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'Modern Family' Writer and Producer to Speak at Ithaca College

ITHACA, NY — One of the creative masterminds behind the hit comedy “Modern Family” is serving as this year’s Park Distinguished Visitor at Ithaca College. Dan O’Shannon, a writer and executive producer for the Emmy Award–winning ABC television series, will give a free public presentation on Thursday, April 4, at 8 p.m. in Emerson Suites, Phillips Hall.

O’Shannon’s presentation will be in the form of an interview — think “Inside the Actors Studio” — conducted by assistant professor of television-radio Jack Powers, who has served as a consultant for the show. There will be ample time for audience Q&A as well. The two first met when O’Shannon asked Powers for advice on a book he was writing about humor, “What Are You Laughing At? A Comprehensive Guide to the Comedic Event.”

While on campus, O’Shannon will also host a writer’s workshop for students and speak in various classes. His previously scheduled October visit to the college had to be postponed because of the impact of Hurricane Sandy on travel plans.

“Modern Family” has won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in each of its three years on the air. In addition to serving as an executive producer, O’Shannon has written or cowritten nearly a dozen episodes. He cut his comedy teeth writing and producing some of the most acclaimed network comedies of the past 25 years, including such classics as “Cheers,” “Frasier” and “Newhart.”

O’Shannon has a slew of Emmy, Golden Globe and Writers Guild of America nominations and awards, along with an Academy Award nomination in the Best Animated Short Film category for writing the Disney cartoon “Redux Riding Hood.”

The Park Distinguished Visitor series is sponsored by the Roy H. Park School of Communications and is made possible through the generosity of the Park Foundation. Past visitors have included Randi Zuckerberg, James Carville, Arianna Huffington, Tom Wolfe, Christiane Amanpour, Ken Burns and Bill Moyers.

For more information, contact Melissa Gattine, marketing communications manager in the Park School, at (607) 274-1023 or