|Born||Gregory Martin Daniels|
June 13, 1963
New York City, U.S.
|Alma mater||Harvard University|
|Relatives||Paul Lieberstein (brother-in-law) Warren Lieberstein (brother-in-law)|
Gregory Martin Daniels (born June 13, 1963) is an American screenwriter, television producer, and director. He has worked on several television series, including Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, adapted The Office for the United States, and co-created Parks and Recreation, and King of the Hill. Daniels attended Harvard University where he became friends and started writing with Conan O'Brien. His first writing credit was for Not Necessarily the News, before he was laid off due to budget cuts. He eventually became a writer for two long-running series: Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons.
He joined the writing staff of The Simpsons during the fifth season, and he wrote several classic episodes including "Lisa's Wedding", "Bart Sells His Soul", and "22 Short Films About Springfield". He left the series in order to co-create another long-running animated series, King of the Hill, with Mike Judge. The series ran for thirteen years before it was cancelled in 2009. During the series run, he worked on several other series, including the American version of The Office and Parks and Recreation. In 2016, he was an executive producer on the TBS series People of Earth. As of 2020, Daniels and The Office alumnus Steve Carell co-created a new workplace comedy for Netflix titled Space Force with Carell starring in a main role, which premiered in May 2020.
Early life and work
Daniels is the son of Judy, who worked at the New York Public Library, and Aaron Daniels, who was president of ABC Radio Network. He has stated that he became interested in comedy by watching Monty Python's Flying Circus as a child, as well as reading books by humorist S.J. Perelman at age 11. His first joke was a Carnac the Magnificent joke for his father which was later used for The Office episode, "The Dundies".
Daniels attended Phillips Exeter Academy and then Harvard University where he wrote for the Harvard Lampoon with Conan O'Brien. After graduating in 1985, the two accepted jobs at Not Necessarily the News, but they were soon fired due to budget cuts.
Saturday Night Live
Daniels and O'Brien met Lorne Michaels in late 1987 and were given a three-week try-out in the Saturday Night Live writing staff. While on the staff, Daniels won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program. Daniels left the writing staff in 1990.
The Simpsons and King of the Hill (1993–2009)
Daniels joined the writing staff of The Simpsons in 1993. He was hired in the fifth season following the departures of many of the original team of writers. His first day also coincided with O'Brien's last day on the series.
When he initially joined the series, he believed the series had gone past the "glory years" and that he had "missed the boat." In the fifth season, Daniels penned "Homer and Apu", "Secrets of a Successful Marriage", and "The Devil and Homer Simpson" segment of "Treehouse of Horror IV".
Daniels received an Emmy nomination in the "Outstanding Individual Achievement in Music and Lyrics" category for the song "Who Needs The Kwik-E-Mart?" from "Homer and Apu". For season six, he wrote "Homer Badman", "Lisa's Wedding", and the "Time and Punishment" segment from "Treehouse of Horror V". The latter episode became the third of the series to win a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program. In the seventh season, Daniels wrote "Bart Sells His Soul," which was based on a childhood experience. His final credit for the series was for "22 Short Films About Springfield", which he served as supervising writer alongside show runner Josh Weinstein. They were given the responsibility of linking all the stories together.
Daniels left The Simpsons to work on King of the Hill alongside Mike Judge. Daniels rewrote the pilot script and created several important characters that did not appear in Judge's first draft (including Luanne and Cotton), as well as some characterization ideas (e.g., making Dale Gribble a conspiracy theorist).
Daniels also took the writers to Texas to do some research with reporter notebooks, a process he would use for The Office and Parks and Recreation. Judge was ultimately so pleased with Daniels' contributions that he chose to credit him as a co-creator, rather than give him the "developer" credit usually reserved for individuals brought on to a pilot written by someone else. During the fifth and sixth seasons, Judge and Daniels became less involved with the show. They eventually focused on the show again, although Daniels steadily became more involved with other projects.
The Office and Parks and Recreation (2005–2015)
In 2005, Daniels adapted the popular BBC mockumentary series The Office for American audiences. The series premiered to mixed reviews, so the writers worked to make it more "optimistic" and make the lead character, Michael Scott, more likable. The second season was significantly better received and it was named the second best TV series of 2006 by James Poniewozik, writing that "Producer Greg Daniels created not a copy but an interpretation that sends up distinctly American work conventions [...] with a tone that's more satiric and less mordant. [...] The new boss is different from the old boss, and that's fine by me." He gave the acceptance speech at the 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards when the American version of The Office won the award for Outstanding Comedy Series, and he received an award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series at the 59th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.
