PETER ANTHONY ANDREWS: The Business of Entertainment
By Fern Gillespie
By Fern Gillespie
For over 40 years, entertainment industry powerhouse Peter Anthony Andrews, CEO of Paco Global, has not only broken racial barriers in corporate boardrooms, but has been a key executive behind hit television and film productions that are part of American pop culture.
For his impact, Andrews is the 2015 recipient of the Riant Theatre’s Pioneer of the Arts Award for Outstanding Achievement in Television and Entertainment.
During the 1970s and 1980s, Andrews, a Jamaica, Queens native, was a triple threat executive. He was Vice President of NBC Entertainment, Senior Vice President Columbia Pictures and Executive Vice President of MGM Studios, where he directed all network television production and distribution. These leadership roles ranked the Wharton business school graduate as the first African American in the entertainment industry to have the corporate power to green-light mainstream productions.
In 1971, fresh from Yale’s drama program, Andrews began his career with Harry Belafonte Enterprises in New York City as a writer/producer. His work with Belafonte evolved into developing the classic African American western film Buck and the Preacher starring Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte for Columbia Pictures. Later, he became a segment producer and writer for “An Evening with Belafonte and Poitier” on PBS and associate producer of The Making of Buck and the Preacher. At this time, he also served as associate producer of the national theatrical tour of To Be Young, Gifted and Black, Lorraine Hansberry's award winning play.
The 1970s was an early era in diversity and the television industry took notice of this talented, savvy business executive. He was hired by NBC and became the Vice President of NBC Entertainment. From 1973 – 1979, he oversaw a budget of $80 million ($320 million today) and was responsible for developing programming resulting in some of NBC’s legendary Emmy Award winning shows. Landmark television shows under Andrews’ administration included: Emergency, Adam 12, Police Story, Police Woman Columbo, McCloud, Banacek, Quincy, Ironside, Rockford Files, Chico and the Man, Chips, Little House on the Prairie, Shogun and many more.
During the 1970s, Andrews launched his advocacy on African American-oriented television, theatre and film. At NBC, he was the leading force behind the acclaimed television movie Sister, Sister, written by Maya Angelou starring Diahann Carroll, Rosalind Cash and Irene Cara. He was the producer of Love Is Not Enough, a Movie of the Week pilot with Bernie Casey that was directed by Ivan Dixon. By 1983, he was the co-creator, producer and writer of the NAACP Image Awards, the first two-hour special broadcast from the Hollywood Palladium hosted by Robert Guillaume, Lena Horne, Cicely Tyson, Jayne Kennedy, Mister T, Sugar Ray Leonard, Curtis Blow and Lou Gossett, Jr.under Paco Global, Andrew was the executive producer and director of Story of a People, a prime time syndicated Black History Month show hosted by Robert Guillaume.
Today, Andrews’ legacy in diversity continues as the founder and former director of the Warner Bros Women and Minority Writers Workshop. Established in 1976, it is the longest running and the most successful writers workshop in Hollywood.
From 2000 – 2010, at Paco Global, he developed a variety of television productions. Under Andrews, the company developed the CBS pilot The Sting Sisters, in association with Fred Weintraub. Andrews was the executive producer-writer of “Importance of Being Earnest; independent writer- producer of Are You Protected?, an one-hour PBS pilot. He was producer- writer of Art of Making Money, a two-hour documentary (home video) and expose on the two top wedding portrait photographers in the business. Andrews was producer-writer-director of World of Art Leather, a one half hour documentary on leading company in the world producing handmade wedding albums.
An education advocate, Andrews studied in the Master of Fine Arts’ Theatre Management program at Columbia University and was part of legendary novelist John Oliver Killens Writers Workshop. He has been an adjunct Professor of Drama at Yale University and the University of Southern California. Also, he’s been a guest lecturer at Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania and the University of Alberta in Edmonton Canada.
Andrews continues to represent major clients in finance, distribution, marketing and packaging content for global exploitation in all markets and media. He has worked as a producers rep and head of acquisitions for Ferretina Studios in Toronto, Canada, a leading producer of 3D-CGI animation. As an executive producer at Ferretina Studios, he’s worked on plans to complete and arrange worldwide theatrical exhibition for projects now in production and post production. In 2013, he was the creator, writer and producer of Guts and Glory, a syndicated television reality series about the San Antonio Talons football team. Andrews remains a founding partner to Sparkle Entertainment, a film and television production. For over 40 years, Andrews has utilized his business acumen and artistic expertise to develop entertainment programming that has made an imprint on American culture.
The event will also feature a screening of the Video Diaries Project, A Series of Short Films about the Artists in the Strawberry One-Act Festival. A reception will follow the Awards Presentation.
The Strawberry One-Act Festival will be at the TATO LAVIERA THEATRE, 240 East 123rd Street, NYC from August 5th through August 23, 2015. For tickets click here.
The Awards Ceremony & Performance for the Strawberry One-Act Festival will be on August 24, 2015 at 7:30pm at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway, NYC. For tickets go to www.symphonyspace.org