Joel Surnow

Joel Surnow
Born (1955-12-18) December 18, 1955
Detroit, Michigan, USA
Occupation Writer, producer, director
Spouse(s) Wendy (?-?)
Colleen Surnow (1989-present)
Children 5

Joel Surnow (born December 18, 1955) is an American television writer, producer and director

He is well known for being the co-creator of the action series La Femme Nikita and 24.

Life and career

Joel Surnow is of Jewish descent.[1] He was raised in Michigan, and later Los Angeles. Surnow attended the University of California, Berkeley for two years, and eventually graduated from UCLA film school in 1976.

Soon after graduation, he began writing for film; he then switched to television. His breakthrough came when he began writing for Miami Vice, in 1984. By the end of the year, Universal Studios, which owned the show, assigned Surnow to The Equalizer, as Supervising Producer, about a CIA officer turned vigilante.

He has five daughters, two from a previous marriage and three with his current wife.

Surnow was the co-creator and executive producer of the 1997–2001 television series La Femme Nikita, which was the top-rated drama on basic cable its first two seasons. In addition to being Supervising Producer and writing for The Equalizer and serving as executive story editor on the first season of Miami Vice, he has written scripts for a number of other TV series, including Nowhere Man and Wiseguy.

Following Le Femme Nikita, Surnow's most successful work was on the TV series 24, which he co-created and also executive produced with Robert Cochran. In 2006, 24 won Emmy awards for Outstanding Drama Series, accepted by Surnow and his fellow producers, including Robert Cochran, and Outstanding Lead Actor Kiefer Sutherland, who also won a Golden Globe. Surnow and Cochran had previously won an Emmy for 24 in 2002, for their writing of the series' pilot episode. Surnow quit his role as executive producer of the series on February 12, 2008.

Surnow also created The 1/2 Hour News Hour, a comedy show described by Surnow as "The Daily Show for conservatives."[2] The first episode aired on February 18, 2007, receiving poor reviews.[3] Although the initial ratings were very good,[4] subsequent ratings dropped dramatically. The show was cancelled six months later, after airing only seven episodes.,[5]

Joel made his directorial debut with Small Time, it was released by Freestyle Releasing on April 18th, 2014.[6]


  1. Michael Aushenker «Time’s on his Side»
  2. "Fox News Preps News Satire Show". Forbes. 2006-11-20. Archived from the original on 2006-11-25.
  3. 11 Most Disappointing TV Shows of the 2000s - 7.
  4. "1/2 Hour News Hour: 'Most Watched Program' On Cable News Sunday Night"
  5. "Half Hour News Hour Shelved"
  6. "Small Time". Freestyle Releasing.

External links

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