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Valpo native’s writing career heads for a ‘Holiday’ on NBC

GinFattore

Gina Fattore

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The Gina
Fattore
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Occupation: Writes comedy and drama for television; also works as an executive producer.

Early job: “The very first thing I ever wrote was an episode of ‘King of the Hill’ -- the animated show,” Fattore said. “So that was how I got my start as a writer.”

Notable work: Collaborated with creator of NBC’s “Mockingbird Lane” to develop story ideas for episodes of this new show that is a remake of “The Munsters,” a 1960s sitcom about an oddball family.

Hometown: Valparaiso

Current residence: Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles

Family background: “My parents both grew up in Gary,” Fattore said of her mom, Alena, and late father Leonard J. Fattore.

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Updated: December 24, 2012 6:18AM



Gina Fattore parlayed her talents as a wordsmith into impressive jobs in the entertainment world.

The Valparaiso native has pumped out scripts for popular television shows that include “King of the Hill, “Californication” and “Gilmore Girls.”

But it doesn’t stop there.

“I wrote somewhere around 20 different episodes of ‘Dawson’s Creek’ over the years,” Fattore, 44, said in a recent phone interview. “I always knew that I wanted to be a writer from the time I was about 10 years old, but it never occurred to me that I could be a TV writer. That was something that happened later, really through just a very funny coincidence ... .”

A bit of luck has indeed helped propel the 1986 graduate of Valparaiso High School, but she has certainly earned a long list of achievements, which now includes an exciting new project that involves development of a major-network series for NBC.

Called “Holiday,” the proposed drama is in the pilot-script stage, with an eye toward premiering next fall.

“It’s basically a show that’s going to be about a really big extended family, with lots of different members who live all over the country,” Fattore, a Los Angeles resident, said. “Every week we drop in on this family when they’re celebrating a different holiday.”

The idea is to gather characters at Christmas, Thanksgiving and even other celebratory times such as Mother’s Day and Mardi Gras.

Fattore, who is writing the inaugural script, and Dawn Parouse Olmstead will serve as executive producers of “Holiday,” which may not hit American television until the spring of 2014.

Olmstead, an executive producer for the Fox series “Prison Break,” expressed pleasure that she’s teaming up with Fattore on the “Holiday” project.

“She will have a script into NBC sometime before Christmas,” Olmstead said this fall. “I’ve always really admired her writing style. She’s an incredible storyteller with a lot of wit and heart at the same time, which is a rare combo.”

Having graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from Columbia University in New York City, Fattore got her big break in TV writing while living in the Big Apple.

“After I graduated from Columbia, I got a job working as a secretary, essentially, at the New York Public Library,” Fattore recalled. “I had an apartment in New York and I needed a job.”

Fattore happened to be working for the mother of Greg Daniels, a television writer with credits that include “Saturday Night Live” and “The Simpsons,” in addition to his efforts that created “The Office” — a hit NBC comedy.

“Greg’s mom said to me at one point: ‘My son in L.A. has a deal where he gets to hire an assistant, and I think you should move to L.A. and work for him.’ ”

The rest, as they say, is history.

“I worked for him for two years; that was how I got my foot in the door,” the former Valparaiso resident said.

Fattore’s mother — who still lives in Valparaiso — is drawn to the medium that enlists her daughter’s knack for the written word.

Such a career is made to order for mom.

“I think it’s just great because I’m a big TV fan,” Alena Fattore said.

She supplied quick opinions on series that bear her daughter’s writing stamp: “I love ‘Gilmore Girls.’ I love ‘Dawson’s Creek’ also. I’m not so crazy about ‘Californication.’ ”

With womanizing as as key theme, Showtime’s ‘Californication’ — which stars David Duchovny — delivers racy visuals and plots.

“It actually ended up being so much fun because, ultimately, it was a comedy,” said Fattore, who served as an executive producer of the show. “It was a really fun environment.”

She feels her Hollywood-style career sprouted from a good education base.

“I had a great experience at Valpo High School,” said Fattore, who points out that she “had so many wonderful teachers.”



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