Next Gen 2011: Hollywood's Fastest-Rising Stars
One could argue Schwartz, 35, has Stephen Colbert to thank for his career in comedy television. The Colbert Report host, after all, was the Chicago native's first instructor when he enrolled in classes at Second City as teenager. "I didn't have an interest in performing; I wanted to be around comedy and see how everything worked behind the scenes," Schwartz says. He moved west after college and landed his first industry gig as David Lynch's assistant, working on Mulholland Drive, which was being developed as an ABC pilot at the time. Then, as the first web boom was in full swing, he took a job at a startup that produced websites for pro athletes. For the better part of a year, Schwartz was on tour with tennis beauty Anna Kournikova. "It wasn't a bad place to end up when you're a 23-year-old," he says, "but it was a bit odd to be ghost writing for a 16-year-old Russian sex symbol." From there, he moved to an interactive-producer gig at Fox Sports and then on to more traditional roles at Warner Bros. TV and Conan O'Brien's production company, Conaco. In between, the married father of two found a way to monetize his encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture by winning $18,000 on VH1's Rock & Roll Jeopardy. Since joining Olive Bridge, the recently launched shingle from Easy A director Will Gluck, Schwartz has sold seven projects to networks, including a highly sought-after mockumentary-style series from Megamind writers Alan Schoolcraft and Brent Simons.