Emmy-winning, Oscar-nominated producer-director-writer Mike (a.k.a. Michael) Tollin has lent his hand to many sports and youth related projects, working extensively in both television and features. Before teaming up with producer-director Brian Robbins, with whom he would collaborate on several successful shows and movies, Tollin scored several Sports Emmy Awards for his efforts on "The Baseball Bunch" (syndicated, 1980-82). He was later nominated as the producer of the sports anthology "This is the USFL" (1983), and went on to chronicle the now defunct United States Football League with his 1988 feature debut "The Final Season," a sports documentary following the Tampa Bay Bandits in their 1985 final season.
In 1993, he teamed with former teen actor Brian Robbins to form Tollin/Robbins Productions (acquired by The Marquee Group in 1998 and renamed Marquee-Tollin/Robbins). The two landed a production deal with Nickelodeon and were responsible for some of the more entertaining offerings on the children's programming network. The duo teamed up to create "All That" (1994-2005) a "Saturday Night Live" inspired sketch comedy show with musical guests. The series proved a success, its hip age-appropriate humor winning over much of the pre-teen audience. The program gave an outlet to some impressive budding young comedians and actors, and two stand out favorites, Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell, were awarded their own sitcom, "Kenan & Kel" (1996-2000), produced by Tollin. Recognizing the potential of this comic duo, Robbins and Tollin developed the feature comedy "Good Burger" (1997) around recurring characters created by Mitchell and Thompson. While the skewed buddy film was neither a critical nor overwhelming box office success, it was a fine effort, with enough genuinely funny moments to keep their target audience laughing. The team's next big screen outing would prove much more successful. 1999's "Varsity Blues," a story of small town high school football starring teen favorite James Van Der Beek brought in surprising returns, hitting Number One at the box office and spawning a platinum soundtrack album. Tollin would go on to make his non-documentary feature directorial debut with "Summer Catch" (2001), a youth focused, sports themed film telling a "Romeo & Juliet"-like story of a small town pitcher who falls for a wealthy girl.
Besides entertaining young people, Tollin has taken on projects that also educate and enlighten children. In 1989, he directed "Buy Me That! A Kids' Survival Guide to Advertising" (HBO), a consumer awareness documentary arming children with important information to help them see through the hype of commercials. With Robbins, Tollin created, executive produced and also directed segments of Nickelodeon's "Sports Theater with Shaquille O'Neal," an anthology series offering healthy solutions to dramatized conflicts, using sports as a vehicle to get positive messages out to the youth audience. Also for Nickelodeon, Tollin produced and directed the series "Cousin Skeeter" (1998-2001), a program that, save for the intermingling of puppet and live action characters, played much like a traditional sitcom.
As writer, director and executive producer of the 1995 documentary "Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream," Tollin had perhaps his greatest critical success and was nominated for an Academy Award for his efforts, while the high school basketball documentary "Hardwood Dreams" (1994), written, directed and executive produced by Tollin, was lost in the shadow of the overwhelmingly acclaimed "Hoop Dreams," a 1993 documentary with the same focus. The team scored a bigger hit with "Arli$$" (1996-2002), a decidedly adult look at the business side of sports. Executive produced and directed by Tollin, "Arli$$" had a successful series run on HBO, interest in the dealings of sports agents presumably piqued by the success of the similarly themed "Jerry Maguire" (1996). The 1995 feature "The Show," was a departure for Tollin/Robbins, having little to do with sports or kids. The documentary, produced and written by Tollin and directed by Robbins, took a behind-the-scenes look at the hip-hop music world, and spawned a platinum soundtrack album.
Director (Feature Film)
Writer (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Special Thanks (Special)
Producer (TV Mini-Series)
Produced and directed the documentary "The Final Season", chronicling the Tampa Bay Bandits football team and the 1985 demise of the USFL
Directed the HBO consumer educational documentary "Buy Me That! A Kids' Survival Guide to TV Advertising"
With Brian Robbins, co-founded Tollin/Robbins Productions
Wrote, directed and executive produced the basketball documentary "Hardwood Dreams", aired on Fox in 1995
Was creator and executive producer of "All That" a popular kids sketch comedy series on Nickelodeon
With Brian Robbins co-produced and co-wrote "The Show", a documentary about the hip-hop music scene
Wrote, directed and executive produced the Oscar nominated documentary "Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream" (TBS)
Executive produced and directed the HBO's sports-themed sitcom "Arli$$"
Produced the "All That" spinoff series "Kenan & Kel" (Nickelodeon)
Produced the comedy "Good Burger", starring Kenan and Kel
Directed and produced the live-action/puppet series "Cousin Skeeter" (Nickelodeon)
Tollin/Robbins Productions acquired by The Marquee Group and renamed Marquee-Tollin/Robbins
Produced the hit high school football-themed feature "Varsity Blues"
Executive produced "The Amanda Show" with Amanda Bynes
Feature film directorial debut, "Summer Catch"
Produced the WB series, "What I Like About You"
Helmed the southern football drama feature "Radio", which starred Cuba Gooding, Jr and Ed Harris
Produced the WB teen drama, "One Tree Hill"
With Brian Robbins co-produced the Eddie Murphy comedy, "Norbit"; Robbins also directed