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Jan S. Rifkinson
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Jan Rifkinson, the son of a Neurosurgeon, was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico; he is bilingual. As a slight departure, he decided to pursue a career in television. (It’s not brain surgery, you know.)

Rifkinson started at CBS News in the late sixties where he received his editorial background and production experience. He became known for his thoughtful use of new technologies. He established that reputation as Director/Producer of ABC’s Good Morning America.

Roone Arledge, as president of ABC News, asked Rifkinson to join his network’s news department as Director/Producer of 20/20. Rifkinson changed 20/20 into an innovative production and helped mold the broadcast’s opening sequence into a high energy weekly creation that combined news clips, video animations, sound effects and other materials for dramatic impact. This type of opening sequence became a model for subsequent newsmagazines.

During his five years as Director/Producer of 20/20, the program rose to Number one in the ratings.

His body of work is represented by 4,000 hours of television; many on them live before large network audiences. Major credits include live and taped news and entertainment specials for ABC, CBS, PBS, TNT, Disney and Tribune. This includes network, syndicated and cable distribution. He also lent a directorial hand in Sesame Street, That’s Incredible and a host of pilots.

As an independent, Rifkinson has continued to direct/produce television specials and pilots for the past fifteen years. He has also worked in other capacities.

For CNBC, reporting to the president of that network, he played a substantive role in launching CNBC. His responsibilities focused on making sure that all technical and production elements met the production needs of a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week broadcast operation. This included articulating CNBC’s original look & sound: graphics, logos, animations, themes and overseeing their production as well as selecting every director, graphic artist and art director. Jack Welsh, GE chairman, called it the "smoothest startup" he had ever seen.

Rifkinson is developing several electronic sites and several television projects, including a series of two-hour movies for television based on a book series he owns to be entitled Santos and produced in Puerto Rico.

Jan and Carol Rifkinson and their Bouviers, Truman & Sabrina live in Ridgefield, CT.

Selected Credits

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