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Dick Cavett’s Watergate
Panelist Biographies
Air date: 08/08/2014

Dick Cavett’s Watergate


TCA Panelists Biographies



Dick Cavett


In 1968 ABC signed Dick Cavett as the host of a morning talk show, which eventually led ABC to give Cavett his own late-night program opposite The Tonight Show. Cavett was the host of The Dick Cavett Show, which won three Emmys and aired on ABC from 1968 to 1975 and on PBS from 1977 to 1982. He also hosted talk shows on the USA, HBO, and CNBC cable networks. The Dick Cavett Show aired for six seasons on CNBC. He hosted many other shows, including Faces of Japan, a series for PBS, as well as two HBO specials on magic and three HBO series: Time Was, Yesteryear, and Remember When. He appears frequently on Imus in the Morning, HuffPost Live and other interview programs, including Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and The Dave Hill Explosion; he was nominated for his eleventh Emmy Award in 2012 for the HBO comedy special Mel Brooks and Dick Cavett Together Again. 

Dick Cavett was born in Kearney, Nebraska, in 1936. Growing up in Lincoln, Nebraska, Cavett won national fame as a trophy-winning teenage magician and was a state champion in gymnastics on the pommel horse. In 1954, he earned a scholarship to Yale University, where he majored in English and drama. At Yale he appeared in numerous radio and stage productions, while spending his summers working at the Oregon and Stratford (Connecticut) Shakespeare Festivals and the Williamstown (Massachusetts) Theatre Festival.

He enjoyed making numerous appearances with his fellow Nebraskan and friend Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show, where he started as a joke writer for Jack Paar. Twice the host of Saturday Night Live, he also appeared on two Kraft comedy specials with George Burns and Groucho Marx, and over the years he has made guest appearances on such television programs as The Odd Couple, Cheers, Kate & Allie, Kraft Music Hall, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Carol Burnett Show, The Dean Martin Show, The Bob Hope Show, The Simpsons, All My Children, The Edge of Night, HBO’s Bored to Death, and TBS’ Are We There Yet? 

He is renowned for his success on game shows in their golden age. He was the host of the highly controversial VD Blues in the early ’70s on PBS.  He has appeared in a dozen feature films, including Beetlejuice and Forrest Gump. More recently, he has appeared on many of the current radio and television interview shows, and is frequently sought for voice-over and emcee work.

On the stage, Cavett made his Broadway debut in 1977 playing the leading role in Otherwise Engaged, a British comedy by Simon Gray. Cavett returned to Broadway in 1988 in the role of the narrator in Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods. From October 2000 through January of 2002 Cavett appeared as the narrator in the Broadway production of The Rocky Horror Show. He starred in an off-Broadway production of Hellman v. McCarthy in 2014.

In addition to his performing career, Cavett has — in collaboration with Christopher Porterfield — written two books: Cavett (1974) and Eye on Cavett (1983).  His latest book, published November 2010, is Talk Show: Confrontations, Pointed Commentary, and Off-Screen Secrets. A new book, Brief Encounters: Conversations, Magic Moments, and Assorted Hijinks, will come out later in 2014His work has been widely published in The New Yorker, TV Guide, Vanity Fair, and elsewhere.  Cavett has written an online opinion column for the New York Times since 2007.

Cavett lives in New York City and Montauk, New York, with his wife, Martha Rogers, Ph.D., and his adorable shelter dog, Riley.


Timothy Naftali



Timothy Naftali is the head of Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives at New York University. Naftali was director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, a division of the National Archives and Records Administration.

As the first director of the federal Nixon Library, Naftali oversaw the release of an estimated 1.3 million pages of presidential materials and 600 hours of Nixon tapes and the creation of nearly 150 video oral histories. He wrote and curated the library’s widely praised multi-media Watergate Gallery, which opened in 2011.

A native of Montreal, Naftali holds a B.A. from Yale, an M.A. in American Foreign Policy and International Economics from Johns Hopkins, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in history from Harvard. He has taught at the University of Hawaii, Yale, the University of Virginia, and is currently an Adjunct Associate Professor at NYU. At the University of Virginia, he was the founding director of the Presidential Recordings Program at the Miller Center of Public Affairs, which transcribes and analyzes the John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon tapes.

Naftali is currently completing a presidential biography of John F. Kennedy. He is the author or co-author of four books, including One Hell of a Gamble: Khrushchev, Castro and Kennedy, 1958-1964; Blind Spot: The Secret History of American Counterterrorism; George H.W. Bush: The American Presidents Series: The 41st President, 1989-1993; and Khrushchev’s Cold War: The Inside Story of an American Adversary, which won the Duke of Westminster medal for military literature in 2007.


