Christopher D’Elia just won an Emmy for Outstanding Social TV Experience at the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards for his role as supervising producer for @midnight with Chris Hardwick on Comedy Central.
“My team and everyone on the show works so hard and are so talented,” beamed D’Elia. “We were all thrilled and honored to win. It’s an amazing accomplishment that I am very proud of.”
As excited as he is about this incredible accolade, this new dad is still most proud of his wife and their 5-month-old son. Raised in Great Neck, D’Elia’s interest in film and TV began at a very young age.
“When I was eight years old, I started shooting movies with my siblings and cousins,” explained D’Elia. “I have always loved the creativity of telling stories, but also the challenge and constant problem-solving it takes to go from idea to finished product.”
A graduate of Lakeville Elementary School, South Middle School and South High School, D’Elia not only volunteered as a firefighter at the Vigilant firehouse but got his start in the industry by volunteering at PATV throughout high school. He filmed, produced and directed local TV shows and even had his own show called 4 O’clock Live, while being mentored by PATV’s Executive Director Shirley Bruno and Technical Director Marcelo Mendez.
D’Elia went on to major in film at the University of Miami, and moved to Los Angeles after graduation, where he has produced TV shows and movies. This season will be his third working as the supervising producer of @midnight, a late-night Internet-based game show that’s partly scripted and rehearsed with three comedians competing against each other in a series of improv games.
“We are the most interactive show on TV,” said D’Elia. “We have conversations directly with our fans on social media and bring those interactions back on the show every night. We take advantage of social media in ways nobody else is doing,” he continued. “It makes our show unique but also engaging and very funny. We air four shows a week with the funniest comedians and celebrities. There is no better way to learn about the silly news and events that happen every day than watching @midnight.”
Being shot on Stage 2 of the Hollywood Center Studios, the same location that the CBS series I Love Lucy was originally filmed, must add some amazing comedic energy to the show. But @midnight enhances and elevates the viewing experience through social media.
“I am the head of the digital team,” said the supervising producer. “We are a cutting-edge team of talented producers constantly inventing new ways to talk to our fans through social media, new apps, new tech and through the show itself. We make the show interactive every day and create comedic content that is distributed through social media.”
People have the impression that life in L.A. is very laid back, but working on a show that airs four nights a week is a lot of hard work.
“Shooting a show that has to air every night is high pressure, but we laugh all day long while doing it,” said D’Elia. “Working in comedy is the most fun I’ve had.”
D’Elia confirms that getting into the field was as challenging as people say.
“It’s extremely competitive,” said D’Elia. “It takes talent, drive and passion, but also luck. Working in Hollywood has the image of being super glamorous,” he continued. “There are quick moments of glamour like the Emmys, but mostly we work hard—15-hour days, many weekends, lots of hours. So the people you work with become your family because you are with them so much. I love that.”
In addition to his work on @midnight, D’Elia runs a production and literary-management company called Dobré Films and is involved in other projects.
“We most recently produced a feature film called This Is Your Death, staring Josh Duhamel, Giancarlo Esposito and Famke Janssen,” said D’Elia. “We also manage the writer/director of Southside with You, the Barack and Michelle Obama first-date movie that’s in theaters.”
D’Elia has lived in L.A. for 13 years now and considers it to be his home, but constantly misses the people, his family and the energy of New York. He followed his passion, found success in an extremely competitive industry—and was rewarded with an Emmy, the ultimate acknowledgment of excellence in the television industry. But, this Great Neck native still focuses on what really matters, his family.
“I think comedy is very subjective, but I try and make people laugh. It doesn’t always work, but when it does it’s a great feeling,” said D’Elia. “Although for a living I try and make our fans laugh, my primary goal right now is making my new son laugh. He’s a tough audience, but when he cracks up it’s the best.”