Michael Harris (producer)

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Michael Harris
Born September 8, 1964
Dayton, OH, U.S.
Education University of Washington, Seattle
Title Owner/Principal Creative,
Baby Wild Films
Website http://www.babywildfilms.com

Michael Harris is a Seattle-based television producer and filmmaker. He has been a regular Contributing Producer for networks such as ABC News, NBC News, VH1 and MTV. Harris has also produced original content for Yahoo!, the largest internet company in the world,[1] including shooting, writing and editing search trends segments seen by an estimated 9.2 million people[2] each week on ABC World News Now and an additional 173 non-ABC stations throughout North America. As a multi-disciplined Digital Journalist, Harris is an 11-time Emmy Award-winner, with over 45 Emmy nominations in more than 15 different categories, including as Producer, Writer, Editor, Photographer, Director of a Live Production, Composer and On-Camera Host/Moderator.

He is also a well-known conservationist, and currently serves on the board of directors of Orca Conservancy, an all-volunteer organization that works to protect killer whales and their habitats. [3]


The seventh of 10 children, Harris' career dates back to working as a child actor and later producer for his family's advertising agency in his hometown of Dayton, Ohio, and in fact is third-generation show business—his mother, the former Barbara Rettig, won the Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts Show in 1953 and went on to work for CBS Television during the time that Edward R. Murrow was there. His grandfather was a bandleader and had his own radio program. His father Chris Harris is a former Sports Director for WHIO (AM) Radio (CBS Dayton) and was the longtime "Voice of the Flyers," play-by-play radio announcer for the University of Dayton men's basketball team. Chris Harris is also the first player from England to compete in the American NBA.[4]

He graduated with honors from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1987.[citation needed]


Harris' first television position in the Pacific Northwest was as Associate Producer for the Northwest Bureau of the MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour (PBS) in 1987, and went on to staff positions at KCTS Television (PBS Seattle), KING Television (NBC Seattle) and KOMO Television (ABC Seattle), but his most acclaimed work has come as an independent producer, editor and writer. Harris was Writer/Editor of "Popular Science With Dean Stockwell" (Discovery Channel/The Learning Channel), which went on to win a National Emmy Award and a Broadcast Designers Association Award for its open and title design, and International Monitor Awards for "Best Tape-Originated Series" and "Best Editing Team." The youth version of that series, "PopSci for Kids," was nominated for a Cable Ace Award for "Outstanding Youth Series or Special, Educational" and for several years was one of the highest-rated series on Discovery Channel Kids. Harris has gone on to produce award-winning science and wildlife series all over the world with such celebrities as Olivia Newton-John, Jean-Michel Cousteau, champion fighter/actor Bob "The Beast" Sapp and Nancy Wilson of the rock group, Heart.

Contributing network producer[edit]

Harris has covered a wide range of subject matter for his network television clients. Beginning in 2002 he was retained by ABC News as an on-camera wildlife specialist and producer, focusing on marine mammal issues. Since 2005 he has produced 25 HDTV "Weekend Windows" for ABC News Good Morning America, traveling to spectacular locations all over Alaska, Hawai'i, the Pacific Northwest, California, Arizona and Mexico, encountering wildlife such as humpback and gray whales, brown bears, Brooks Range wolves, sea otters, Porcupine caribou, even getting into the water with great white sharks. In the fall of 2010, Harris was the first U.S. network news producer to secure permission to shoot on "The Forbidden Island" of Ni'ihau.[5] For Viacom's VH1 and MTV, Harris has been hired to produce for such pop-culture programs as "The Week in Rock," "100 Most Shocking Moments in Rock," "100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders," "The Great Debate" and "Black to the Future." His exclusive music interviews have included Bob Dylan, Carlos Santana, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Sir Mix-a-Lot and 50 Cent. His other network clients have included NBC TODAY Show, CBS Evening News, HDNet's "Dan Rather Reports," ESPN's "Baseball Tonight" and "SportsCenter," and E! Entertainment's "True Hollywood Stories."

Independent films[edit]

