Donald Taffner, Jr. grew up in the television industry, the son of Don Taffner, the Emmy award winning founder of DLT Entertainment Ltd.
Don began his career with DLT setting up Emerald City Productions, the company’s television animation studio, in Dublin. He then founded a new sales division in America focusing exclusively on local public television stations. Within a year the sales to these stations, which normally amounted to $100,000 a year, were exceeding $1million. He was instrumental in the development of a yearly package of first run drama programmes to the Program Resources Group, (part of PBS stations) which included the sale to this group, as well as other PBS stations, of such shows as Kavanagh QC, The Ruth Rendell Mysteries, Taggart, and McCallum. Today, DLT’s public television sales division is the leading independent supplier of programming to these stations featuring shows from Fremantle, ITV Global Entertainment and many other independent producers and distributors.
In the US, Don became director of divisions including Cable, Home Video, Development and Syndication; whilst heading the latter he successfully launched such UK programmes as Russ Abbott, The Wanderer, and a package of Hollywood Men/Women/Kids. Later, he made record sales of Three’s Company (based on UK show Man About the House) and Cinema Europe on cable. Today, he oversees worldwide sales and development, personally focusing on network production in the US and UK.
Don continues to carry forward the legacy of his father, who was responsible for the US introduction and sale of British programmes such as The World At War, Hollywood, Rumpole of the Bailey and Benny Hill, and is particularly known for the successful transfer of the format for Three’s Company and Too Close For Comfort (whose UK original was Keep It in the Family).
It was Don’s vision to bring an established US “showrunner” to the UK to produce a show in a modified US style with a table of writers. My Family, starring Robert Lindsey and Zoe Wannamaker, became the UK’s most popular sitcom with 127 episodes being produced over 11 series. Similar projects are now at various stages of development with other UK broadcasters.
Don also acted as Executive Producer of As Time Goes By, starring Dame Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer, and two Reunion Specials both produced in association with DLT’s sister company, the Theatre of Comedy Company, also under his stewardship.
In addition to his duties at DLT Entertainment, Don was the founding Co-Chairman of the Internet Committee of the International Council of The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences of which he is now Director. He is also a trustee of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, New York.