Family Drama, Medical drama
1990 - 2000
Lance Gentile, doctor, medical consultant and writer-producer of television dramas the monument of which is ER. Lance Gentile perfectly symbolizes one of the most fascinating aspects of American TV production; work with those who have the best point of view on a given universe and entrust them in taking the big plunge.
Most people who have followed the series ER are familiar with the following story. Invited to an emergency room congress to speak about the series ER and about his job as technical consultant and Producer for the series, a doctor in the audience shouts out a big ‘thank you!’. He had been trying to explain for years to his children why he is never home and why he has missed out on so many crucial moments in his family life. With ER this doctor has found a way to explain his job. Thanks to ER and to the work of people like Lance Gentile who are the driving transmissions between the production and the medical field it is supposed to describe. One of the big strengths of American productions, is they do not hesitate to recruit consultants whom they then often urge to write under a supervising producer.
Born a New Yorker, Lance Gentile studies medicine at Cornell University but also in New York where he earns a degree in psychology and finishes his studies in Portland, Maine. After a brief career in a hospital emergency department, he decides to leave for California where he works in various establishments around Los Angeles.
In 1986, he resumes his studies but at USC movie School this time. It is there that he writes and makes his first movie, STAT, a movie account of his life as an emergency room doctor. The movie is shown throughout the documentary film festival.
His work earns him a certain amount of notoriety and he is recruited by the production of ER as technical adviser for the series’ pilot.
In 1993, he works on his first real fiction on order by HBO. State of Emergency, a fiction to which Lance Gentile brings his emergency physician know-how. His work earns him a certain amount of notoriety and he is recruited by the production of ER as technical adviser for the series’ pilot. It is then that he begins his writing and is named Executive Story Editor, a crucial position to manage the continuity of the stories and to varying the medical cases. During this first season, Lance Gentile enters television history by writing the episode “Love labor Lost” which secures ER in audience’s hearts. Dr. Green assists a patient while giving birth and at the end of the episode the patient dies. Major shock! The episode marks the entrance of the series into the “club” of big series. It is this episode that earns him an Emmy Award and a WGA Award.
Lance Gentile stays on for four seasons. The time has come for him to start producing. He remains technical consultant on all medical aspects and produces a second episode Shades of gray, two years after A Shift in the Night.
Gentile leaves to work on Providence, a series managed by John Masius where he will once again follow the fate of a doctor. In this particular case a famous surgeon gives up her fame and her job in L.A to return to Providence, her hometown. In 2001, he works with John Wells on a production called Third Watch as Consulting producer for the first two seasons. Next, he is producer on Dr Vegas and is medical consultant on the pilot of House. In 2008 he writes alongside Simon Fuller, Austin Golden Hour, a fascinating real-time pilot about an emergency department but the CW will not continue programming the show. In 2009, he assists in the creation of Three Rivers, a very ambitious series where the intrigues are seen from a triple point of view (doctors, patients, surgical team). Yet again the series does not manage to hang on in the inferno of American prime time.
For Lance Gentile, there will be other opportunities.
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