Ronald D. Moore
Moore at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con International
|Born||Ronald Dowl Moore|
July 5, 1964
Chowchilla, California, U.S.
|Occupation||Screenwriter, television producer|
|Alma mater||Cornell University|
|Genre||Drama, science fiction|
|Notable works||Star Trek: TNG|
Star Trek: DS9
Ronald Dowl Moore (born July 5, 1964) is an American screenwriter and television producer. He is best known for his work on Star Trek; on the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica television series, for which he won a Peabody Award; and on Outlander, based on the novels of Diana Gabaldon.
Moore was raised in Chowchilla, California. He describes himself as a 'recovering Catholic' and is agnostic. Moore dabbled in writing and drama in high school. He went on to study government (political science) at Cornell University, where he was Literary Secretary of The Kappa Alpha Society, originally on a Navy ROTC scholarship, but left during his senior year in the spring of 1986 after losing interest in his studies. He later completed his degree through Regents College. He served for one month during the summer of his freshman year on the frigate USS W. S. Sims.
Moore spent the next three years drifting between various odd jobs and temporary work. As Moore himself recounted in the book, Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, by the fall of 1986, he was "less than a year into my career as a college dropout ... working as a medical records technician (otherwise known as a receptionist) at an animal hospital, all the while telling myself that I was actually a professional writer simply awaiting my inevitable discovery."
In 1988, he toured the Star Trek: The Next Generation sets during the filming of the episode "Time Squared." While there, he passed a script he had written to one of Gene Roddenberry's assistants, who helped him get an agent who submitted the script through proper channels. About seven months later, executive producer Michael Piller read the script and bought it; it became the third season episode "The Bonding." Based on that script he was offered the opportunity to write a second script and that led to a staff position as a script or. Two years later, he was promoted to co-producer, then producer for the series' final year (1994).
Moore wrote a number of episodes that developed the Klingon race and culture, starting with "Sins of the Father" which introduced the Klingon home world, the Klingon High Council and the Klingon Chancellor and continuing with "Reunion," "Redemption, Part 1 and 2," "Ethics" and "Rightful Heir." He is cred with writing or co-writing 27 Next Generation episodes.
He co-wrote several episodes with Brannon Braga, developing a successful working relationship that led to them being offered the chance to write the series television finale, "All Good Things..." (which won the 1995 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation). The series also received an Emmy Award nomination in its final year for Outstanding Drama Series, losing to Picket Fences. The pair also wrote the screenplay for the Next Generation crew's first two big screen appearances, Star Trek Generations and Star Trek: First Contact.
Moore then joined the production staff of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine for its third season as a supervising producer, being promoted to a co-executive producer position for the series' final two years. During this time he also worked again with Braga on the script for the second Next Generation motion picture, Star Trek: First Contact and on a draft of the Mission: Impossible 2 script that was re-written by Robert Towne for which they received a "story by" cr.
During his time on Deep Space Nine, he continued to write episodes that expanded on Klingon culture such as "The House of Quark", "Sons of Mogh", "Rules of Engagement", "Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places", "Soldiers of the Empire", "You Are Cordially Invited..." and "Once More Unto the Breach". He also wrote episodes that dealt with controversial subjects such as genetic engineering ("Doctor Bashir, I Presume?"), co-wrote the episode that featured Star Trek's first same-sex kiss ("Rejoined") and killed off another popular character, Vedek Bareil Antos ("Life Support").
During his time on Deep Space Nine, he also made an effort to engage with fans; frequently posting on AOL forums where he would answer fan questions or address their concerns about the show, a practice he continued with Battlestar Galactica through his weblog and in his podcasts.
With the end of Deep Space Nine in 1999, Moore transferred over to the production staff of Star Trek: Voyager at the start of its sixth season, where his writing partner Braga was executive producer. However, Moore left Voyager only a matter of weeks later, with "Survival Instinct" and "Barge of the Dead" as his only crs. In a January 2000 interview for Cinescape magazine, Moore cited problems in his working relationship with Braga for his short stay:
I have very hurt feelings about Brannon. What happened between me and him is just between he and I [sic]. It was a breakdown of trust. I would have quit any show where I was not allowed to participate in the process like that. I wasn't allowed to participate in the process, and I wasn't part of the show. I felt like I was freelancing my own show. ... I was very disappointed that my long-time friend and writing partner acted in that manner, that crossed lines to the point where I felt like I had to walk away from Star Trek, which was something that meant a lot to me for a very long time, from my childhood right through my entire professional career.