John Scheinfeld



Emmy®, Grammy® and Writers Guild Award nominee and Telly Award-winner John Scheinfeld is a respected documentary filmmaker who brings a broad spectrum of experiences and interests to pop culture, music, historical and spiritual projects for theatrical exhibition, cable and broadcast television.

Currently in pre-production on a theatrical documentary about jazz legend John Coltrane, Scheinfeld recently finished directing, writing and producing I Hope You Dance: The Power and Spirit of Song, the first theatrical documentary about how one extraordinary song has transformed people’s lives. It is set for national release in 2014.

Previously, his film Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him?), a wildly entertaining, star-studded documentary about one of the most talented and uncompromising singer-songwriters in pop music history, played in theaters across the country. This film, for which Scheinfeld was nominated for a prestigious Writers Guild Award, and for which USA Today named him one of the Top 100 Pop Culture People of the Year, was subsequently released internationally.

That same year, a second Scheinfeld theatrical documentary was released. We Believe is an exuberant celebration of hope, loyalty, faith and the extraordinary love affair between a great city, Chicago, and its baseball team, the Cubs.

Prior to that, Scheinfeld directed, wrote and produced the theatrical documentary The U.S. vs. John Lennon. It was an official selection of the Venice Film Festival, the Telluride Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival and the London Film Festival and was subsequently released in theaters worldwide and on DVD. It was also the recipient of the FOCAL International Award for Best Use of Archival Footage in a Feature/Factual Production.

On the heels of a Grammy® nomination for producing Beautiful Dreamer: Brian Wilson and the Story of SMiLE, Scheinfeld wrote, produced and directed Electric Youth: Teen Stars in the Music Business, a two-hour special for A&E, for which he received an Emmy® nomination as writer. In addition, with David Leaf, he directed, wrote and produced an eight-hour exploration of the TV shows of Norman Lear for Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Previously, he directed, wrote and produced No Fighting in the War Room… or… Dr. Strangelove and The Nuclear Threat, as well as critically acclaimed documentaries for National Geographic, Tomb of Jesus and In the Name of Heaven.

During his career, Scheinfeld has written, produced or directed numerous documentaries and retrospectives for cable and public television about show business legends such as the Bee Gees, Rosemary Clooney, Nat “King” Cole, Jimmy Durante, Bob Hope, Dean Martin, the Marx Brothers, Ricky Nelson, Jack Paar, Peter Sellers, Frank Sinatra, The Sphinx, Stonehenge, Andy Williams and Jonathan Winters.

He has also created and written pilot scripts for drama series for ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, UPN and Nickelodeon.


Stephen Segaller

Vice President, Programming


Stephen Segaller oversees all national programming from WNET’s producing subsidiaries – THIRTEEN, WLIW21 and Creative News Group. Among these productions are: Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Secrets of the Dead, PBS NewsHour Weekend, Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, Cyberchase, NYCArts, and Reel 13; and documentary series featuring Henry Louis Gates Jr., Niall Ferguson, Simon Schama and Alan Alda among others.

At WNET, he has executive-produced PBS documentary series such as Ascent of Money and The War of the World, both with Niall Ferguson; Extreme Oil; Red Gold: The Epic Story of Blood; individual documentaries such as Srebrenica – A Cry From The Grave; David Grubin’s Kofi Annan: Center of the Storm; Walter Cronkite’s last two documentaries City At War: London Calling and Legacy of War; the films of Frederick Wiseman; films by Roger Weisberg including the Academy Award-nominated Sound and Fury; Worse Than War with Daniel Goldhagen, directed by Mike DeWitt; Orchestra of Exiles by Josh Aronson; It’s A Hard Knock Life: Annie by Joshua Seftel; and Shakespeare Uncovered, produced by Richard Denton. This unique series brings the personal passions of its celebrated hosts to tell the stories behind Shakespeare’s greatest plays.

He created the international documentary series Wide Angle and the investigative journalism series Exposē for PBS. In 2011, he was Executive-in-charge of the multiple award-winning documentary series Women, War & Peace – produced by Abigail Disney, Gini Reticker and Pamela Hogan – the first series ever to consider war, conflict and peacemaking from the point of view of women as combatants, casualties and peacemakers.

In 2013, Segaller helped oversee the expansion of the PBS NewsHour broadcast tradition with a PBS NewsHour Weekend newscast on both Saturday and Sunday. The half-hour program is anchored by Hari Sreenivasan and produced at the Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center.