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Jane Velez-Mitchell / CNN

Jane Velez-Mitchell hosts “Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell,” a topical event-driven show with a wide range of viewpoints. A veteran television news journalist, Velez-Mitchell reported for the nationally syndicated Warner Brothers/Telepictures show “Celebrity Justice” and regularly served as guest host for “Nancy Grace,” another HLN program.

As a commentator on high-profile cases, Velez-Mitchell has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and other national cable television programs. During the Michael Jackson molestation trial, she appeared daily on “Nancy Grace” and was featured on CNN’s “Larry King Live” on several occasions, including the evening of the verdict.

Velez-Mitchell chronicles her lifelong battle with alcoholism, as well as her coming out as a lesbian and her discovery of a healthier, happier and more meaningful existence, in “iWant: My Journey From Addiction and Overconsumption to a Simpler Honest Life,” which was released in October 2009, and became a New York Times bestseller. Her most recent book, “Addict Nation” was released in February 2011.Her first nonfiction book, “Secrets Can Be Murder: What America’s Most Sensational Crimes Tell Us About Ourselves,” was published by Touchstone, a division of Simon & Schuster. The paperback version appeared in bookstores in June 2008.

Velez-Mitchell previously spent more than a decade anchoring and reporting for KCAL-TV in Los Angeles. She also served as a reporter/anchor for eight years at WCBS-TV in New York City. In 2010, her HLN show garnered a Genesis Awards from the Humane Society of the United States, her third having won two others on “Celebrity Justice.” Velez-Mitchell is the recipient of a Los Angeles Emmy Award and a New York Emmy Award. The KCAL-TV newscasts she co-anchored won three Southern California Golden Mike Awards and an Emmy. She also wrote, directed and produced “Dancing Through Life,” an award-winning documentary.

Mentor: TJ McCormack


Greg Mocker / WPIX 11

I moved to New York City in the summer of 2008 because I always wanted to live here. After spending more than 12 years in the TV news business and traveling around the country, I missed my family. I’m from Ohio (one of those good midwestern boys). My parents and brother visit often and my sister lives in Brooklyn.

I also missed the snow and the seasons. I spent the last 4 years in Phoenix, Arizona where I reported on monsoons, illegal immigration, and home owner associations. Before that I worked in Albuquerque, New Mexico. That’s a great place. I liked it there. We should visit. I’ve been to the Augusta National 4 times, although I do not golf. I reported in Augusta, Georgia for 4 years. My first job was in Ardmore, Oklahoma and I was there for 50 weeks. I lived in a garage apartment across the street from the son of an International Rodeo Star.

I am fascinated with this city and the people who live here and the people who keep it going. This place is loud and quiet and full of contradictions and simplicity. I love what I do. I’m just a guy with a question, looking for an answer on the trail of something different.

Mentor: Billy Bingo


Courtney Friel / FOX News Channel

Courtney Friel joined FOX News Channel (FNC) in February 2007 as an entertainment reporter.

Prior to joining FNC, Friel was an anchor and reporter for KPSP (CBS) in Palm Springs, CA. She also hosted “The World Poker Tour” on the Travel Channel and co-anchored Court TV’s “The Saturday Night Solution.” In 2004, Friel served as a west coast correspondent for FOX’s “America’s Most Wanted.” She has been a field reporter for various networks including E! Entertainment, Oxygen Channel, GOTV Mobile Television, Comcast Cable, as well as the syndicated program “Extra.”

Friel’s first job in local news was the primetime anchor at WBBJ (ABC) in Jackson, TN. A graduate of San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, she began her career at Channel One News where she served as a student reporter.

Mentor: Jeffrey Gurian


Adam Shapiro / FOX Business Network

Reporter Adam Shapiro joined FOX Business Network (FBN) in September 2007 as a New York based reporter.

Shapiro was previously a general assignment reporter in New York for WNBC-TV morning show Today in New York, covering all aspects of New York City. He also occasionally provided reports for the early evening and nightly newscasts. Before joining WNBC-TV, Shapiro was the anchor of WEWS-TV (ABC) Emmy Award-winning morning show Good Morning Cleveland and the early evening newscast Live on Five.

While there, he received a 2003 regional Emmy Award for Best Anchor and a 2002 Associated Press Award for Best Reporter. Prior to this, Shapiro spent a year as a network correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Chicago covering major national news including the Versace murder and the Louise Woodward murder trial.Before joining FNC, Shapiro anchored the weekend newscast for WXIN-TV (FOX) in Indianapolis, where he received a 1994 Emmy Award for an investigative piece. Prior to that, he was a reporter for WSJV-TV, then ABC affiliate, based in South Bend, Indiana.A native of Miami, Florida, Shapiro is a graduate of Syracuse University.



