Orlando, Fla. (July 15, 2020) Mike Leonard, a multiple Emmy Award-winning journalist, New York Times best-selling author, filmmaker and public speaker, is joining Growing Bolder to continue his quest to share stories of common humanity.
Celebrated for his heart-touching stories of ordinary people and everyday life, Leonard was a compelling presence on the Today show for 32 years. He was the first television network correspondent to research, produce, shoot, write, and edit all of his own stories, pioneering a new broadcast journalism model that has changed the way the industry operates worldwide.
“He was a television star,” says Rick Kogan of the Chicago Tribune. “A Today show fixture of such distinctive talent that he was given virtually free rein to tell stories not about the celebrities and oddities that occupy so much of modern media, but about so- called ordinary people.”
Leonard joins Growing Bolder to expand his Emmy Award-winning series, InCommon.
“He’s a unique talent and one of the greatest storytellers of this or any generation,” says Growing Bolder CEO Marc Middleton. “He tells simple stories with humor, humility and empathy. He’s a unifying force at a time when it’s badly needed.”
Leonard didn’t get his start in television until he was 31 years old when he projected some of his home movies onto the wall of a news director’s office in Phoenix and talked his way into a job. One night, Middleton, a swimming coach in nearby Scottsdale, saw one of Leonard’s stories and it changed the trajectory of his life.
“I was blown away by his creativity and fearlessness,’ Middleton recalls. “I called to say that I admired his work and he invited me to the station. Like him, I had never considered a job in television but he made me realize it was possible. With Mike’s help, I put together an audition tape and immediately got a job that led to a 30-year on-air career and ultimately to becoming the founder of Growing Bolder.”
Middleton wasn’t the only one “blown away” by a Mike Leonard story. Richard Salant, the former President of CBS and Vice Chairman of NBC, saw a single story and hired Leonard on the spot for the NBC national network. In 18-months, he went from projecting home movies on a wall to a coveted network position, an unprecedented, rapid rise to the big leagues.
Among his many celebrated Today show stories, Leonard took a month-long cross- country RV trip with his aging, eccentric parents and grown children. His series, The Ride of Our Lives, shared a highly personal celebration of self-discovery, family blessings and simple pleasures. Leonard turned the series into a critically acclaimed New York Times best-selling book.
The beauty of life, the importance of friendship and the strength of family ties, all often hidden in plain sight, come into sharp focus in a Mike Leonard story. Tom Brokaw says it best, “Mike Leonard is a national treasure.”
At 72, Mike Leonard is driven by a love of storytelling and a passion to make a difference. He’s found a perfect fit with Growing Bolder.
“The older I get, the bolder I feel, he says. “The bolder I feel, the younger I get.”
Leonard’s InCommon series will air exclusively on Season 6 of Growing Bolder, airing nationwide this fall on public broadcasting stations. Check local listings to catch an all-new season of Growing Bolder.
We should all thank Mike for sharing his stories with us. They are beautiful and moving.
Mike Leonard connects all of us across America. He’s a wonderful storyteller.
For more information, contact:
Growing Bolder LLC
Jackie Carlin, Exec. Vice President
About Growing Bolder
Growing Bolder is the world’s leading lifestyle brand for the 50+ demographic, providing inspiration, motivation, tools and resources to make the rest of your life the best of your life. Growing Bolder reaches more than 300 million people per year through its media platform that includes a national television show, American Public Television’s national pledge program, NPR radio program, podcast, weekly digital TV program, robust digital and social media presence and Growing Bolder Magazine, one of the nation’s most subscribed to lifestyle magazines for the 50+ demographic. Growing Bolder is building a tribe of like-minded people who believe that life is meant to be lived with passion and purpose.