Moore and Braga can be heard talking together on the commentary tracks for the DVD release of Star Trek Generations and Star Trek: First Contact.
After leaving Voyager, Moore briefly worked as a consulting producer on Good vs Evil before joining Roswell as a co-executive producer and staff writer at the start of its second season in 2000. Moore and series creator Jason Katims jointly ran Roswell until the show ended in 2002. Moore wrote some of the show's most popular episodes, including "Ask Not" and the series finale "Graduation," which he co-wrote with Katims. He also wrote the episode "Cry Your Name."
During this time, Moore also developed a pilot based on Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern for The WB, but production on the project was halted due to 'creative differences' between Moore and the network. The network tried changing the story (without Moore's approval) until it didn't resemble the original book series. Moore was an original fan of the books, and refused to continue working on the pilot with the changes being made.
In 2002, David Eick (whom Moore worked with on Good vs Evil) approached Moore about a new four-hour Battlestar Galactica mini-series for Universal. Moore developed the mini-series with Eick, writing the scripts and updating the old series, also developing a back-story that could work for a regular weekly series should the mini-series be successful. At the same time, Moore was approached by HBO about running a new television series called Carnivàle; however they decided to offer the position to Henry Bromell instead and offered Moore a consultant position on the writing staff. He accepted, but then Bromell left soon after production started and Moore became show runner. While Moore worked on the first year of Carnivàle, Eick ran the day-to-day production of the Galactica mini-series in Canada. Galactica aired in 2003 and became the highest-rated miniseries on cable that year and the best ratings that year for any show on Sci-Fi. After Carnivàle reached the end of its first season and the Sci-Fi Channel ordered a thirteen-episode weekly series of Galactica, Moore left Carnivàle to assume a full-time executive producer role on Galactica.
The weekly Galactica television series debuted in October 2004 in the United Kingdom and January 2005 in the United States and Canada. Moore wrote the first two episodes of the new series, with the first episode "33" winning the 2005 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form, the second that Moore has received during his career. In 2007, Moore was nominated once again for an Emmy Award for writing the episodes "Occupation" and "Precipice," which aired together as the third season opener.
In April 2006, Battlestar Galactica was among the winners of the 65th Annual Peabody Awards; Moore was among the writers and producers cited for "plotlines that are deeply personal and relatable, while never compromising their affinity and passion for science fiction."
Moore was quite vocal about the 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America strike, as his Battlestar Galactica series was one of the major flashpoints leading to the strike. Starting in August 2006, the Writers Guild ordered production to cease on the Battlestar Galactica: The Resistance series of webisodes which had been produced as a link between the show's second and third seasons. Tension over this would last throughout the third season. Battlestar Galactica was, along with other popular series such as Lost and Heroes, one of the shows at the forefront of the debate over "new media" revenues, as the series is extensively downloaded from iTunes and recoups much of its production costs from high DVD sales as opposed to direct ratings. It was also among the most heavily time-shifted series on television, which the Nielsen ratings system does not count.
Moore's directorial debut was scheduled to be the first episode of Battlestar Galactica following the final season's mid-season cliffhanger, which he would also have written. Though the writers' strike did halt production on the fourth season of Battlestar Galactica, work did resume and the show concluded on March 20, 2009. When the Writers Guild began their strike, Moore felt it was inappropriate to continue to communicate to fans using the "official" blog he maintained on the Scifi Channel website. As a result, he chose to start a personal website and blog, rondmoore.com, so that he could continue to freely comment on the situation without violating the terms of his membership in the Writers Guild. When the strike ended, Moore continued his commentary via his personal web site and blog.
With the success of Battlestar Galactica, the Sci Fi Channel announced in April 2006 that Moore and Eick would be producing a spin-off called Caprica with 24 scriptwriter Remi Aubuchon and NBC Universal Television Studio. Moore later said in interviews that he and Eick had begun toying with the idea of a spinoff series as early as the beginning of the second season, however. The show is set 58 years before the events of Battlestar Galactica and depicts the creation of the Cylon race and the emergence of a terrorist group which apparently worships the same monotheistic god later worshipped by the Cylons.
