During a career in film and television that spans more than 25 years, Keith Samples has been involved with the production and distribution of more than 20 feature films and dozens of television series.
A 1977 graduate of Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas (BA in journalism), Samples began his career working in the Texas Tech athletic department. He held positions as Assistant Sports Information Director, Sports Information Director, and Assistant Athletic Director before leaving Tech in 1981 to become Executive Vice-President of Sports Production, Inc., a Dallas based company that produced and distributed live sporting events. During his days at SPI, Samples produced more than 100 live sporting events, including games for NBC, CBS and TBS.
In 1985, Samples moved out of the sports world and accepted a position in Los Angeles as a Senior Vice-President at Lorimar-Telepictures, the producer of “Dallas”, “Falcon’s Crest”, “Knot’s Landing” and “The People’s Court”.
He became Executive VP of Domestic Television Distribution at Warner Bros. in 1987. During his tenure at Warner Bros., Samples managed a sales staff responsible for more than $1 billion in domestic program sales, including iconic hits “Murphy Brown” and “Full House”.
In 1991, Samples left Warner Bros. to form Rysher Entertainment, an independent production and distribution company that produced and/or distributed television series “Saved By The Bell”, “The Highlander”, “Nash Bridges” and “Robocop” among others. On the film side, Rysher produced or co-produced more than a dozen films, including “Kingpin”, “Primal Fear”, “The Evening Star”, “Private Parts”, and “Big Night”.
After selling Rysher Entertainment to Cox Communications in 1997, Samples embarked on a career as a producer/director. Since then, he has directed more than 70 episodes of prime-time television, and produced numerous films.
U.S. television directing credits include episodes of “The Practice”, “Homicide: Life on the Street”, “Oz”, “The O.C.”, “Dawson’s Creek”, “Felicity”, “Judging Amy”, and “Reba”. Canadian series include “Republic of Doyle”, “Mr. D”, “The Listener”, “Mr. Young”, and “Package Deal”. In 2012, he directed comedy pilots for both CTV (“Satisfaction”) and CBC (“Dr. Bob” aka “The Khouris”).
In 2011, Samples directed Academy Award winner Russell Crowe in his North American television debut, the third-season premier of the Canadian hit “Republic of Doyle”.
Samples’ additional feature producing credits include “Walking Tall” starring Dwayne Johnson (The Rock), “The Death & Life of Bobby Z” starring Lawrence Fishburne, Paul Walker and Olivia Wilde and “Election” with Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick. Samples won the coveted Independent Spirit Award in 1999 for producing “Election”.
Samples is a long-time member of The Directors Guild of America, The Writers Guild of America, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and The Directors Guild of Canada.
He is the proud father of four incredible kids: Ryan, Sheridan, Gavin and Colin.