In a continuation of our T-V-CNJ feature, here are eight more alumni who are working in television.
In a continuation of our T-V-CNJ feature, here are eight more alumni who are working in television.
Mark Simon ’97, Researcher, ESPN
While Tomasulo brings the sports to a city, Simon finds the facts for sports fans nationwide, usually for Baseball Tonight.
For Simon, a 1997 journalism graduate and rabid New York Mets fan, “The bad days are very, very rare now…. My dream job is to be the play-by-play voice for the Knicks and the Mets,” he adds. “On a more realistic level, this is as good as it gets.”
In 1997, Simon interviewed to be a college basketball researcher at ESPN, but never heard back. Four years later, working as a sportswriter for The Times of Trenton, Simon was “getting antsy, and if there was a time I was going to get bigger, now was the time.”
Following the advice of a Times colleague, Simon asked ESPN’s baseball expert Jayson Stark who he would contact if he wanted to work for Baseball Tonight. That led to an e-mail address, which led to another, which eventually led to a new career.
Simon says he doesn’t consider what he does work; he reasons that he’d be doing the same thing at home watching TV. “There’s no reason for me not to work at ESPN; there’s every reason for me to be here.”
Tracy Warren ’87, Sports Broadcaster
Think of part-time jobs you’ve had. Good or bad, it’s very unlikely that they involved a trip to the Olympics.
Warren covered the United States’ softball team for NBC at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. “It was a great experience all the way around,” she says. “Your press pass got you into everything” and she saw Australia with her brother.
Formerly an award-winning sports anchor and reporter in Philadelphia and Grand Rapids, MI, Warren spends 20 to 25 weekends each year providing color commentary and play-by-play coverage for a variety of sports, usually on ESPN and Fox Sports Net.
The TV workload decreased when Warren entered law school at Notre Dame, earning her law degree in 1999. She is now an associate at Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek in San Diego, negotiating contracts for college coaches and counseling companies and universities on employment matters.
“Right now, I’m happy doing both,” says Warren, a 1987 broadcast communications graduate, as well as a hall-of-fame college softball player. “It’s been rewarding intellectually, from the travel, the people I meet.”
She credits her college days of balancing softball and classes for her current multi-tasking skills. “It’s time management, which goes all the way back to TCNJ.”
Tom Scharpling ’96, Executive Producer/Writer, Monk
The 1996 English graduate worked at a record store and as a freelance journalist before a series of fortunate events helped Scharpling become part of the hit mystery/comedy series.
“I knew the creator of the show [Andy Breckman] and was a fan of his radio show on WFMU,” says Scharpling, referring to the free form radio station. “I had co-written a screenplay with a friend of mine, and wanted to show it to someone with knowledge.”
Breckman liked the script. Later, when he was a feature screenwriter, Breckman hired Scharpling as his assistant. “That was my audition for my spot on Monk,” said Scharpling, who cites his freelance experience—“taking anything that people would pay me for”—as great preparation because “you’re not afraid to keep cranking.”
Away from Monk, Scharpling is one half of the cult hit The Best Show on WFMU (fans include Conan O’Brien), which consists “of what I think is funny and what I like to do.” When Monk finally ends, Scharpling has some projects in mind, including screenplay ideas and more stuff with Best Show partner Jon Wurster. “One of those things will happen, and that’ll be the next chapter of my career, hopefully,” he says.
Russ Terlecki ’92, president, Wideye Creative and Wideye Films
For introducing him to the chaotic, 24/7 showbiz world he loves—which features everything from writing and directing commercials to chasing finances and wrangling talent for films—Russ Terlecki can thank Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Nearly a decade ago, Terlecki, then a stockbroker, helped raise funds for a film starring the Academy Award-winning actor. The movie didn’t get made, but the experience convinced Terlecki to pursue his dreams of acting and filmmaking.
He left Wall Street in 2001, building innumerable entertainment connections through a party-planning business, while his financial background gave him funding savvy. Terlecki founded and is president of Wideye Creative, his New York City-based production company, about five years ago.
As for Hoffman, Terlecki says the actor “can’t believe what I’ve done in such a short period of time.” The self-made media multi-tasker enjoys the swirl of activity, but the married father of two wants to concentrate more on acting and directing once finances are more secure.
“With acting, it was such a breath of fresh air,” says the 1992 health and physical education graduate and two-sport star. “On Wall Street, you get so hardened. You almost lose your emotions, you don’t feel them anymore.” Acting, he says, allows you to reconnect: “It’s healing. It’s beautiful.”
Arlene Malinowski ’79, actress (CSI, The X-Files)
Always “an actor in my heart,” Malinowski didn’t take acting classes until attending UCLA, where she earned a doctorate in family education.