The Caprica series premiere was released on DVD in 2009; it began airing in January 2010. Moore contributed to the pilot made-for-TV movie, then handed off control to new head writer Jane Espenson. Syfy abruptly canceled the show mid-run on October 27, 2010, before its first season had finished airing, citing low ratings. The remaining five episodes, of the twenty produced for season one, were burned off in a marathon on January 4, 2011.
In April 2009, Moore, along with several other Battlestar Galactica alumni, made a cameo appearance in the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episode "A Space Oddity." The episode was directed by Michael Nankin (who directed a number of Galactica episodes), written by Bradley Thompson and David Weddle (who both started their TV writing careers on Deep Space Nine, and worked as writer/producers on Galactica) and based on a story by Naren Shankar (who went to school with Moore and started his writing career on Star Trek: The Next Generation). In the episode, Moore has one line of dialogue as he portrays an irate audience member at a science fiction convention, yelling at the (fictional) producer of a dark-and-gritty remake of a beloved cult series. Several of his Battlestar Galactica colleagues including Grace Park and Rekha Sharma appear in non-speaking cameos, while Kate Vernon is a major guest star in the episode.
Moore also developed a pilot for Fox called Virtuality. It aired on June 26, 2009, and was not picked up. Virtuality was the first show developed under the banner of Moore's new personal production company, "Tall Ship Productions".
Moore worked on the script for the companion/prequel film of the 1982 John Carpenter film, The Thing, which itself was a remake of the 1951 film The Thing From Another World (based on John W. Campbell's short story "Who Goes There?"). His screenplay was scrapped late in 2009 and rewritten by Eric Heisserer, writer of the 2010 A Nightmare on Elm Street. The Thing began production in March 2010 and was released in October 2011.
In March 2010, following the mixed reception of the first half of Caprica's first season, SyFy channel approached Moore to produce another Battlestar Galactica spin-off. The show was entitled Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome, and was to feature a young William Adama's experiences in the First Cylon War. The series was originally designed as a series of webisodes, but with the cancellation of Caprica, Blood & Chrome was slated to become a full television series without any direct involvement from Moore.
In May 2010, Moore signed a two-year deal with Sony Pictures TV to create and executive produce series projects for broadcast and cable through his production company, Tall Ship Productions. By late 2010 this resulted two of Moore's pitches being purchased by major TV networks for potential development into pilot episodes. The first is a remake of The Wild Wild West, purchased by CBS, in which Moore would partner with CSI executive producer Naren Shankar, and to be produced in conjunction between CBS TV Studios and Sony Pictures TV. The second is The McCulloch, purchased by NBC, an action-adventure series focusing on the crew of a US Coast Guard vessel as they travel the world, to be co-produced by NBC-Universal and Sony. As of December 2011, it is not clear if either of these two project was ever given a green light, or if pilot episodes were produced.
Moore developed a series for NBC in 2011 which had been described as "Harry Potter for grown-ups," and it was confirmed on March 3, 2011 that the new show would be called 17th Precinct. Tricia Helfer, Jamie Bamber, and James Callis had signed up for the new series which will center around cops at the local 17th Precinct in the fictional city of Excelsior, with Moore writing the pilot. On May 13, 2011 it was confirmed that NBC had decided not to pick up the series, and to date the pilot episode has never been aired publicly.
