Producers, Writers & Advisors
In his roles as President of Echo Pictures and Executive Producer of GREAT MUSEUMS, Marc Doyle brings together all the skills and experiences he has acquired over a 50-year career as a journalist, a business executive, an author and a respected media industry expert. Doyle founded the independent production company Doyle & Associates (now Echo Pictures) in 1988, after a 20-year career as a pioneering television news executive. He is the architect of the GREAT MUSEUMS High Definition strategy and is guiding the extension of the GREAT MUSEUMS brand to multiple media platforms. He has the journalist’s passions for curiosity and discovery. As the principle on-location interviewer for the GREAT MUSEUMS series, he has interviewed dozens of museum scholars and experts, as well as the former Mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, Rick West, the President of the American Association of Museums, Jim Billington, the Librarian of Congress, and, Morgan Freeman, the actor and supporter of the Delta Blues Museum for the Great Museums series. His work has been honored with Emmys, Tellys, New York Film/Tape Festival Medals of Achievement. He shares a Peabody Award and has been honored for Lifetime Achievement by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Chesney B. Doyle
Creator of GREAT MUSEUMS, Chesney Blankenstein Doyle set out to design a concept destined to bridge the gap between the casual viewer looking for entertainment and the voracious lifelong learner. The award-winning series has been applauded by viewers, stations and the museum world. In the first year of production, she and co-producer/husband Marc Doyle traveled the country scouting and then field producing the 13 original shows that would define the GREAT MUSEUMS’ vision and signature style. As Executive in Charge of Production, she manages an expert team of producers, writers, videographers, editors and musical, voice and graphics talents. She also contributes as a lead producer/writer for the series. Chesney is the recipient of more than 30 international television awards, including multiple CINE Golden Eagle Awards, numerous national Telly Awards, Aurora Awards, and three Emmy nominations. She also was a finalist in the New York Festivals. A native of Natchez, MIssissippi, she has a BA degree in English from the University of Virginia and a law degree from Vanderbilt University.
Philippe de Montebello
Fiske Kimball Professor in the History and Culture of Museums, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University & GREAT MUSEUMS Senior Advisor
Philippe de Montebello, the first-ever Director Emeritus of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, is recognized throughout the world as one of the field’s most influential and articulate champions of integrity, authority, education, and public access. In December 2008, he retired after 32 years as the longest-serving director in the Metropolitan Museum’s nearly 140-year-long history. He continues to lecture throughout the world on art, museums, and other cultural matters. Under his leadership, The Metropolitan Museum of Art nearly doubled in size, vastly increasing its exhibition space. The Met also acquired significant collections and individual masterpieces, mounted acclaimed international loan exhibitions, developed wide-reaching educational programs, and reinstalled much of its permanent collections in new and refurbished galleries.
Mr. de Montebello was born in Paris and received his early education in France. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University and received a master’s degree in art history from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts. His numerous international honors include the Officier de la Légion d’Honneur; the Amigos del Museo del Prado Prize; and Knight Commander, Pontifical Order of St. Gregory the Great. He has received a number of honorary degrees, notably from Harvard University, Dartmouth College, and New York University. In March of 2009, President Obama awarded him the National Medal of the Humanities, and in 2003 President Bush awarded him The National Medal of Arts. Mr. de Montebello is the fourth person ever to have received both the U.S. National Medal of the Arts and the National Medal of the Humanities.
Long the narrator of the Museum’s Audio Guide programming, Mr. de Montebello has become one of the most instantly recognizable and respected voices in the cultural world.
Susan Spann began her professional career in the 1980s as a magazine editor and writer in Atlanta, working for such trade favorites as “Fence Industry” and “Specialty Salesman.” She quickly made a beeline for the more colorful world of advertising. Starting in account services, she worked for clients such as Florida’s Natural Growers, Bell South, SunTrust Banks and White Lily Flour. In 1990 Susan turned her attention to writing and producing promotional videos for retail clients, which are featured in Visitors’ Centers and in traveling shows. She joined the GREAT MUSEUMS team in 2008, writing and producing webisodes on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s then-Director Philippe de Montebello. She has since worked on An Acquiring Mind: Philippe de Montebello and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and New Orleans: A Living Museum of Music.
Randall G. Penn
Coordinating Producer Randall Penn began his television production/post-production career nearly 30 years ago. He joined GREAT MUSEUMS in 2005 as project manager and has been an indispensable part of the GREAT MUSEUMS team. A lover of museums, Randall says that working on the GREAT MUSEUMS series has been a personal and professional highlight.