Hollywood Goes Silicon Valley – Joss Whedon, Stan Rogow, Les Morgenstein and Chris Henchy at TechCrunch50


As we get closer to TechCrunch50, we will updating you on the conference panels and keynotes we have planned. Expect some of the conference program to remain a surprise until we get to the event and the launch of the next 50 great start-ups!

Today, we are pleased to announce that we will be featuring a panel at TechCrunch50 entitled “Hollywood Goes Silicon Valley.” Brought to you in partnership with Creative Artists Agency, the panel will showcase the efforts of a posse of entertainment luminaries who are creating content exclusively for the Web, and embracing new technologies in all aspects of their production, marketing and distribution of commercial entertainment properties.

The panel will include Chris Henchy, writer, producer, and co-founder of Funny or Die and co-executive producer of “Entourage”; Matthew Diamond Founder and CEO of Alloy Entertainment (“Gossip Girl”);Stan Rogow, executive producer and director of online series Gemini Division, starring Rosario Dawson; Joss Whedon creator of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog”; and Michael Yanover, head of Business Development, Creative Artists Agency.

As we move closer to the conference, we are encouraging everyone to book their hotel reservations (many hotels are already sold out) and register for the conference before we sell out. For companies seeking to launch and showcase products at TechCrunch50, please take a look at our Exhibitor Packages. If you have questions about sponsorships, please reach out to Heather Harde or Dan Kimerling. All media inquiries should be sent to Sarah Ross.

Bios on our “Hollywood Goes Silicon Valley” panelists are below

Joss Whedon

Joss Whedon is one of Hollywood’s top talents, scripting several hit films and creating one of television’s most critically praised shows, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Born June 23, 1964, in New York, Whedon is a third-generation television writer. His grandfather and father were both successful sitcom writers on shows such as “The Donna Reed Show,” “Leave It to Beaver” and “The Golden Girls.”

After receiving a degree in film studies from Wesleyan University, Whedon landed his first writing job on the staff of the top-rated series “Roseanne.” He later pulled double-duty, co-producing and writing, on the series “Parenthood.”

After creating “Buffy” as a feature film script, Whedon brought it to television in 1996, where it became a cult phenomenon. In 2000, Whedon garnered his first Emmy nomination in the category of Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for his groundbreaking episode entitled “Hush.” In 2002, he wrote, composed and directed a Broadway-style musical episode entitled “Once More, With Feeling” which received worldwide recognition and spawned an “Original Cast Recording” soundtrack, which sold more than 400,000 CDs worldwide. In a New York Times Magazine profile, “Buffy” was called “one of the most intelligent and most underestimated shows on television.” The show won several awards including, Emmys, Saturns, SFXs and a Hugo in its seventh and final season.

In 1998, Whedon developed and produced “Angel” through 20th Century Fox Television and his production company, Mutant Enemy. The “Buffy” spin-off gained a loyal following of its own and ran for five seasons. In 2002, he followed up with the critically acclaimed sci-fi drama “Firefly.” In addition to serving as creator and executive producer on “Angel,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and “Firefly,” Whedon also wrote and directed multiple episodes of each series.

Whedon earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Screenplay with Disney’s box-office smash “Toy Story.” His other feature writing credits include “Titan A.E.” and “Alien Resurrection.” In fall 2005, Whedon made his feature directorial debut with “Serenity” based on the “Firefly” series. In addition to his television and feature writing, Whedon created “Fray” for Dark Horse comics, writes “Astonishing X-Men,” “Runaways” for Marvel and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” Season Eight for Dark Horse Comics.

Whedon recently released a musical internet series titled “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.”

Stan Rogow

Stan Rogow three-time Emmy-nominated producer is executive producer and director of Gemini Division, roles he first undertook with “Afterworld,” Electric Farm Entertainment’s Webby-nominated, post-Apocalyptic epic about a man trapped in a world without technology.

Following his huge success as executive producer of the popular series and feature film “Lizzie McGuire” Rogow was the executive producer of the Discovery/Kids on NBC series “Darcy’s Wild Life” and co creature “Flight 29 Down,” and THE ABC FAMILY, multiple humanitas nominated, STATE OF GRACE. His long list of credits also include NBC’s “Shannon’s Deal,” the critically acclaimed show that was nominated by the Television Critics Association for Best Show of the Year – Tom Shales from the Washington Post called it “an extraordinarily good series.” The series “Middle Ages” was given four stars by USA Today and Entertainment Weekly called it “easily one of the most thoughtful, well-written and beautiful acted series of the year.” Rogow executive produced and co-created both series.

Other Rogow credits include the series “South of Sunset,” which he co- created and “Nowhere Man.”

Rogow’s success in the feature film arena includes “The Clan of the Cave Bear,” “Men of War,” “All I Want for Christmas” and “The Lizzie McGuire Movie.”

Also on the film side, Rogow has been prolific in the area of made-for-TV movies, including a series of three movies for Showtime based on the acclaimed television show “The Defenders” with E.G. Marshall reprising his Emmy-winning role, which won The American Bar Association Silver Gavel Award. As well as “Nowhere to Hide,” “Murder in High Places,” “Help Wanted: Kids,” “Rock ‘N Roll Mom,” the multiple Emmy Award-winning “Playing for Time” and “Hard Hat & Legs.”

