitz and Steve Thompson on the Challenges Posed by Enigmatic 'Leonardo'". Variety. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
- Kanter, Jake (April 15, 2020). "First Look At Aidan Turner As Leonardo Da Vinci In Frank Spotnitz Series 'Leonardo'". Deadline. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
- "Dustin Hoffman to head up new Medici family TV drama". The Guardian. Agence France-Presse. April 4, 2016. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
- Hopewell, John (April 4, 2016). "MipTV: Frank Spotnitz Talks 'Medici: Masters of Florence' With Dustin Hoffman, Richard Madden (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
- Friedlander, Whitney (September 24, 2015). "Dustin Hoffman, Richard Madden to Star in TV Drama About Italy's Medici Family". Variety. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
- Vivarelli, Nick (November 16, 2016). "Frank Spotnitz on Why 'Medici' Is a Megahit in Italy; U.K., U.S. Deals 'Imminent' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
- "'La La Land' Named Best Movie of the Year at Capri Hollywood Festival". Variety. January 2, 2017. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
- "Medici season 2: Frank Spotnitz interview 'the real history is too graphic even for television to show'". Den of Geek. January 24, 2019. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
- Clarke, Stewart (December 20, 2018). "First Look at Netflix's New Season of 'Medici': 'Blood Must Be Spilled'". Variety. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
- "eOne delivers Ransom around world". C21media. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
- DigitalCavalry (May 21, 2018). "Interview: Frank Spotnitz". The PC Principle. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
- Holloway, Daniel (November 30, 2016). "CBS Sets 'Ransom' for Saturdays, Schedules 'Doubt' and 'Training Day' Premieres". Variety. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
- Petski, Denise (July 16, 2018). "'Ransom' Renewed For Season 3 By Global & CBS". Deadline. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
- "Frank Spotnitz interview: Hunted, the BBC cancellation, The X-Files, and more..." Den of Geek. December 8, 2012. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
- "284. Interview: Frank Spotnitz (Producer of The X-Files)". acast. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
- "BBC - Frank Spotnitz - Writers Room". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
- "'Leonardo' creator Frank Spotnitz urges creative freedom and co-operation". TBI Vision. December 13, 2019. Retrieved April 23, 2020.