TV Writer Podcast 050 – Kyle Killen (Awake, Lone Star)

Four years ago, Kyle Killen faced an ultimatum from his pregnant wife: sell something, or call it quits on this “hobby.” Fast forward to the present: Kyle has sold two features that have gone into production and sold two pilots that have gone to series. One of those pilots is NBC’s Awake, which has wowed critics and audiences alike.


Kyle Killen was raised in a small Texas town but grew up loving movies. He moved to Los Angeles to attend USC film school, but after a series of odd jobs and internships didn’t pan out, he packed his bags and moved back to Texas.

Despite following one of his USC professors’ seemingly counterproductive advice to “quit writing if he could,” Kyle found he couldn’t shake the writing bug. Whenever he tried a new job, he ended up writing about it, and so decided to give Hollywood one more shot.

The only complication: Kyle’s wife was pregnant with twins, and gave him an ultimatum, to sell a script within the next nine months, or change careers to something more stable. Around nine months later, Kyla sold the critically acclaimed feature The Beaver, which ended up going into production with Jodie Foster as director, and starring Foster and Mel Gibson!

Kyle was on the map, and followed it up by selling the pilot Lone Star to Fox, who took it to series, but pulled the plug when the ratings didn’t pan out. They believed in his storytelling, however, and asked him to sign a 2-year overall deal and come up with a new series.

That series was Awake, which just launched Thursday nights on NBC. Critics are calling it the best pilot of this season! If you haven’t had a chance, watch the pilot online, and tune in on Thursday night for the exciting second episode.

Kyla also sold another feature, Scenic Route, which is currently in production.

Follow Kyle on Twitter: @killen8

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