Rogow has a J.D. from Boston University School of Law and a B.A. Degree from Boston University. He is also a guest lecturer at the American Film Institute, USC Film School and UCLA Film School. He resided in West Los Angeles.

Matthew Diamond

As CEO and founder of Alloy Media + Marketing, a division of Alloy Entertainment, a pioneer in youth media and marketing services Matthew Diamond guides the company’s strategic direction and oversees corporate development and management of its business units including Alloy Entertainment, creator of such popular teen books, TV series and films as “Gossip Girl”, “Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants” and “The Clique”. He oversees development of new media initiatives such as the recently launched Teen.com “TV” network, a premiere entertainment platform boasting a teen audience of more than 11 million online viewers.

A keynote speaker for national industry events and conferences, Matt has appeared as a media expert on a number of national TV broadcasts including CNN, CNBC, and ABC World News Tonight. He has been featured in numerous high profile publications including the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Businessweek and Advertising Age.

Matt leads company-wide efforts to contribute positively to the growing and influential millennial population, serving on the board of Do Something Inc, a non-profit youth organization, and as Director of Genesco, the owner of popular teen shoe retailer Journey’s. Alloy contributes to several philanthropic causes such as the Ad Council, the ONDCP, and the National Heart Foundation.

Prior to founding Alloy, Matt held positions in the Finance and Operations groups at the General Electric Company, also spending time at the company’s Tokyo, Japan offices.

Matt earned his B.A. in International Studies at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received his MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business in 1996.

Chris Henchy:

Chris Henchy runs Gary Sanchez Productions, a production company co-founded by comedians Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, which partnered with Sequoia Capital to launch www.funnyordie.com. Henchy was involved in the creation of the website and is integral in its ongoing commitment to showcase the best comedy on the web.

Henchy has been a writer and producer on such shows as “Entourage”, “Life with Bonnie” and “Spin City”. He also created ABC’s “I’m With Her” and most recently produced a comedy pilot for HBO entitled “East Bound and Down.” He has also written the feature film “Land of the Lost” for Will Ferrell and Universal Pictures.

Born in New York City, Henchy resides in Los Angeles, with his wife, actress Brooke Shields, and their two daughters.

Michael Yanover

Michael Yanover is the head of the Business Development department at Creative Artists Agency, the world’s leading entertainment and sports agency. CAA’s Business Development department creates new lines of business for the agency, in addition to servicing clients across the agency. Michael also leads CAA’s Digital Media group, which focuses on the representation of individual and corporate clients within the technology sector.

CAA’s Digital Media agents identify and create opportunities within the emerging digital media marketplace for traditional clients. CAA has worked with its clients to conceptualize and incubate many successful web ventures including Will Ferrell’s Funny Or Die, Tony Hawk’s Shred or Die, and weplay.com, a youth sports online community with CAA clients including LeBron James, Derek Jeter, and Peyton Manning as founding partners. CAA represents business-to-business and consumer-oriented technology companies looking to build their brand and leverage opportunities in entertainment, including Cisco, IMAX, and imeem. The Digital Media group also works with production companies in the emerging digital media sector such as Electric Farm Entertainment, Broadway Video, and Katalyst Films and develops new talent such as the Internet phenomenon Lonelygirl15 and Wallstrip, which was recently acquired by CBS Interactive.

Prior to joining CAA, Michael was Senior Vice President and General Manager at Macromedia (now part of Adobe) where he launched their successful online division, Atom Entertainment (now part of Viacom). Previously, Michael ran his own entertainment production company, which produced two television series for domestic and international broadcast, and a theatrical film released by MGM. Michael began his career in M&A, corporate finance and entertainment law at Bankers Trust and Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, in New York, and at Sinclair Tenenbaum & Co., a leading entertainment law firm in Los Angeles. Michael holds an MBA in Finance from the University of Chicago and a JD from the University of Toronto.

Michael sits on the board of mobile conference Rutberg Wireless Influencers and the not-for-profit Do Something organization that encourages young people to become active in their communities.

More TechCrunch

Zen Educate, an online marketplace that connects schools with teachers, has raised $37 million in a Series B round of funding. The raise comes amid a growing teacher shortage crisis…

Zen Educate raises $37M and acquires Aquinas Education as it tries to address the teacher shortage

“When I heard the released demo, I was shocked, angered and in disbelief that Mr. Altman would pursue a voice that sounded so eerily similar to mine.”

Scarlett Johansson says that OpenAI approached her to use her voice

A new self-driving truck — manufactured by Volvo and loaded with autonomous vehicle tech developed by Aurora Innovation — could be on public highways as early as this summer.  The…

Aurora and Volvo unveil self-driving truck designed for a driverless future

The European venture capital firm raised its fourth fund as fund as climate tech “comes of age.”

