Kerry loves to be behind the scenes, but we just had to drag her into this month’s spotlight and offer you a rare glimpse of Neon’s secret weapon.
Behind Kerry Ware’s sly but friendly smile is an impressive list of producer credits that includes work on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Last Call with Carson Daily, NBC’s The Sing-Off, and many other talk and reality shows. Most recently she served as segment producer for Disney-plus’s program Encore!, where school theatre groups are reunited to re-stage and perform the musical productions of their youth.
NEON: Tell us, Kerry, a little about your career so far and how a producer based in LA ended up at Neon in Nashville?
KERRY: Well, I got my degree from Belmont University, so I do have strong ties to Nashville. After I graduated, though, I went out to LA and snagged an internship on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. I eventually got hired full time–Ellen was my first job out of college–and spent a few years there, before moving onto The Bonnie Hunt Show and The Queen Latifah Show and finding my niche for a time in human interest departments for daytime talk shows.
NEON: So what kind of work did you do for Ellen?
KERRY: I was a producer for the non-celebrity human interest guests. Undiscovered singers, hometown heroes, that sort of thing. I also regularly worked with Jack Hannah and his animals. In fact, one of the craziest stories–I was in the dressing room, sat on one of Jack’s suitcases, and he said, “You might want to watch out. There’s an alligator in there.”
NEON: Of all your producing gigs in Hollywood, what was your favorite?
KERRY: Definitely Last Call with Carson Daly. I got to produce and direct docu-style “Spotlight” pieces on music artists, actors, film directors. That’s where I got my start producing short-form, story-driven pieces, which is what I still do today. Carson himself was cool too, which was a nice change.
NEON: And what have been some of your favorite projects here at Neon?
KERRY: As you can tell, I love human interest stories, so my favorite Neon projects have been those with a unique personal story to tell. Two in particular come to mind. First, the HCA Healthcare Mission Moments video: The El Paso Response.
It was about the horrific shooting in El Paso and the caregivers who were right in the middle of the chaos. It was a difficult story to tell, but an important one. You can see in the interviews–this was several months after the fact–these doctors and hospital workers were still shaken. It was humbling to tell their story, and I felt the final product honored it.
A bit of a lighter project I’m proud of is our video about Loews Hotels and the legacy of the Tisch family. The Tisches were so hospitable and supportive of our efforts throughout that we ended up with a great video.
NEON: So what do you, a real TV producer, like to watch yourself?
KERRY: Oh god. (Laughs) I like a lot of bad TV. Law and Order SVU. And reality TV. I’ll watch the Housewives of anyone or anywhere.
NEON: What else should we know about you?
KERRY: Hmm. I don’t know, I have two adorable dogs, Vinny Snuggles and Dixie.
NEON: Vinny Snuggles and Dixie? Sounds like a throwback live-action Disney movie: a teddy bear of a hitman has to protect the mob boss’s feisty girlfriend. Although the two can’t stand each other at first they eventually fall in love in the midst of a madcap comedic caper. What do you think? Would you be willing to pitch something like this to your contacts at Disney?
KERRY: No comment.