Bob Chitester is chairman, president and CEO of Free To Choose Network, a 501-c-3 public foundation housing Free To Choose Media, an award-winning, global entertainment company which produces and distributes thought-provoking public television programs and series; izzit.org, an educational initiative that produces video-centric teaching units for a large network of K-College educators; and Free To Choose Press publishing company.
In 1977, Chitester and economist Milton Friedman and his wife, Rose, undertook a film project which became Free To Choose, an award-winning PBS TV series and an international best-selling book based on the series, with sales in the millions. More than 30 years later, the series and book are still in wide use and have been profoundly influential.
More than 500 projects have been launched through Free To Choose Media under Chitester’s orchestration, ranging from documentaries, cable series and home video programs, many of which can be viewed on www.FreeToChoose.TV. He is juggling a number of media projects in various stages of production, including productions based on Bret Stephens’ America in Retreat; The Real Adam Smith, a two-hour series that gives particular attention to Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments; Work & Happiness: The Human Cost of Welfare; Economic Revolution: New Zealand; The Power to be Free, a series on the role of the military in a free society; The Constitution and the Rule of Law with Justice Douglas Ginsburg; and Andrew Coulson’s series, School, Inc., in partnership with New York’s WNET, as the presenting television station.
Chitester also created the Stossel in the Classroom educational effort, which served as a prototype for izzit.org. Today, izzit.org’s nationwide network consists of more than 300,000 educators who are using one or more of izzit.org’s video teaching units or its daily current events service. Most recently, Chitester released the second installment of the Pups of Liberty series, created by animators from DreamWorks, Disney and Warner Bros.
In the mid-nineties, working with TCI in Denver, CO, Chitester created Issues USA, a nightly half-hour program, whose alumni includes: David Asman, Eric Burns and Douglas Kennedy, currently regulars on the Fox Cable News Channel, Jonathan Karl of ABC News, and Richard Lowry, editor of National Review. Another production, National School Assembly, with David Robinson, MVP center with the San Antonio Spurs, is currently being offered to teachers via izzit.org.
Chitester also founded The Idea Channel, a video library of more than 200 recorded intellectual discussions between the world's leading scholars. The collection currently includes 31 Nobel Prize recipients, including Friedrich von Hayek, James Buchanan, Christian de Duve, Norman Borlaug and Charles Townes. Chitester orchestrated three major series of discussions focused on the lives and work of Friedrich von Hayek, George Shultz and Walter Wriston. The Idea Channel library is now owned by Free To Choose Network and can be viewed on FreeToChoose.TV.
As a partner with Janet Martel and David Friedman, Chitester manages Free To Choose Enterprise, which sells and licenses the use of the Free To Choose series and can also be viewed on FreeToChoose.TV.
Chitester has more than 50 years of experience in television management and program development. He started educational television facilities at Buena Vista High School in Saginaw, Michigan and Edinboro State University in Pennsylvania. In 1966, he became the founding general manager of the Erie, Pennsylvania PBS and NPR stations (WQLN and WQLN-FM), which he headed until 1982.
Chitester earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Michigan, and received an honorary Doctor of Literature degree from Allegheny College. He and his wife, Carol Lovell, have four children and eight grandchildren.
Thomas Skinner is an award-winning television and film program executive with more than 45 years of experience in public and commercial broadcasting. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards including four national Emmy Awards, three George Foster Peabody Awards, a Columbia/ DuPont Award and was director of the Academy Award-winning film Journey Into Self.
As senior executive producer at Free to Choose Media (FTCM), the production arm of Free To Choose Network (FTCN), Skinner executive produced and co-wrote The Power of Choice: The Life and Ideas of Milton Friedman, developed, co-wrote and executive produced The Ultimate Resource, The Power of the Poor and Globalization at the Crossroads with Hernando de Soto, Turmoil and Triumph: The George Shultz Years, Testing Milton Friedman, Unlikely Heroes of the Arab Spring, Changing Lives, India Awakes and Power to the People. These programs and series were distributed by PBS, APT and NETA to public television stations nationwide.
Currently, Skinner is serving as executive producer for Work and Happiness: The Human Cost of Welfare, The Real Adam Smith: A Personal Exploration by Johan Norberg, The Power to be Free and America in Retreat, which are in production at FTCM.
From 1970 through 1993 Skinner served as executive vice president and chief operating officer of QED Communications in Pittsburgh, PA. During his 23 years at QED Communications, Skinner served as executive producer of more than 150 programs and series broadcast nationally on PBS, among them the 10 highest rated programs in the history of PBS. In addition, he served as co-executive producer of 16 seasons of National Geographic Specials, the Emmy-award-winning Planet Earth and The Infinite Voyage (both with the National Academy of Sciences).
Jim Taylor is a founder and partner of Resolution Productions, Inc. and has been in film and video production for over 25 years. He has been the Director of Photography for all of the company's productions, first in 16 and 35 mm film and today in Hi-Def Video.
In 1996, he was the Director of Photography of Battleship, for the Discovery Network, and in 1995 he was the DP for Floating Palaces, a history of the ocean liner, produced for and broadcast on A&E. He was also the DP for a Turner Network documentary, Legends in Light, on the life of Hollywood photographer George Hurrell. Other projects have included California and the Dream Seekers and The Story of Money, both four-hour specials, commissioned by A&E.
His many awards include a Gold C.A.S.E. (Council for the Advancement of Secondary Education) award, a Golden Screen Award for HUD’s Enterprise Zones in America, and first place in the Houston International Film Festival. His cinematography work on the "Pets: Part of the Family" series was nominated for an Emmy Award.
Jim is Director /Director of Photography for Free to Choose Media, on Ultimate Resource, an award winning one-hour special, two documentaries about economist, Hernando de Soto entitled: The Power of the Poor and Globalization at the Crossroads, Free or Equal, a documentary featuring the ideas of Johan Norberg, Unlikely Heroes of the Arab Spring, with Hernando de Soto and most recently, Power to the People, being broadcast in 2015.
Barbara Potter is a founder and partner of Resolution Productions, Inc. and has been in video production for over 25 years. She has been the producer or field producer for all of the company's productions, from national television commercials to broadcast series and specials.
Some of these productions include Battleship for the Discovery Network, Floating Palaces, California and the Dream Seekers and The Story of Money, produced for and broadcast on A&E. She has been the field producer of The Ultimate Resource, The Power of the Poor and Globalization at the Crossroads, produced for Free To Choose Network and broadcast on public television.
As the producer of Free to Choose’s Testing Milton Friedman she worked with WTTW, Chicago on all aspects of the production and postproduction for the three part series. She was recently a producer of Unlikely Heroes of the Arab Spring, and is the producer of Power to the People, a program on global energy, being broadcast in 2015.
Roger Brown is the Producer/Writer for The Power of the Poor with Hernando de Soto, a two-hour documentary project featuring economist and property rights activist, Hernando de Soto of Peru. Roger holds a Masters degree from Northwestern University and is a 20-year veteran of documentary and specialty film/videotape production. Roger has been the Producer/Writer for eighteen individual films for the National Geographic Society, several segments for Discovery Health and the Discovery prime time special The Secret World of Air Freight. His corporate clients, for which he has produced many hours of custom visual material, have included the National Safety Council, The Field Museum in Chicago, the Puerto Rico National Parks and McDonalds Restaurants among others.