Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon's Rising Stars

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Grads Hit Primetime

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A 2006 graduate of the College of Fine Arts, Jack Carpenter has already received the call many aspiring actors dream of: an NBC network executive asking if he'd be interested in starring in his very own sitcom pilot. 

"Lipshitz Saves the World" centers on the outcast Lipshitz (Carpenter), who discovers he's the one person who can save the world. The show also stars the legendary Leslie Nielson, of "The Naked Gun" series fame, who Carpenter reports is just as funny off screen as he is on.

Now it's a waiting process for Carpenter, as the show might be picked up mid-season or in fall 2007.  As always in show business, uncertainty exists. But the young actor credits Carnegie Mellon for giving him tools that helped pave the way to his early success.

"I chose Carnegie Mellon's School of Drama for several reasons," said Carpenter. "First and foremost, the school has a tremendous reputation for actor training. And there's a breadth of theater repertoire used in the school's classrooms and productions. The wide array includes traditional Irish plays, Shakespearean works and improvisation — with almost everything in between."

Television's fall line-up sparkles with other shows featuring Carnegie Mellon alumni. Actor Zachary Quinto (CFA '99) stars as the villain, Sylar, in NBC's new hit "Heroes." And another new NBC show, "Friday Night Lights," features recent alumnus Gaius Charles (CFA '05) playing a star high school football player.

I'm an actor, not a football player. I've never played the game," said Charles. But Charles also credits the school for his success, saying it gave him "the technique to do anything as an actor."

In addition, ABC's new sitcom, "Help Me Help You," features Ted Danson (CFA '72) as a brilliant therapist dealing with his own life challenges. NBC's series "Medium" has co-executive producer Javier Grillo-Marxuach (HS '91) adding another hit show to his resume. And Ming-Na (CFA '86) is starring as an FBI agent in FOX's new show "Vanished."

Related Links: College of Fine Arts: Drama  |  2006 Showcase Presentations