Kenneth Johnson (filmmaker)

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Kenneth Johnson
Kenneth Culver Johnson

(1942-10-26) October 26, 1942 (age 81)
Alma materCarnegie Institute of Technology
  • Television producer
  • director
  • screenwriter
Years active1968–present
Bonnie Hollaway
(m. 1963; div. 1975)
Susan Appling
(m. 1977)

Kenneth Culver Johnson (born October 26, 1942) is an American screenwriter, producer and director. He is known as the creator of the V science fiction franchise as well as The Bionic Woman (1976–78), The Incredible Hulk series (1977–82), and the TV adaptation (1989) of Alien Nation. His creative efforts are almost entirely concentrated in the area of television science fiction.

Early life[edit]

A native of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Johnson is a graduate of the Carnegie Institute of Technology.[1]



His early TV work includes The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Woman and The Incredible Hulk. Johnson created the character of Jaime Sommers and The Bionic Woman, an American television series starring Lindsay Wagner that aired for three seasons between 1976 and 1978 as a spin-off from The Six Million Dollar Man.[1]


In 1983, he wrote and directed the original miniseries V, about an invasion of Earth by reptilian aliens, originally inspired by Sinclair Lewis' anti-fascist novel It Can't Happen Here (1935).[1] The miniseries aired on NBC, and a year later was followed by a sequel, V: The Final Battle, which Johnson briefly worked on before leaving the project due to disagreements with the network. Johnson was subsequently credited as a co-writer of the sequel miniseries under the pseudonym Lillian Weezer, and was not involved at all in the weekly V television series that followed.

He directed Short Circuit 2 in 1988.

In 1989, he produced the television series Alien Nation based on the 1988 film of the same name.


He wrote and directed 1994 Baker Street: Sherlock Holmes Returns in 1993, an American television movie about the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, that stars Anthony Higgins as Holmes.

He wrote and directed five TV movies that served as spin-offs to his Alien Nation series. They were: Alien Nation: Dark Horizon (1994), Alien Nation: Body and Soul (1995), Alien Nation: Millennium (1996), Alien Nation: The Enemy Within (1996), and Alien Nation: The Udara Legacy (1997).

In 1997, he wrote and directed the movie Steel, based on the DC comic book character Steel. It featured basketball player Shaquille O'Neal as John Henry Irons, the character's alter-ego. The film was a financial and critical failure.

He directed the 1999 Disney Channel Original Movie Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century, starring Kirsten Storms as the eponymous heroine.[2] The film was based on the book Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century written by Marilyn Sadler and Roger Bollen.

In 1999 he also directed Don't Look Under the Bed, a Disney Channel Original Movie.


In 2006, Johnson announced his completion of a four-hour script for a new V mini series called V: The Second Generation. The storyline takes place 20 years after the original 1983 mini-series, ignoring the second mini-series (V: The Final Battle) and subsequent weekly television series. However, NBC told Johnson that they were more interested in a remake of the original V mini-series instead, which, if successful, might lead to his proposed sequel.

Since then, Johnson adapted his screenplay for V: The Second Generation into a novel. It was published by Tor Books and released on February 5, 2008. However, since his discussions with NBC, Warner Bros (who hold the television rights to the V franchise) have opted to produce a remake of V (written by Scott Peters) for the ABC Network, thus ending any prospect of Johnson's sequel being produced for television.

In April 2008, Johnson stated his intention to remake the original V mini-series and his new sequel V: The Second Generation into feature films. Johnson claimed to have been in discussions with producers interested in the project. Since this statement, Johnson's potential film production has not been developed further, although talks with potential backers are still ongoing.[citation needed] The Warner Bros. television remake for ABC premiered on November 3, 2009. It was canceled in 2011, after two seasons, due to low ratings.


In 2017, Johnson published the novel The Man of Legends.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Johnson married Bonnie Hollaway on February 2, 1963; the couple had three children and divorced in 1975. On June 19, 1977 (the day after completing filming of the pilot movie of The Incredible Hulk series), he married Susan Appling; they have one child.[1]


Year Title Director Writer Producer Creator Notes
1969 Alan King and His Buddy Yes TV film
1970 An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe Yes Yes Yes TV film
1973 Alan King Looks Back in Anger: A Review of 1972 Yes TV special
1973 Alan King in Las Vegas Yes Two-part TV special
1973 Adam-12 Yes Yes Wrote 2 episodes
Directed episode: "Training Division: The Rookie"
1973 Griff Yes Yes Wrote and directed episode: "The Framing of Billy the Kid"
1975–76 The Six Million Dollar Man Yes Yes Wrote 10 episodes
1976–78 The Bionic Woman Yes Yes Yes Yes Created 58 episodes
Wrote and directed 3 episodes
Wrote 7 episodes
1977–82 The Incredible Hulk Yes Yes Yes Yes Developed 80 episodes
Wrote and directed 4 episodes
Wrote 3 episodes
1979 Cliffhangers Yes Yes Yes Yes Developed 11 episodes
Wrote and directed episode:
"Chapter 2: The Silent Enemy/Chapter 3: Plunge Into Mystery/Chapter VI: Lifeblood"
Wrote 2 segments (in 2 episodes)
1980 Senior Trip Yes Yes Yes TV film
1983 V Yes Yes Yes Two-part mini-series
1984 V: The Final Battle Yes Yes Created and stories 3 episodes
1984 Hot Pursuit Yes Yes Yes Yes Created 11 episodes
Wrote and directed episode: "Pilot"
1984–85 V Yes 19 episodes
1985–86 Shadow Chasers Yes Yes Yes Yes Created - 14 episodes
Wrote and directed episode: "Pilot: Part 1"
1987 Disneyland Yes Yes Yes Episode: "The Liberators"
1988 Short Circuit 2 Yes Theatrical film
1989–97 Alien Nation Yes Yes Yes Yes Developed 22 episodes + 5 TV films
Wrote and directed episode: "Pilot" + Millennium (TV film)
Directed only 4 TV films (1, 2, 3, 4)


1993 1994 Baker Street: Sherlock Holmes Returns Yes Yes Yes TV film
1996 D3: The Mighty Ducks Yes Story
Theatrical film
1997 Steel Yes Yes Theatrical film
1999 Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century Yes TV film
1999 Don't Look Under the Bed Yes TV film
1999–2001 Seven Days Yes 10 episodes
2002–05 JAG Yes 11 episodes
2009 Easy Money Yes Episode: "BassMaster"
2009–11 V Yes Yes Created – 22 episodes (Warner Bros. sought to remove Johnson's "created by" status)
Story for episode: "Pilot"


  1. ^ a b c d Gwendolyn Shelton (January 16, 2017). "Kenneth Culver (Kenny) Johnson (1942–)". Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
  2. ^ "Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
  3. ^ "The Man of Legends". Archived from the original on April 18, 2019. Retrieved May 8, 2017.

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