ETF Partners raises €284M for climate startups that will be effective quickly — not 20 years down the road

Copilot, Microsoft’s brand of generative AI, will soon be far more deeply integrated into the Windows 11 experience.

Microsoft wants to make Windows an AI operating system, launches Copilot+ PCs

Hello and welcome back to TechCrunch Space. For those who haven’t heard, the first crewed launch of Boeing’s Starliner capsule has been pushed back yet again to no earlier than…

TechCrunch Space: Star(side)liner

When I attended Automate in Chicago a few weeks back, multiple people thanked me for TechCrunch’s semi-regular robotics job report. It’s always edifying to get that feedback in person. While…

These 81 robotics companies are hiring

The top vehicle safety regulator in the U.S. has launched a formal probe into an April crash involving the all-electric VinFast VF8 SUV that claimed the lives of a family…

VinFast crash that killed family of four now under federal investigation

When putting a video portal in a public park in the middle of New York City, some inappropriate behavior will likely occur. The Portal, the vision of Lithuanian artist and…

NYC-Dublin real-time video portal reopens with some fixes to prevent inappropriate behavior

Longtime New York-based seed investor, Contour Venture Partners, is making progress on its latest flagship fund after lowering its target. The firm closed on $42 million, raised from 64 backers,…

Contour Venture Partners, an early investor in Datadog and Movable Ink, lowers the target for its fifth fund

Meta’s Oversight Board has now extended its scope to include the company’s newest platform, Instagram Threads, and has begun hearing cases from Threads.

Meta’s Oversight Board takes its first Threads case

The company says it’s refocusing and prioritizing fewer initiatives that will have the biggest impact on customers and add value to the business.

SeekOut, a recruiting startup last valued at $1.2 billion, lays off 30% of its workforce

The U.K.’s self-proclaimed “world-leading” regulations for self-driving cars are now official, after the Automated Vehicles (AV) Act received royal assent — the final rubber stamp any legislation must go through…

UK’s autonomous vehicle legislation becomes law, paving the way for first driverless cars by 2026

ChatGPT, OpenAI’s text-generating AI chatbot, has taken the world by storm. What started as a tool to hyper-charge productivity through writing essays and code with short text prompts has evolved…

ChatGPT: Everything you need to know about the AI-powered chatbot

SoLo Funds CEO Travis Holoway: “Regulators seem driven by press releases when they should be motivated by true consumer protection and empowering equitable solutions.”

Fintech lender SoLo Funds is being sued again by the government over its lending practices

Hard tech startups generate a lot of buzz, but there’s a growing cohort of companies building digital tools squarely focused on making hard tech development faster, more efficient and —…

Rollup wants to be the hardware engineer’s workhorse

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is not just about groundbreaking innovations, insightful panels, and visionary speakers — it’s also about listening to YOU, the audience, and what you feel is top of…

Disrupt Audience Choice vote closes Friday

Google says the new SDK would help Google expand on its core mission of connecting the right audience to the right content at the right time.

Google is launching a new Android feature to drive users back into their installed apps

Jolla has taken the official wraps off the first version of its personal server-based AI assistant in the making. The reborn startup is building a privacy-focused AI device — aka…

Jolla debuts privacy-focused AI hardware

The ChatGPT mobile app’s net revenue first jumped 22% on the day of the GPT-4o launch and continued to grow in the following days.

ChatGPT’s mobile app revenue saw its biggest spike yet following GPT-4o launch

Dating app maker Bumble has acquired Geneva, an online platform built around forming real-world groups and clubs. The company said that the deal is designed to help it expand its…

Bumble buys community building app Geneva to expand further into friendships

CyberArk — one of the army of larger security companies founded out of Israel — is acquiring Venafi, a specialist in machine identity, for $1.54 billion. 

CyberArk snaps up Venafi for $1.54B to ramp up in machine-to-machine security

Founder-market fit is one of the most crucial factors in a startup’s success, and operators (someone involved in the day-to-day operations of a startup) turned founders have an almost unfair advantage…

OpenseedVC, which backs operators in Africa and Europe starting their companies, reaches first close of $10M fund

A Singapore High Court has effectively approved Pine Labs’ request to shift its operations to India.

Pine Labs gets Singapore court approval to shift base to India

The AI Safety Institute, a U.K. body that aims to assess and address risks in AI platforms, has said it will open a second location in San Francisco. 

UK opens office in San Francisco to tackle AI risk

Companies are always looking for an edge, and searching for ways to encourage their employees to innovate. One way to do that is by running an internal hackathon around a…

Why companies are turning to internal hackathons

Featured Article

I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Women in tech still face a shocking level of mistreatment at work. Melinda French Gates is one of the few working to change that.

2 days ago
I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s  broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Blue Origin has successfully completed its NS-25 mission, resuming crewed flights for the first time in nearly two years. The mission brought six tourist crew members to the edge of…

Blue Origin successfully launches its first crewed mission since 2022

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of the top entertainment and sports talent agencies, is hoping to be at the forefront of AI protection services for celebrities in Hollywood. With many…

Hollywood agency CAA aims to help stars manage their own AI likenesses

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’