Ed Egan knows the importance to having a niche as an executive producer. At one point in time, he looked at his resume and felt he had too much game show experience, and that he was seen as a specialist; however, he quickly realized that was just what he wanted to be. By focusing on the game show genre, he had become an expert, and one of the most experienced and in demand executive producers for game shows in the world. Having grown up watching the British classics throughout his childhood, he is happy to be working in a genre he is not only familiar with, but loves.
Some of Egan’s career highlights come from producing content that entertained his home country of Britain. Working with ITV, he helped create the show 1000 Heartbeats and he revived their iconic series Catchphrase, managing to bring in a whole new generation of fans. Another ITV fan favorite, Tipping Point, came to be with Egan’s help and influence, and it is still going strong today. Working in America, Egan worked with Producer Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Voice, The Apprentice) to bring the television game event 500 Questions to life.
Most recently, Egan has been tirelessly working to bring the upcoming NBC game show Genius Junior to screens around the world in March. Hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, the exciting new game show Genius Junior celebrates the brightest children in America. This one-hour competition series is the ultimate test of intelligence and endurance.
Twelve teams of the most incredible children in the country, ages 8 to 12, will take the stage to compete in a series of increasingly complex quizzes with the goal of being crowned Genius Junior.
The average adult relies on Google Maps to get them to their destination, their calculator for simple math problems and autocorrect for spelling errors. What if they had to memorize the entire U.S. highway system, do mind-bending math equations or spell incredibly complex words - backwards - all on their own? What if they had to do this against the clock? The talented Genius Junior cast members will tackle these and other challenging scenarios.
Over four rounds, with each round tougher than the last, teams of three will have to work together to beat the competition. Each episode's winning team will then get to take on The Cortex - the toughest test of smarts on the planet - to build up their prize fund. It's not enough to win a spelling bee, be a mathlete or even a memory champion. To win Genius Junior, you must be brilliant at everything.
“I like the fact we are highlighting smart children and celebrating them and their brilliance. The format I have helped devise is innovative and exciting and the team who have worked on it felt like it is a special project that deserves to be seen by a wide audience. The way we have structured the format means that we have healthy competition, but the teams support each other, and everyone has done brilliantly just to get on the show, so they are all success stories. The format works well to show off the amazing skills these children have, but it does it through the format of a gameshow, which adds the excitement of competition,” said Egan.
Another Executive Producer Mike Darnell was looking to build a team for his show with Warner Bros. Having worked with Egan on 500 Questions with Mark Burnett, he knew he was just the man to take on the enormous task of creating a prime-time game show featuring children but with a target audience of the whole family.
In addition to helping develop the format of the show and many of the games that will be played in the series, Egan interviewed all the contestants. When NBC picked it up, a network he has always wanted to have a show with, he put together a strong, engaged and hard-working team who all work very well together and kept tweaking the show until they were able to achieve the perfect format for its debut 10 episodes. He has spent years developing the show and is extremely proud of what they have created.
“Working with Ed is delightful. He not only wants to foster a healthy communicative working relationship with his employees, he is proactive in creating personal relationships with us as well. This rare leadership trait resulted in the highest morale of any show I’ve worked on, despite its external stressors. He’s everything you’d want in an Executive Producer. In an industry fraught with problems to solve, Ed is brilliant at hearing both sides of an issue and diplomatically and efficiently finding the best solution. He gives honest and constructive criticism when necessary and protects his employees where other less honorable EPs may see an easy target for blame to land. It would be easy for an EP to sit in his office, collect his checks, charm executives, and rely on the worker bees to make him look good. But Ed is in constant communication with everyone involved on the show, a seemingly impossible task with a crew of 150. He knows the ins and outs and to dos of each department and gives each team individualized attention, so we feel like we’re the only team he’s dealing with. To say Ed is a true gem in our industry is an understatement,” said Chelsea Holeman, who works alongside Egan on Genius Junior.
With such a time-consuming process to ensure all the constituent parts and were tweaked and honed, achieving what they already have has been a highlight of Egan’s career. He believes audiences are in for a fantastic season, and it is something they are not use to to seeing before.
Undoubtedly, Egan has an esteemed career that have many looking to follow in his footsteps. For those looking to do so, he offers the follow advice:
“Employ a strong team. It’s very important to notice good off-screen talent as this is what makes a good show. Watch lots of television – it’s important to know what you like and what works well and it’s important to know what is on the schedules and what is doing well or not working and considering why that is,” he concluded.
Genius Junior premieres on Sunday March 18th at 9 p.m. on NBC.