The broadcast films of Michael Harris have covered diverse topics and have been seen by millions, and have garnered him numerous industry awards. His wildlife documentaries have brought viewers face-to-face with wild Borneo orangutans, killer whales, Steller sea lions, walruses, bald eagles, great blue herons, sea otters, the famed and friendly fauna of The Galapagos Islands, even the mysterious creatures living at the depths of his hometown Puget Sound. His groundbreaking treatment of the migratory farmworker issue through his half-hour film in 2002 entitled iSi Se Puede! Connecting Farmworker Communities won a Northwest Regional Emmy for "Outstanding Public Affairs Special" and an Emmy nomination for "Outstanding Photography, Program Length" (Kevin Ely).[1][6] Harris' diverse journalistic repertoire also includes indigenous issues—his feature documentary in 2008 called "The 3rd Trustee: Native Alaska & The Big Spill" won an Emmy Award for "Outstanding On-Air Host or Moderator" (Billy Frank Jr.)[2] and garnered an Emmy nomination for "Outstanding Photography" (Kevin Ely).[7] The film also was a co-recipient with the Berman Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Washington for a National Clinical Legal Association" Award of Excellence in a Public Interest Case or Project" for their combined efforts to provide legal assistance and help in photo-documenting the successful campaign of 187 tribes in Native Alaska to push the State and federal government to call on Exxon to fulfill its legal obligations toward the cleanup of Prince William Sound.[8] That special is a part of a broadcast/vocational series for national public television entitled THIS IS INDIAN COUNTRY. Harris also was nominated for an Emmy for "Outstanding Coverage of a Live Event (Non-News or Sports)" for his 2008 special, "High School Musical Awards!"[9] and again in 2009 for "High School Musical Awards!"[10] Also in 2009, Harris won an Emmy for "Dairyman Blues," his short investigative documentary on factory dairy farms in Eastern Washington, in the coveted category of "Outstanding Advanced Media -- News Programming."[11]

Professional affiliations[edit]

Harris serves on the Board of Governors of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS), Northwest Chapter. He also is a frequent guest teacher at high schools throughout the region, engaging students on the subject of television production. In a "Business Watch" profile in the Everett Herald, columnist James McCusker writes that "Michael has the energy, the talent and the diversity of interests an entrepreneur in this industry needs."[12]


Harris is currently on the board of directors of Orca Conservancy, an all-volunteer organization that was central in the rescue of a stranded orca at Dungeness Spit, WA in January 2002[13] and a month later would initiate the campaign and help raise the funds needed to save the orphaned orca Springer, the first-ever successful rescue and translocation of a wild orca back to its family. Springer's remarkable story would go on to captivate the world.[14] Harris's organization was also a Petitioner and later prevailing litigant in an historic U.S. District Court case that led in 2005 to the first-ever federal protection for the Southern Resident Community of orcas in Puget Sound under the Endangered Species Act.[15]

Harris has also served as Northwest Spokesperson for the Free Willy-Keiko Foundation and has lent his expertise to a number of other efforts, making him one of the most familiar wildlife advocates in the Pacific Northwest.[16] His non-broadcast, non-profit clients in past have included Paul G. Allen, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, cell phone pioneer Craig McCaw, Mel Brooks, Tony Award-winning Broadway Producer Margo Lion and Seattle's 5th Avenue Musical Theatre.


  1. ^ "Google Gains Ground on Yahoo for Most-Visited Web Properties," Brafton, February 21, 2011
  2. ^ Cision, December 2010
  3. ^ "About OC". Orca Conservancy. Retrieved 2014-04-08. 
  4. ^ "Forgotten Baller," Sunday Mail, January 11, 2004
  5. ^ "Weekend Window to Niihau, Hawaii's 'Forbidden Island'," ABCNews.com, October 1, 2010
  6. ^ The 39th Annual National Academy of Television Arts & Science Northwest Regional Emmy Awards Recipients List
  7. ^ The 45th Annual National Academy of Television Arts & Science Northwest Regional Emmy Awards Recipients List
  8. ^ Clinical Legal Association Award for Excellence in a Public Interest Case or Project
  9. ^ The 45th Annual National Academy of Television Arts & Science Northwest Regional Emmy Awards Recipients List
  10. ^ The 46th Annual National Academy of Television Arts & Science Northwest Regional Emmy Awards Recipients List
  11. ^ The 46th Annual National Academy of Television Arts & Science Northwest Regional Emmy Awards Recipients List
  12. ^ "Pink-Slip Day Turns Rosy for Entrepreneur," Everett Herald, June 1, 1992
  13. ^ "Whale Finally Towed to Safety; After Six Tries It Was Swimming Out to Open Ocean," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, January 6, 2002; "Extraordinary Efforts Save Stranded Whale," San Juan Islander, January 6, 2002
  14. ^ "Group May Try to Move Baby Whale," KING 5 News (NBC Seattle), March 6, 2002; "Group Offers to Move Orphaned Orca Back to Her Home Waters," KING 5 News (NBC Seattle), March 13, 2002; "Whale of a Tale," NBC Nightly News With Tom Brokaw, June 13, 2002; "We Are So Happy," KOMO 4 News (ABC Seattle), July 9, 2003; "Waters of Home Welcome Springer," Bremerton Sun, July 14, 2002; “Family Found," ABC World News Tonight With Peter Jennings, August 21, 2002
  15. ^ "Government Agrees to List Puget Sound Orcas as 'Endangered' Species," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, November 15, 2005
  16. ^ "Keiko Dies," KOMO 4 News (ABC Seattle), December 12, 2003

External links[edit]