Marlaina Schiavo / CNN

Marlaina Schiavo is a Senior Producer for HLN’s top-rated primetime show Nancy Grace. From field producing to on-air reporting, Marlaina has covered everything from crime and punishment to celebrity justice.

In 1998, Marlaina began her journalism career at CNN’s headquarters in Atlanta. During her tenure, she worked as a Video Editor and quickly reached management level within the company. In January 2002, she returned to the northeast, joining the Fox News Channel in NYC as Newsroom Manager. In 2005, Marlaina landed a Producer position with
Nancy Grace at Court TV and then moved on to HLN’s Nancy Grace in 2007.

Prior to her success in the media world, Marlaina graduated from Ithaca College with a Bachelor’s degree in Television-Radio.  And although she is making her mark in cable television, Marlaina’s passion extends beyond breaking news.  Always having a love of comedy and reality TV, Marlaina spent some time in Los Angeles in her early years, where she interned for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and MTV’s Road Rules. Marlaina is grew up in New Jersey and claims that there is more to the Jersey shore than fist pumping. She currently resides in Manhattan with her fiance Eric.



Wendy Diamond / Animal Fair Magazine

Pet Expert & Author Wendy Diamond was called “The Martha Stewart of the milk and bone dish” (The New Yorker), dubbed “Pet Diva” by the New York Post, and crowned the “Canine Queen” by Forbes. She has appeared on Fox, CBS, NBC, Animal Planet, and with her rescued Maltese Lucky Diamond was one of three judges on CBS’ summer primetime hit show – “Greatest American Dog!” After writing two best-selling books titled “How To Understand Men Through Their Dogs and How To Understand Women Through Their Cats,” Random House unleashed Diamond’s next entertaining albeit informative book titled “It’s a Dog’s World. Also, Wendy is Founder of Animal Fair, (fairness to animals) the first lifestyle media company for animal lovers in support of fairness to animals.

Mentor: Carole Montgomery


Julia Melim / Hollywood.TV

Julia Melim works as a red carpet host for Hollywood.TV and has covered various events as well as film premieres in New York City.

She is considered “a red carpet staple” in Hollywood, makes celebrity appearances in Hollywood clubs, gifting suites and attends various film festivals in the U.S. and internationally, including the Cannes Film Festival, LA Film Festival and the Rio Film Festival. She has several celebrity spreads published about her remarkable career as well as interviews on TV and radio.

She has performed as a stand-up comedian at The Comedy Store in LA and was in the feature Somewhere directed by Sofia Coppola released last December. She played a lead role in the thriller Death of Evil directed by Damian Chapa, Blood Bond directed by Frank E. Garcia and worked as a voice over artist for The Incredible Hulk directed by Louis Leterrier. Ms. Melim is currently in pre-production with the martial arts thriller War of the Dragon directed by Stan Derain set to begin shooting in October. Most recently she was in the music video “Universal Man” by Jay Blaze featuring Ray J. and in the Converse commercial.

Abby Ellin

I’m a former columnist for the Business section of the New York Times, and a frequent contributor to the Styles and Health sections of said newspaper.

My work has been featured in an array of publications, including The Village Voice, The New York Post, The NY Daily News, New York, Glamour, Self, Gotham, Time, Newsweek, More, Marie Claire, Redbook, Maxim, POV, Fortune, Psychology Today, Salon, and The Daily Beast, among others. My twelve-part series, “How to Raise a Millionaire” ran on MSN.com.

In 2005 I published my book,  “Teenage Waistland: A Former Fat Kid Weighs in on Living Large, Losing Weight and How Parents Can (and Can’t) Help” (paperback came out in 2007), which was optioned for TV by Sony pictures. I am also the recipient of an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College, in Boston, which is a really good degree if you have no other marketable skills.

My essays have appeared in “The Secret Currency of Love” and “In Search of Adventure,” and twelve of my words popped up in the “Six-Word Memoir” collections (“Jew-born. Yeshiva-educated. Date goyim” and “I’m too old for this S***!”) Apparently, I make a rather lengthy appearance as myself in the Sundance-award winning film We Live in Public (I wrote about the main character, Josh Harris, in 2000). Alas, no one has ever sent me a screener, so I have yet to see the movie. (If anyone has–be honest now: Do I look fat???)  Years ago I received the Sword of Hope award from the American Cancer Society for a story I wrote on breast cancer. More recently, I won a prize  from the American Society of Journalists and Authors for my March, 2008 New York Times article on my disastrous Lasik surgery. If only I could see it, that would be really cool.

As of this writing, my greatest accomplishments have been climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro with a broken wrist, and naming “Karamel Sutra” ice cream for Ben and Jerry’s. You can learn everything you ever want to know at abbyellin.com.