Following the success of The Office, Ben Silverman asked Daniels to create a spin-off for the series. After considering several ideas, Daniels and co-creator Michael Schur eventually decided that the series would not get a spin-off because Daniels and Schur "couldn't find the right fit." After Amy Poehler agreed to play the lead, they decided their new series would revolve around an optimistic female bureaucrat in small-town government. The premise of Parks and Recreation was partly inspired by the portrayal of local politics on the HBO drama series The Wire, as well as the renewed interest in and optimism about politics stemming from the 2008 United States presidential election. The series initially received mixed reviews, much like The Office in the first season, but after a re-approach to its format and tone, the later seasons received critical acclaim. For four years, he split his time between The Office and Parks and Rec, before eventually returning as full-time showrunner for The Office for its ninth and final season.
Subsequent projects (2012–present)
In 2011, Daniels made a deal with NBC to produce several series for Universal Television. He also developed the British series Friday Night Dinner for American audiences. The remake was picked up for a pilot, which was written by Daniels and directed by Ken Kwapis, and featured Allison Janney and Tony Shalhoub as the mother and father. The pilot was eventually not picked up for series. He also teamed with Mindy Kaling and Alan Yang to work on two different animated series for NBC and made a deal to executive produce a new pilot written by The Office writer Owen Ellickson and starring The Office cast member Craig Robinson. He served as director and executive producer on the TBS series People of Earth. In January 2019, Netflix announced that he would write and produce a new series called Space Force starring Steve Carell, who was the lead in Daniels' previous sitcom The Office. He created the Amazon original sci-fi series Upload which started streaming in May 2020.
Daniels met Susanne Dari Lieberstein while she was Lorne Michaels' assistant at Saturday Night Live. They eventually married and had four children: Maya, Haley, Charlotte and Owen. She is the sister of Paul Lieberstein, writer for King of the Hill and the replacement showrunner of The Office for Daniels. He was also the brother-in-law to The Office cast member Angela Kinsey until her divorce from The Office writer Warren Lieberstein in 2010.
Daniels' work has received mainly positive reception. Out of the six TV series that Daniels has worked on, four of them—Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, King of the Hill and The Office—were named among Time reviewer James Poniewozik's All Time 100 TV Shows. His work on The Simpsons has received acclaim from critics and fans. Two of his episodes, "Bart Sells His Soul" and "22 Short Films About Springfield," were listed among the show's creative team's top five favorite episodes in 2003. Series creator Matt Groening and executive producer James L. Brooks have named his episodes among their favorites. Other staff members and several critics have praised his work. His other animated series and his first credit as a creator, King of the Hill, has received positive reviews as well. IGN named it the 27th best animated television series, and the site mainly complimented the series for its subtle character humor.
His next television series, The Office, ranked as NBC's highest rated show for a majority of its run, according to the Nielsen ratings. The series has also been put on several top series lists by many publications including Time, BuddyTV, Metacritic, The Washington Post, and Paste. His writing credits for the series are often considered the best of the series. Despite its early acclaim, later seasons have received criticism for a dip in quality, notably after Daniels was less involved. Daniels' next series, Parks and Recreation, has been called "the smartest comedy on TV" by Entertainment Weekly.
Daniels has received several awards and nominations. He has been nominated for twenty Emmys and has won four. Those wins are for: Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program for his work on Saturday Night Live, Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program for the Simpsons episode, "Lisa's Wedding," Outstanding Comedy Series for The Office and Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for "Gay Witch Hunt" from The Office. Daniels was also awarded Austin Film Festival's Outstanding Television Writer Award in 2008.
|1985–1987||Not Necessarily the News||Writer, 8 episodes|
|1987–1988||The Wilton North Report||Writer, 21 episodes|
|1987–1990||Saturday Night Live||Writer, 53 episodes|
|1992||Seinfeld||Writer, 1 episode|
|1993–1998||The Simpsons||Co-executive producer, producer, co-producer and writer, 76 episodes|
|1997–2010||King of the Hill||Co-creator, executive producer and writer|
|2005–2013||The Office||Developer, showrunner, executive producer, director, and writer, 188 episodes|
|2009–2015||Parks and Recreation||Co-creator, executive producer, director, and writer|
|2013||The Mindy Project||Director, 1 episode|
|Hello Ladies||Director, 1 episode|
|2016–2017||People of Earth||Executive producer and director|
|2020||A Parks and Recreation Special||Co-creator and executive producer|
|2020–present||Upload||Creator, executive producer, and director|
|2020–present||Space Force||Co-creator and executive producer|
- "Susanne Dari Lieberstein Is Engaged". New York Times. June 23, 1991.
