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René Balcer

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  Summary  

René Balcer is a Canadian television writer, director and producer.

  Biography  

 early life
He was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and attended Lower Canada College in Montreal. He earned his B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Communication Studies from Concordia University in 1978. He began his career as a journalist, covering the Yom Kippur War as a cameraman. He later worked as a reporter and editor for various Canadian publications, and made documentary films for the National Film Board of Canada. In 1980, he moved to Los Angeles, where he collaborated with the cult film director Monte Hellman on a number of film projects. He later worked for a variety of notable film producers including Francis Coppola, Steve Tisch and Mace Neufeld. In 1990, he wrote his first television project for Steve Tisch, the MOW "Out On The Edge".

 career
He is most noted for his writing and production work for the television series Law & Order, and for creating its spin-off series Law & Order: Criminal Intent. He also wrote for the series Star Trek: The Next Generation, and has penned three made-for-television movies, one of which "Out On The Edge" won the American Psychological Association Award for best television program.''

Balcer won an Emmy in 1997 as Executive Producer of Law & Order. He has also won a Peabody Award, a Writers Guild of America Award, four Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America (three for his writing for Law & Order, and a fourth for Law & Order: Criminal Intent), two Silver Gavel Awards from the American Bar Association, a Career Award from the Reims International Television Festival, and a Career Angie Award from the International Mystery Writers Festival. In 2004, he was awarded the Alumnus of the Year from Concordia University. On November 17, 2008, he received an honorary Doctorate of Laws from Concordia at their fall convocation and delivered the Commencement Address. His work has been recognized outside the entertainment community: in 2004, he received a Maggie Award from Planned Parenthood for his Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode "The Third Horseman"; in 2010 he received the Champion of Justice award from the Washington, DC-based Alliance for Justice, for his work on the Law & Order episode "Memo from the Dark Side".

Balcer has received more unusual recognitions: in 2008, he was commissioned a Kentucky Colonel by Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear; In the Season Five episode of The Sopranos, "In Camelot", Chris's writing friend JT tells Chris that he has a meeting with Rene Balcer, explaining that Balcer is "Dick Wolf's right-hand man!"

In October 2009, Balcer came under attack by right-wing bloggers, notably by Andrew Breitbart's "Big Hollywood" blog, for his episode "Memo From the Dark Side" which took the Bush Administration to task over its "torture memos". Breitbart even enlisted former Law & Order actor Michael Moriarty who accused Balcer of being a Marxist agent provocateur. Three weeks later, those same blogs had to reverse course, when NBC aired "Dignity", a Balcer episode on abortion that conservatives conceded was even-handed. Though Balcer continues to be a favorite whipping boy of right-wing blogs and pundits, he is unfazed by the attacks, saying "What many of these critics fail to realize is that Law & Order has always been an equal-opportunity offender, and if a Democratic administration had implemented this despicable policy, our show would have taken them to task for it."

Balcer was showrunner for Law & Order: Criminal Intent through the fifth season. In March 2007, Balcer returned to Law & Order at the end of its 17th season as executive producer and head writer. He continued on as showrunner through the show's 20th and final season, writing and directing the show's series finale "Rubber Room", which the New York Times called the "best finale of all" that season's TV series. In June 2010, he was hired as showrunner of the newest Law & Order spinoff, Law & Order: Los Angeles.

Balcer is currently writing a four-hour miniseries about Los Angeles in the 1960s in conjunction with George Clooney's Smokehouse Productions and the A&E Network, and adapting Cormac McCarthy's Border Trilogy for Sony TV.

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  Sources

Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "René Balcer", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.