As one of the first producers of material for the alternative television market, Lewis continues to produce TV shows that stretch the boundaries of the medium beyond the conventional programming of standard broadcasters. In a field where innovation is often discouraged, Lewis has nonetheless managed extraordinary success. He is now known for independent features, art action pieces and award winning action adventure productions for the family.

A native of Cleveland, Lewis attended Amherst College, studying cultural history and graduating with the highest honors after writing his thesis on televisions impact on political consciousness in the mass society. He worked his way through college, spending summers in the Cleveland steel mills and winter vacations working on merchant vessels, traveling the world. Following college he joined the Peace Corps.

In the mid-70’s, he became artistic director of the Long Beach Performing Arts Centre. He produced a series of plays starring, among others, Stockyard Channing, Jill Clayburgh, Stacey Keach, James Whitmore and Eddie Albert.

He started his television career with a series of variety shows and “The Hitchhiker Series” for HBO. Lewis conceived the show, its style, look and direction, and brought together the main creative elements, including Academy Award nominated writers, actors, and internationally prominent directors. One of the most enduring aspects of Lewis’ efforts during The Hitchhiker was the encouragement of industry acceptance of cable programming as a venue to showcase top film directors and actors such as Paul Verhoeven, Phillip Noyce, Wayne Wang, WIllem Dafoe, Klaus Kiski, Kirstie Alley and Helen Hunt. The Hitchhiker became HBO’s first truly successful dramatic series and went on to be nominated for over twenty-five Cable Ace awards, winning nine.

 

 

Lewis later joined MGM TV as a producer where he developed and produced movies and series including The Edge which also featured some of the industry’s leading screenwriters, feature directors and actors including Nicholas Kazan, Luis Mandoki, Rutger Hauer, Bridget Fonda, Christian Slater, Kelly Lynch and Patricia Arquette, among others.

In the early-80’s, Lewis was one of the founders of First Choice Canadian Communications (now The Movie Network) and a founding partner in the post-production facility Magnetic North. Since 1989, Lewis has worked in partnership with David M. Perlmutter as Chesler/Perlmutter Productions. Together they have produced many cable features, TV Series and TV Movies for Lifetime, HBO, CBS, UPN, and USA Network among others. They have also co-produced film and TV with all major European countries including the U.K., France, Italy and Germany.

Throughout the years, Lewis has remained interested in dance and the graphic arts. He is a founder of The Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art and is on the board of numerous ballet and modern dance companies, including the Los Angeles County Music Center Dance Association. Lewis has also been appointed to the advisory board for the Sonoma Valley Film Festival and the Dubrovnik International Film Festival.

Lewis Chesler is a Canadian Citizen, primarily residing in Yorkville, Toronto with his wife Fabi.