About Greg Daniels
Born in 1963, Daniels attended Harvard University, where he befriended future late night talk show host, Conan O'Brien. After graduation, both Daniels and O'Brien landed paid writing jobs on HBO's satirical take on network news, "Not Necessarily the News" (1983-1990). Starting in 1987, Daniels moved on again with O'Brien to become a staff writer for three seasons on "Saturday Night Live," winning an Emmy Award in 1989 for Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program. He left the show in 1990, moving instead to Los Angeles, where Daniels roomed with O'Brien, and began writing for "The Simpsons" at a time when his roommate was just leaving the series to replace David Letterman on NBC's "Late Night" franchise. Daniels stayed with "The Simpsons" for several seasons, penning such memorable seventh-season episodes as "22 Short Films about Springfield" and "Bart Sells His Soul." Daniels earned his second Emmy Award in 1995, winning for Outstanding Animated Program.
Daniels segued onto "Seinfeld," where he wrote the seminal third-season episode, "The Parking Space," where the gang roams a parking garage for an entire episode after having forgotten where they parked. Pairing up with writer Mike Judge, Daniels also co-created the long-running sleeper animated hit, "King of the Hill," a loose follow-up to Judge's "Beavis & Butt-head." Unlike their peers, however, Daniels and Judge turned the animated world on its head; they created worlds, cutaways and characters that could only be brought to life through drawings, and focused on portraying a world so realistic and rooted in character, that many speculated that "King of the Hill" could have worked just as well as a live-action show. Daniels and Judge did utilize one clear advantage of animation - all the characters remained blissfully frozen in age, a clear necessity, considering that the show was the second-longest running animated program aside from "The Simpsons." Daniels' stint as a producer on "King of the Hill" allowed him to collect a total of five more Emmy Awards for Outstanding Animated Program, a feat accomplished in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2002.
In 2000, Daniels produced the pilot for "Monsignor Martinez," a live-action spin-off of "King of the Hill," created by Judge. The show was never picked up by Fox, leaving a rare failure on the writer-producer's resume. But it was with NBC's version of the BBC hit "The Office," however, that Daniels once again struck gold. After a rough first season, the comedy finally found its footing in the second, as emphasis shifted toward making crass boss Michael Scott (Steve Carrel) slightly more sympathetic than his British counterpart, David Brent, played by series creator Ricky Gervais. Daniels was also instrumental in fleshing out supporting characters - including the delightful romance between co-workers Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer) - and making the show more palatable to American audiences by lightening the tone without diminishing its comic edge.
In addition to writing and producing, Daniels donned the directing cap for the first time, helming several notable "Office" episodes, including the third season's "Traveling Salesmen," featuring Dunder-Mifflin resident blowhard Dwight (Rainn Wilson) taking rookie salesman Ryan (B.J. Novak) on a bizarre rite of passage that included a stop at his family's beet farm, and "The Return," a landmark episode where obnoxious newcomer Andy (Ed Helms) succeeds at making the office miss Dwight after he (Dwight) is forced out of the office. It was no surprise to fans that "The Office" earned an Emmy in 2006 for Outstanding Comedy Series and that Daniels gave the acceptance speech on stage on behalf of the cast and crew. Daniels and company were Emmy winners once again in 2007, earning a statue for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. Though bypassed after receiving nominations over the next couple of years, Daniels was hopeful for an Emmy win in 2010 following a nod for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series.