Jim Tetlow

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William James Tetlow (born August 21, 1955), is a theatre consultant,[1] television and theatrical lighting designer based in San Diego, California. He has been the recipient of an Emmy Award, won in 1990 for Sesame Street, and two other nominations. He has been referred to as the guru[2] of entertainment systems design for his work on 29 ships for various brands of the Carnival Corporation cruise ship fleet.[3][4]


Born in 1955 Tetlow is a 1977 graduate of Carnegie Mellon with a BFA in Drama. After working for several years as a free-lance lighting designer, he was hired in 1981 by the renowned Imero Fiorentino Associates (IFA) in New York City. During his ten years at IFA he worked primarily in television including designing the lighting for specials for all of the major television networks. He also designed lighting for corporate projects and exhibits including the Spruce Goose airplane exhibit in Long Beach, California. and the AT&T exhibit at Epcot at Walt Disney World.

Tetlow graduated from Lakewood (Ohio) High School in 1973 and is a member of the LHS Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame.

In 1990, he left IFA and formed his own company, The Tetlow Company Inc., which provided lighting design for television, live shows, and special events. After expanding into the design of entertainment facilities, the name was changed to Nautilus Entertainment Design in 2000.


He is a member of the American Society of Theatre Consultants, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, International Photographers Guild#659, The Illuminating Engineering Society, The International Association of Lighting Designers and the American Society of Lighting Designers.


His awards include a 1990 Emmy Award for the lighting of Sesame Street; a 1987 Monitor Award for Courting, an original studio drama; and a 1985 Monitor Award for a music video with Jim Henson's Muppets. Additionally, he has received two other Emmy Award nominations and three other Monitor Award Nominations.


Theatre consultant[edit]

Tetlow has consulted on the theatres, lounges, and dance clubs for over 29 of the Carnival Cruise Lines ships. Included in his responsibilities are the designs for all audio and communications systems, show lighting systems, automated rigging and mechanical equipment including full-height fly lofts and integrated control systems in each ship’s showroom. Ships that have been part of the consulting services have include the HMS Queen Mary, the largest of the Cunard Fleet, P&O CruisesVentura, the largest cruise ship built for Britain, and the Carnival Splendor, the largest of all the Carnival Cruise Lines' ships.

Lighting design and direction[edit]

Live television credits[5] include the 1992 Democratic National Convention; the 1984, 1988 and 1996 Republican National Conventions, the Daytime Emmy Awards, the NBC Olympic Broadcast Center Olympics on NBC in Barcelona, Spain, the Miss America Pageant and seven years of the Miss Universe Pageant from locations around the world. Other television credits include such diverse productions as The Tonight Show; Sesame Street at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Radio City Christmas Spectacular; Life Magazine's 50th Anniversary Special; and the world premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Requiem, for the BBC and several Barbara Walters specials.

Live special events include the Hong Kong Handover Ceremony (Transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong) and the Macau Handover Ceremonies (Transfer of sovereignty of Macau), numerous Presidential Inaugural Balls, the 2000,[6] 2004,[7] 2008 and 2012 United States presidential election debates, the World University Games and the Singapore 25th Jubilee Spectacular”.

Tetlow has also worked extensively as a lighting designer on corporate videos and live theatrical productions for such clients as General Motors, Hewlett-Packard, Daimler-Chrysler, Mercedes Benz, Nissan, Porsche, Michelin, Polaroid, IBM, and an interactive live/video presentation with Mummenschanz for AT&T.

In Las Vegas, he has designed the lighting for "Night Dreams" at the Dunes Hotel, relighting of selected scenes in the “Folies Bergere”, and the 10-year run of "Enter the Night" at the Stardust Hotel. Similar projects include the production of “Beyond Belief” in Sun City, South Africa, and numerous productions onboard various ships for Carnival Cruise Lines.

Exhibit lighting designs include the entire General Motors exhibit at the 2007[8] and 2008 Detroit Auto Shows or NAIAS as well as the 2005 media event,[9] Hewlett Packard exhibits at CES and at ITU,[10] IBM and Apple exhibits at COMDEX, an AT&T exhibit at Epcot, and temporary exhibits for Porsche, Universal Pictures and Sony HDTV.

Production facility lighting[edit]

In 1993 and 1994, Tetlow consulted for Singapore Broadcasting Corporation, providing lighting training and design services for new studios and upgrading current facilities. For the United States Capitol, combined projects include feasibility studies for the redesign of both the architectural and television lighting of the United States Senate Chamber and the United States House of Representatives Chamber, and lighting consultation for the restoration and video upgrade for two Senate Hearing Rooms.

Architectural lighting[edit]

Architectural lighting design projects include both the interior and exterior lighting of the Silver Star Hotel & Casino in Philadelphia, Missouri, special architectural feature lighting on board the Holland America ship MS Rotterdam; and the Fountain of Angels in Carthage, Missouri.


  1. ^ Robert Cashill (September 1, 2007). "Redrawing the Blueprint, Live Design Magazine". 
  2. ^ Ellen Lampert-Gréaux (May 1, 2002). "A Q&A With Cruise Ship Guru Jim Tetlow, Live Design Magazine, Penton Media Inc.". 
  3. ^ "Carnival Glory, Lighting Academy". June 6, 2005. 
  4. ^ "Newborn Liberty, Lighting Academy". September 13, 2005. Archived from the original on July 23, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Jim Tetlow Filmography, The New York Times". Retrieved 2008-08-26. 
  6. ^ Shannon McMahon (October 11, 2000). "Both Parties Expect Gentler Debate, The Shawnee News-Star Online, The Associated Press". 
  7. ^ Shannon McMahon (October 13, 2004). "Events' Illumination Can Be Crucial, Local Expert Says, SignonSanDiego.com, San Diego Union-Tribune". 
  8. ^ "Nautilus Entertainment Design Lights GM, Live Design Magazine, Penton Media, Inc.". March 14, 2007. 
  9. ^ Michael S. Eddy (May 1, 2005). "Designed To Drive, Live Design Magazine, Penton Media, Inc.". 
  10. ^ "Nautilus Entertainment Design Lights Hewlett-Packard, L&S Online America". January 31, 2007. Archived from the original on February 4, 2009. 
  • Richard Cadena. “Automated Lighting”. Focal Press, 2006. Page 419.

External links[edit]