- Martin, Denise (November 18, 2009). "Making bureaucracy work: How NBC's "Parks and Recreation" overcame bad buzz". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California. Retrieved December 6, 2009.
- "Writing 'The Office'". Fresh Air. NPR. November 2, 2006. Retrieved December 26, 2011.
- Stated on Inside the Actors Studio by Conan O'Brien, 2009
- "Primetime Emmy Awards Advanced Search". Emmys.org. Archived from the original on April 3, 2009. Retrieved April 6, 2008.
- Mirkin, David (2004). The Simpsons season 5 DVD commentary for the episode "Burns' Heir" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Rabin, Nathan (August 30, 2006). "Conan O'Brien | TV | Interview". The A.V. Club. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
- Siegel, Robert; Block, Melissa (February 17, 2012). "After 23 Years, 'Simpsons' Hits 500th Episode". NPR. Retrieved February 19, 2012.
- Weinstein, Josh (2005). The Simpsons season 7 DVD commentary for the episode "Bart Sells His Soul" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Reardon, Jim (2006). The Simpsons The Complete Seventh Season DVD commentary for the episode "22 Short Films About Springfield" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- "Milestone: 'King of the Hill'". hollywoodreporter.com. May 11, 2006. Archived from the original on October 8, 2007. Retrieved March 30, 2009.
- Weinman, Jaime (October 31, 2008). "A Brief History of King of the Hill". macleans.ca. Retrieved March 30, 2009.
- "Greg Daniels, Part II: Long Skinny Notebooks, and The Five-To-One". heywriterboy.blogspot.com. June 21, 2007. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
- Wollaston, Sam. You just can't get the staff. Guardian Unlimited, June 15, 2005. Retrieved on April 12, 2008.
- Timms, Dominic. U.S. version of The Office scores ratings victory. Guardian Unlimited, March 29, 2005. Retrieved on April 12, 2008.
- Novak, B.J. (Writer). 2006. "The Dundies" [Commentary track], The Office Season Two (US/NBC Version) [DVD], Los Angeles, CA: Universal.
- Poniewozik, James. "Best of 2005: Television." Time, December 6, 2005. Retrieved on April 12, 2008.
- Greg Daniels Archived June 29, 2008, at the Wayback Machine NBC, retrieved January 29, 2008
- The 58th Primetime Emmy Awards and Creative Arts Emmys Nominations Archived November 2, 2012, at the Wayback Machine The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, retrieved June 22, 2008
- Leitch, Will (April 5, 2009). "The Poehler Effect". New York. Archived from the original on April 13, 2012. Retrieved January 1, 2010.
- Itzkoff, Dave (March 26, 2009). "It's Not 'The Office.' The Boss Is a Woman". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 11, 2012. Retrieved April 11, 2009.
- Martin, Denise (November 18, 2009). "Making bureaucracy work: How NBC's "Parks and Recreation" overcame bad buzz". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on February 7, 2011. Retrieved December 6, 2009.
- Ausiello, Michael (October 25, 2009). "Fall's best and worst: "Modern Family," "Parks and Recreation," "90210," "SNL," and more!". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on September 29, 2010. Retrieved January 1, 2010.
- Havrilesky, Heather (November 4, 2009). "When did "Parks and Recreation" get so funny?". Salon.com. Archived from the original on November 12, 2010. Retrieved January 1, 2010.
- Sepinwall, Alan (September 29, 2011). "How a Parks and Recreation pitch becomes a joke, part 1: Inside the writers room". HitFix. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
- Carter, Bill; Elliot, Stuart (May 14, 2012). "Comedies Lead the Way for the Next TV Season". The New York Times. Retrieved May 25, 2012.
- Weisman, Jon (July 5, 2012). "Greg Daniels and the future of 'The Office' - The Vote on Variety.com". Variety. Archived from the original on July 9, 2012. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
- Andreeva, Nellie (December 7, 2011). "Greg Daniels Teams With Mindy Kaling & Alan Yang For Animated Projects At NBC". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 24, 2011.