On August 30, 2011, it was announced that ABC bought Moore's pitch for Hangtown, a Western drama series. Hangtown is the third potential venture to be attempted under the deal between Moore's production company, Tall Ship Productions, and Sony Pictures TV. The series was co-created by Ron D. Moore and former Caprica writer Matt Roberts. Hangtown is described as "a Western with procedural elements" that takes place in a frontier town in the early 1900s grappling with the development of the railroad. The potential series would revolve around the town's old-fashioned veteran marshal who solves crimes by drawing on instinct and experience, who butt heads with the young new East Coast crime-solving doctor who relies on emerging forensics and rational inquiry. Added to the mix is a young female writer who has come to the west to write pulp stories about stereotyped "Wild West" crime, to send back to big city dime-novel publishers back East. Tall Ship Productions announced via their Twitter-feed on October 18, 2011, that Justin Lin, director of several films in The Fast and the Furious franchise, had signed on to direct a potential pilot episode of Hangtown, in the event that ABC officially orders it. However, The Hollywood Reporter and Wired.com pointed out that Hangtown would be facing stiff competition, as a half-dozen other potential Western series were currently in development from all major networks as well as several cable channels, as part of a general wave of revitalized interest in the genre. (Apart from AMC's Western-genre series Hell On Wheels, which had already garnered critical praise after its premiere in November 2011, TNT was developing the series Gateway, CBS was developing Ralph Lamb, and NBC was developing an as-yet untitled Western from Friday Night Lights producer Peter Berg. Moreover, ABC itself was already developing another Western series, Gunslinger, which might affect its choice of whether to pick up a second Western show produced by Moore, similar to how a wave of new fantasy-genre series were pitched to major networks in early 2011, such as ABC's Once Upon a Time, and NBC was faced with two potential fantasy series, Grimm or Moore's own 17th Precinct. Due to this heavy competition, NBC chose not to pick up 17th Precinct for a full series.) In an interview with Wire.com on September 29, 2012, Moore was asked about the status of his proposed Western series The Wild Wild West (reboot for CBS) and Hangtown (for ABC), and stated that the projects had been cancelled. Moore said, "Yeah, ABC decided not to go with it. That was very frustrating. They made a strategic decision that they didn’t want to do a Western, period. Because they said they loved the script and the characters, and said they bought three Westerns because they were so committed to it. But at some point, they just got cold feet and said they weren’t going to do Westerns after all, which was really disappointing."
Moore had a cameo appearance in a Battlestar Galactica-themed sketch of the Portlandia episode entitled "One Moore Episode," (which premiered January 13, 2012) where he plays an unknown actor who has never seen Battlestar Galactica. The episode also features a character named Ronald D. Moore who is mistaken for the TV producer.
On November 11, 2011, scifi news website io9.com ran an orial about Moore, lamenting that "none of his post-BSG projects has really taken off. It's been a couple years since Moore's writing has appeared on our screens."
On September 21, 2012, AintItCool.com reported that Moore had been signed by ABC to script a pilot episode for a potential series based on the 2001 film A Knight's Tale, as part of a new direction by ABC to capitalize on the trend towards fantasy or medieval fantasy series started by the network's new hit series Once Upon a Time. The potential TV series would anachronistically use a soundtrack full of rock'n'roll hits, as the movie did.
On January 16, 2013, Deadline announced that Moore would return to the SyFy Channel as executive producer  of a new series Helix. The project was "written on spec" by Cameron Porsandeh. Helix is described as being "about a team of scientists investigating a possible disease outbreak at an Arctic research facility who find themselves trying to protect the world from annihilation." SyFy Channel made a 13-episode direct-to-series order (i.e., without waiting to produce a pilot episode), and it began airing on SyFy on January 10, 2014. While the marketing campaign for the TV series heavily billed Moore's involvement in the project, he only contributed as a consultant at the opening pitch meetings, and was not the creator or showrunner – thus his actual involvement in the project was very limited. The series was cancelled after two seasons after the second season scored record low ratings.
In July 2012, io9.com reported that Moore had started developing a TV adaptation of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander book series. On November 6, 2012, Deadline reported that the premium subscription channel Starz had closed a deal to produce and air the series. The show began its first run on August 9, 2014 and was renewed for its second season which was based on Dragonfly in Amber, the second novel in the eight-book series. He was joined on the production by a fellow Deep Space Nine contributor, producer Ira Steven Behr.
The second season, consisting of 13 episodes, premiered on April 9, 2016. On June 1, 2016, Starz renewed the series for a third and fourth season, which will adapt the third and fourth Outlander novels, Voyager and Drums of Autumn.
A belated, brilliantly re-imagined revival of a so-so 1970s outer-space saga, the series about imperiled survivors of a besieged planet has revitalized sci-fi television with its parallax considerations of politics, religion, sex, even what it means to be "human."
Writers Ronald D. Moore, Toni Graphia, David Weddle, Bradley Thompson, Carla Robinson, Jeff Vlaming, Michael Angeli, and David Eick take full advantage to give us plotlines that are deeply personal and relatable, while never compromising their affinity and passion for science fiction. Moore, Graphia, and Eick are the executive producers.
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