Rob Thomas (born August 15, 1965) is an American author, producer, and screenwriter, best known as the author of the 1996 novel Rats Saw God, creator of the critically acclaimed television series Veronica Mars and co-creator of 90210 and Party Down.
Education and early careerEdit
Thomas was born in Sunnyside, Washington. He graduated from San Marcos High School in 1983 and went to Texas Christian University on a football scholarship. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1987 with a BA in History.
Before he began writing novels for young adults, Thomas taught high-school journalism at John Marshall High School in San Antonio, Texas, and advised the University of Texas at Austin student magazine. From August 1993 to June 1995 he worked for Channel One News, an experience which informed his 1998 novel Satellite Down. Thomas was a member of three San Marcos, Texas bands — Public Bulletin, Hey Zeus, and Black Irish — from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s.
Thomas's first television writing credit came on a 1996 episode of Cartoon Network's Space Ghost Coast to Coast. He next wrote the script that would eventually become the 1999 film Fortune Cookie. Based on the script, he was offered a job on the writing staff of Dawson's Creek during the show's first season. After reading the same script, then-president of Sony Entertainment Jeff Sagansky suggested Thomas create a romantic comedy pilot. That show soon developed into Cupid, a critically acclaimed 1998 comedy-drama series canceled after 15 episodes in 1999. This led to Thomas being asked to run ABC's 1999 series Snoops, although he left due to creative differences with David E. Kelley before the show aired. After Snoops, Thomas got pilot orders for his U.S. adaptation of the British Metropolis and original script The Sticks, but neither went to series.
Thomas got his second show picked up in 2004 — the critically successful but again low-rated Veronica Mars, which battled low ratings until it was canceled after the third season in 2007. He was offered the showrunner position on NBC's Friday Night Lights in 2006, which he declined in favor of the possibility (and eventual reality) of a third season of Veronica Mars. Thomas was also offered and declined CBS's Viva Laughlin in 2007; he joined ABC's Miss/Guided in May 2007 before leaving in July of the same year, again due to creative differences.
Thomas worked as a writer on ABC's short-lived primetime series Big Shots from 2007 to 2008, co-wrote and shot the comedy pilot Party Down (aired by Starz in 2009, ran for two seasons), and had three pilots ordered for the 2008–2009 television season: a remake of Cupid for ABC, that was picked up to air midseason but soon canceled; Good Behavior, a U.S. adaptation of New Zealand series Outrageous Fortune also for ABC although it never aired, and a modern spin-off of Beverly Hills, 90210 for The CW, which he departed early in favor of his other projects. As of February 2009, according to Entertainment Weekly, Thomas has fueled rumors of a possible Veronica Mars film."The Veronica Mars Movie Project". Retrieved 14 March 2013.
According to a June 28, 2011 article by Kate Stanhope at TV Guide, Thomas told a group at a Party Down reunion in Texas the preceding weekend that "People are talking to us about doing a Party Down movie, and we are pretty far down the deal-making process with that," and that such a project might shoot in the spring of 2012. A December 16, 2011 piece in Gothamist reported that the movie is coming closer to reality: a treatment has been completed and Adam Scott said the film could shoot in the summer of 2012, although Starz apparently still needs to provide final approval for the project. And a January 8, 2012 piece at The Hollywood Reporter confirmed, "The Party Down movie is a go," and according to Megan Mullally it will shoot in late spring or early summer.
On June 30, 2010, he told Kristin Dos Santos at E! Online that he was "writing a drama pilot set in the world of corporate espionage for Showtime." On January 19, 2011, Thomas revealed the series had not been picked up. On August 25, 2010, Variety reported that NBC has ordered a pilot of a new sitcom, to be called Temp, for which Thomas, Dan Etheridge, and Jon Enbom would be executive producers. On February 10, Thomas announced: "NBC passed on TEMP, unfortunately. Said it skewed 'too young.'" On January 18, 2011, Thomas said that Fox ordered his half-hour single-camera pilot, to be called Little in Common. According to an August 25, 2011 article in The Hollywood Reporter, Little in Common, having failed to receive a pickup for the fall, "is being retooled" and may be broadcast Tuesday nights starting midseason. An October 17, 2011 item at Deadline.com revealed that Fox decided not to air the show. In a wide-ranging interview with Austinist published soon afterward, Thomas discussed the situation, saying, "we really thought this one was going on the air. So it was both surprising and disappointing that it didn't." Thomas has also adapted the screenplay for Drive Me Crazy, and directed On Air, a twenty-minute film adaptation of a story from Doing Time.
On March 13, 2013, Thomas posted a Kickstarter page announcing he had acquired permission from Warner Brothers to proceed with fundraising for a Veronica Mars movie; if the project raised $2 million by April 12, the film would be made. By 6:00 p.m. Pacific Time on the first day, the appeal had already raised over the requisite $2 million in pledges, ensuring a green light for the film, as Thomas also confirmed. The Kickstarter campaign met its goal in less than 11 hours, as an Entertainment Weekly piece noted. Thomas will also be co-author of two novels to be published by Vintage Books once the movie is released; the novels will depict events occurring after those of the film.
- Veronica Mars: Mr. Kiss And Tell (2015)
- Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line (2014)
- Green Thumb (1999)
- Satellite Down (1998)
- Doing Time: Notes from the Undergrad (1997)
- Slave Day (1997)
- Rats Saw God (1996)
Television programs Edit
- Space Ghost Coast to Coast (1996) (writer, episode "Explode")
- Dawson's Creek (1998) (writer, season one, episodes "Prelude to a Kiss" aka "Kiss" and "In the Company of Men" aka "Roadtrip")
- Cupid (1998–1999) (creator, writer, executive producer)
- Veronica Mars (2004–2007) (creator, writer, executive producer, director)
- 90210 (2008) (creator, writer)
- Party Down (2009–2010) (creator, writer, executive producer)
- Cupid (2009) (creator, writer, executive producer)
- Good Behavior (2009) (writer, executive producer) (not picked up)
- Plymouth Rock (2010) (creator, writer, executive producer) (not picked up)
- iZOMBIE (2014) (producer) (pilot ordered)
- Fortune Cookie (1999) (Writer)
- Drive Me Crazy (1999) (Screenwriter)
- Veronica Mars (2014) (Writer/director) (Kickstarter Project)
Awards and nominationsEdit
Thomas has been nominated for several Golden Satellite Awards.