- Andreeva, Nellie (February 3, 2012). "Ken Kwapis Set To Direct NBC Pilot 'Friday Night Dinner', Reunites With Greg Daniels". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 4, 2012.
- Andreeva, Nellie (February 7, 2012). "Allison Janney & Tony Shalhoub To Star In Greg Daniels' NBC Pilot 'Friday Night Dinner'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
- The Ripple Effects of the Killed 2012 Pilots
- Gelman, Vlada (October 20, 2012). "Craig Robinson Cast in Greg Daniels Comedy Pilot". TVLine. Retrieved October 20, 2012.
- April 2020, Samuel Roberts 30. "Inside Upload, Amazon Prime's new sci-fi comedy from the creator of The Office". TechRadar. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
- The Girl Power success story of Susanne Daniels
- 2006 interview with Paul Lieberstein by Daniel Robert Epstein, at the SuicideGirls website
- Poniewozik, James (September 6, 2007). "All-TIME 100 TV Shows". TIME.com. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
- McMullen, Marion (April 19, 2003). "WEEKEND: WEEKEND TV: Woo-hoo! - 300 and not out — The Simpsons Creative Team's Top Five Episodes". Coventry Evening Telegraph. Retrieved April 2, 2009. (archived at Questia Online Library)
- Mayer, Cathy (April 19, 2003). "There's no business like Doh! business". The Birmingham Post. Retrieved April 2, 2009. (archived at Questia Online Library)
- Porter, Rick (Zap2it.com) (April 28, 2005). "Groening ponders the future of 'The Simpsons'". Southern Illinoisan. p. 7C.
- Brooks, James L. (2005). The Simpsons season 6 DVD commentary for the episode "Lisa's Wedding" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Oakes, Keily (July 30, 2004). "Voice of Bart Simpson steps into limelight". BBC. Retrieved April 4, 2009.
- Enwright, Patrick (July 31, 2007). "D'Oh! The top 10 'Simpsons' episodes ever". Today.com. Retrieved October 8, 2007.
- Snierson, Dan (March 24, 2006). "Best in D'oh". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 18, 2008.
- "IGN - 27. King of the Hill". IGN. Archived from the original on December 31, 2011. Retrieved December 28, 2011.
- White, Cindy (April 29, 2011). "The Office: "Goodbye, Michael" Review". IGN. Retrieved April 29, 2011.
- "The Office: Ratings for the 2011-12 TV Season". TV Series Finale. November 19, 2011. Retrieved November 27, 2011.
- Poniewozik, James (May 6, 2005). "The Office (American)". Time. Time Warner. Archived from the original on March 12, 2011.
- Poniewozik, James. Top 10 Returning TV Series. Time. Retrieved on April 12, 2008.
- "Top Ten Comedies on TV: #1 The Office". BuddyTV. December 3, 2006. Archived from the original on October 24, 2011. Retrieved November 7, 2011.
- "The Best TV Shows of 2009 ... and the Decade". Metacritic. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
- Struever, Hank (December 9, 2011). "Hank Stuever's 10 best (and 1 worst) TV shows of 2011". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 11, 2011.
- Jackson, Josh (April 29, 2010). "The 10 Best Sitcoms on TV Right Now". Paste. Retrieved November 29, 2011.
- McNutt, Myles (April 28, 2011). "Goodbye, Michael". The A.V. Club. Retrieved November 7, 2011.
- "The Office All-Time Fan Favorite Poll, 2011". OfficeTally. September 24, 2011. Retrieved November 7, 2011.
- BuddyTV. "BuddyTV Slideshow | TV's 50 Best Episodes of 2009". Buddytv.com. Retrieved December 14, 2011.
- McNutt, Myles (September 3, 2011). "Doomsday". The A.V. Club. Retrieved November 4, 2011.
- Sepinwall, Alan (September 10, 2011). "Review: The Office struggles to find its center post-Steve Carell". HitFix. Retrieved September 10, 2011.
- Paskin, Willa (December 5, 2011). "TV's Ten Most Annoying Characters - Vulture". New York. Retrieved December 7, 2011.
- Snierson, Dan (February 10, 2001). "This week's cover: 101 Reasons to Love 'Parks and Recreation'". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on May 29, 2011. Retrieved February 13, 2011.