To make money between auditions, Malinowski started a consulting business, the success of which allowed her to work two days a month “and little by little, the acting and the writing and the directing came, so it slowly shifted,” she says.
She recently appeared in the TV movie Sweet Nothing in My Ear, which deals with a couple whose son is going deaf. Working on the film was “enormously humbling” to the1979 deaf education graduate whose parents were deaf.
Malinowski’s focus is now on an array of projects such as the July premiere of Aiming for Sainthood (her second in a trilogy of one-woman shows) and a bimonthly spoken-word salon, “SpeakEasy, SpeakHard,” in Chicago. Malinowski still considers herself “an actor, first and foremost” and loves working in television, calling it “a collaborative effort between artists.”
In a few years, Malinowski would like to return to Los Angeles to pursue more acting opportunities, though the future is wide open: “I’m ready for a larger arena,” she says, admitting, “And I don’t know what that means.”
Aalok Mehta, actor (Bones, Law & Order)
When Anurag Mehta cast the lead role in his movie American Chai, he looked no further than his brother, Aalok.
“I always wanted to act and this was my opportunity,” says Aalok Mehta, who after leaving TCNJ was a musician and songwriter. “I started studying at the Acting Studio in Philly…It was life-changing.”
The 2001 film, loosely based on the brothers’ observations about growing up in New Jersey, got theatrical distribution. The television work came afterwards, he says, including a lot of commercials. Aside from his TV work, Mehta appeared in Broadway’s Bombay Dreams and scored a couple of movies. Currently, he’s working on his second album (Mehta studied the sitar in India) and another screenplay with Anurag.
“I love both [acting and music] very much and they both inform each other,” says Mehta, who attended TCNJ from 1993–95. “I find my music is more personal now that I am an actor as I believe acting is the most personal of all the arts. They are both intoxicating. Art is art though, and I am truly blessed to do both.”
Mehta would like to return to Broadway so he could be close to home, but “in a straight play,” preferably a musical.
Tom McCarthy ’90, Play-by-play announcer for the Philadelphia Phillies
Sorry, Mets fans. Not only did you lose the National League East title to the Phillies last fall, you lost your play-by-play announcer to the “Fightin’ Phils” as well. Tom McCarthy ’90, who spent the last two seasons as a play-by-play announcer for the Mets on WFAN, returned to his roots this past winter as a member of the Phillies broadcasting team.
Tom, who was profiled in the summer 2006 issue of TCNJ Magazine, originally broadcast Phillies games from 2001 through the 2005 season before moving over to the Mets. In addition to doing play-by-play on radio, he hosted the Phillies’ pre- and post-game shows in his first stint with the club.
“I’m excited to be back in Philadelphia,” Tom said. “I enjoyed my two years with WFAN and the Mets. Both are first-class as are the Phillies. I’m looking forward to returning and can’t wait for spring training to get here.”
Tom has had an extensive broadcasting career: six seasons as the play-by-play announcer for the Trenton Thunder, a frequent host of national ESPN Radio shows, drive-time host on ESPN Radio 1680 AM and 920 AM, play-by-play on CN8 and College Sports Television (CSTV). He’s also broadcast Princeton University football and basketball, Rutgers University football, and St. Joseph’s University men’s and women’s basketball.
In 2002, he won the Achievement in Radio award for best sports reporting for the Phillies pre-game show. Two years later, he won the same award for best local sports coverage for his baseball play-by-play. Last January, he was honored with the Radio/TV Excellence Award from the New Jersey Sportswriters. In addition, he won a Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award for his work on CN8 in 2000.
Gary Gellman, TV host
For Gary Gellman, the most exciting part about being a photographer/videographer and television show host is getting the opportunity to meet interesting and high-profile people. During the course of his career, he has worked with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Eli Manning, Yogi Berra, and more.
Gellman’s television show, Let’s Talk with Gary Gellman, is a public affairs program where he sits down to talk with various guests ranging from sports stars, to rock stars, to religious leaders. Currently seen in more than 150 communities throughout New Jersey and parts of Philadelphia, the program is in the works of adding New York City to its audience.
Gellman’s interest in broadcasting sparked at a young age, when he worked at a local TV station in Freehold at age 16. While at TCNJ, he took a television course and also interned at MY9 NY and NJN. After graduating, he decided to go into the business.
In addition to working in television, Gellman also runs Gellman Images, which provides photography and videography. It is one of the most sought-after “image-maker” companies in the Tri-State area, and has been featured nationally on the CBS Early Show as well as network television affiliates in New York, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, and Las Vegas and on The News 12 – Network and CN8.
Posted on May 21, 2008