Kevin Bright, Founding Director, Emerson College Los Angeles (ELA)
Kevin Bright is the Founding Director of Emerson College Los Angeles and is one of the original executive producers behind the Emmy Award–winning television series Friends (1994–2004). An Emerson alumnus, Bright has been actively engaged with the College on many levels. For the last seven years he has taught a course on the Boston campus titled “Producing Pilots for Television.” The class focused on various formats including Variety, Sitcom, and Reality television.
While teaching at Emerson, Bright created and led a highly successful program that introduced economically disadvantaged Boston Public School students to television and film production. He taught them fundamentals from operating audio and video equipment to writing, producing, and directing. The goal of his program was to build a pipeline through which a more diverse student population would begin to consider careers in television and film production.
Bright has also been the faculty advisor for Emerson’s EVVY Awards. Modeled after professional television awards, the EVVYs has become the largest student-produced, multi-camera, live event in the nation and was honored with the 2013 College Television Award as well as the National Association of College Broadcasters Awards and two Telly Awards.
Bright graduated from Emerson College in 1976 and received an honorary degree in 2011. He has served on Emerson’s Board of Trustees and has been a generous benefactor to the College, including establishing the Bright Family Screening Room in the Paramount Center and a 4K screening room at Emerson College Los Angeles (ELA).
Outside of Emerson, Bright volunteers at the Perkins School for the Blind, where he developed a method of teaching film production to students who are visually impaired. His Perkins work was featured on a segment of NBC’s Rock Center. For the past four years, Bright has produced the annual fundraising gala for Perkins.
Early in Bright’s career, he produced numerous specials for Johnny Cash and David Copperfield. In 1986, he produced the Cable ACE Award-winning series The History of White People in America, as well as HBO specials starring Robin Williams, Harry Shearer, and Paul Shaffer. In 1989, he received his first Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series as supervising producer on Fox’s In Living Color. In 1992, Bright won a Cable ACE Award for Best Comedy Series as executive producer of Dream On.
Bright directed more than 50 episodes of Friends, including the season finale each year. The NBC series received the 2002 Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series as well as winning the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Comedy Series for 10 consecutive years.
Since being appointed Founding Director of ELA in July 2013, Bright has been focused on building dynamic new programs that will take full advantage of the many opportunities Emerson’s expanded presence in Los Angeles will provide.
Bright lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Claudia. They have twin sons, Justin and Zachary.