Ottawa Hills grad produces ‘Made in Hollywood’Written by Matt Liasse | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Ottawa Hills High School graduate Cleveland O’Neal III is busy with several projects. Three weekly television shows will premiere their new seasons soon from Connection III Entertainment Corp., of which he is founder and CEO.
One of his shows, “Made In Hollywood,” is a behind-the-scenes look at how new released movies were made. The show, which began in 2005, was created, written and executive produced by O’Neal and has featured stars like Angelina Jolie, Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Sandra Bullock and Johnny Depp.
O’Neal said the inspiration for the show was the entertainment media’s focus on controversy. Last week, outlets were discussing Miley Cyrus more than anything else, O’Neal said.
“Whatever it is, it generally has nothing to do with this week’s movie releases,” he said. “Gossip and tabloid have sort of overcome [the entertainment industry].”
O’Neal responded by making a series showing how movies are made. “Made In Hollywood” will begin its ninth season this week. It is available in more than 25 countries around the world.
“That’s been very exciting for us because of course American movies are global, and you really recognize that as you go around the world and watch international channels,” O’Neal said. “It’s just thrilling to us to see the brand grow globally and it’s thrilling to us to get out in the world and recognize how much the world appreciates American cinema.”
“Made In Hollywood” airs at 2 p.m. Saturdays on Toledo’s WT05 -TV (The CW) (12:30 p.m. Sundays on WKBD (The CW) Detroit).
A spin-off show, “Made In Hollywood: Teen Edition,” will begin its eighth nationally syndicated TV season on WUPW-TV (FOX) airing at 9:30 a.m. Saturdays (1 p.m. Saturdays on WKBD (the CW) Detroit), O’Neal said.
Another show, “Live Life and Win!”, will launch its third season on WT05 (the CW) airing at 1:30 p.m. Saturdays on WT05 (the CW) in Toledo (10:30 a.m. Saturdays on WJBK (FOX) in Detroit), according to a news release.
Together, the three shows are available in 107 million homes with a gross average audience of 5.5 million viewers, according to a news release.
“Live Life and Win!” is an informational weekly TV series with a goal to inspire young viewers with teen success stories. It includes segments focusing on the arts, school, sports, exercise, nutrition, health and wellness. O’Neal said he wanted to create after-school specials.
“Ironically, there are no after-school specials anymore. Once the Oprahs of the world and the Ellens of the world came, there was no more room for after-school specials,”he said.
O’Neal began Connection III Entertainment 15 years ago, writing a business plan while attending Boston University.
“As they say, ‘put it in writing, it happens,’” O’Neal said. Albeit, not overnight. He said he had plenty of day jobs along the way.
“We’ve come a long way but it wasn’t easy in the beginning.”
O’Neal’s company is an award-winning, Emmy-nominated multifaceted media company with licensees and sponsors including broadcast and cable networks (HBO, Lifetime, CBS, Starz, ABC Family), major studios (Lionsgate, NBC Universal) and local U.S. broadcast affiliates (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CW).
His local roots are still strong. O’Neal was the first African-American to graduate from Ottawa Hills High School. He was inducted into the Ottawa Hills Hall of Fame as part of the first group of honorees.
“It was indicative to the time period, I think,” O’Neal said. “At the time, we were one of the first families to attend the elementary school and the high school. We’re talking mid-’70s, so things were racially in the early stages of progression.”
Tags: ABC, ABC Family, African-American, Angelina Jolie, Boston University, CBS, Cleveland O'Neal III, CW, Denzel Washington, FOX, HBO, Johnny Depp, Lifetime, Lionsgate, Made in Hollywood, Miley Cyrus, NBC, NBC Universal, Oprah, Ottawa Hills High School, Sandra Bullock, Starz, Tom Hanks, WJBK (FOX), WKBD (The CW) Detroit, WT05-TV (The CW), WUPW-TV (FOX)