Todd Kessler is an award winning American film and television writer, producer and director. Among his credits are showrunner and co-creator of Nickelodeon's preschool series Blue's Clues and director and producer of the feature film "Keith." He also served as the director for the direct-to-video Gullah Gullah Island video, Binyah's Surprise, and the producer of Sing-Along With Binyah Binyah.
According to author Malcolm Gladwell, who wrote about Blue's Clues in his book The Tipping Point, Kessler worked for Sesame Workshop's "Sesame Street", but found traditional children's television too static and not visual enough. In 1993–94, Kessler, who was then a freelance producer for Nickelodeon, was assigned to work with Peter Schreck on his seminal interactive television experiments in the network's Orlando studio, developing concepts which were later incorporated into Blue's Clues. Kessler was the first creator involved with the show. Angela C. Santomero and Traci Paige Johnson were brought later on to complete the Blue's Clues team. Blue's Clues, according to Variety Magazine, was "at the forefront of a revolution in kids TV" and was crucial to the growth of Nickelodeon. The innovative and interactive format it created changed children's programming, including its most important influence Sesame Street, which changed its format in 2002 to be more interactive.
Kessler left Nickelodeon and Blue's Clues in 2000 after 75 episodes with Blue's Clue's original star, Steve Burns, but was credited as an executive producer throughout the show's run, as well as for all the show's spin-offs.
In 2008, Kessler acquired the teen romantic drama Keith, a movie adapted from a short story written by Ron Carlson. The film, which starred Jesse McCartney and Elisabeth Harnois, was Kessler's directorial debut. Kessler also produced and co-wrote (with David Zabel) the film, which "concerns a 17-year-old who thinks she's got it all figured out until she falls for a guy who has nothing to lose".
Awards and nominations Edit
As producer for Blue's Clues, Kessler received a Peabody Award, two Television Critics Association Awards in 1997–1998 and 1998–1999, several Parents' Choice Awards, and a New York Film Festival CINE Golden Eagle in 1996. He has also been nominated for six Emmys.
"Keith" won first place in the teenage sections of five international film festivals: Italy's Giffoni Film Festival (in the 15–19-year-old division); the Toronto International Film Festival for Children and Youth (their Students Choice Award, decided on by high school students); Sweden's BUFF International Film Festival for Youth and Children; Germany's SCHLINGEL International Film Festival and Quebec's Carrousel international du film de Rimouski.