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Inside Man

Inside Man


As segment producer for Monday Night Football, Matt Brady infiltrated sports' biggest boys' club -- and lived to tell about it.

Remember that Super Bowl XXXVIII opener with Arnold Schwarzenegger? What about that infamous "Towelgate" teaser, where Nicollette Sheridan dropped her towel for Terrell Owens? If so, you have producer Matt Brady to thank.

Brady is an old-school Hollywood success story--a sweet kid from the suburbs arrives in La-La Land hoping to make it big...and actually does. A former celebrity assistant and location scout, Brady, 30, is the head of MRB Productions, a television production company that's become known for its openers, spots, and teasers for such clients as ESPN, the ESPY Awards, and Monday Night Football. Brady has been nominated for four Emmys and won two, and he's made his name amid the sweat and testosterone of the locker room--not exactly the most likely spot for a gay producer. But forging fresh ground with little inhibition is one of Brady's fortes.

So tell us a bit about how you got started. Growing up on the East Coast, what made you want to work in Hollywood?

I grew up in Connecticut. And by the time I got to college, in Virginia, I was all "small-towned" out. I decided I was going to move to L.A. for the summer, and so I called every company I could and sent my resume to every entertainment temp agency in town. I came in on a Monday, and on Wednesday I interviewed to be a personal assistant to Randy Quaid. That was my first job. It was supposed to be only for a week, but it ended up being a year and a half. It was fun; it was like boot camp for the Hollywood uninitiated. It wasn't a sit-back-and-relax job, but I learned so much and I learned firsthand. It wasn't like being a [personal assistant] in an office where you're on the 25th rung. Randy and his wife were producing, working on so much stuff, and when you work for a celebrity, you're the direct liaison. So I had big agents and big managers calling me. It was a trial by fire. On the other hand, I moved here on a Monday and a week later was the Mission: Impossible premiere, and Randy and his wife gave me their tickets. I remember being on Rodeo Drive searching for an outfit for the premiere and just thinking, I can't believe it! I'm really here! I instantly thought, There's no way now I'm ever going home. People might think I just got lucky somehow, but I planned it and I worked my ass off.

And from there, how did you end up getting so involved in the world of sports programming?

I started working the opening segments for the ESPYs and the ESPN short films, the pre-tapes that air during the show. One of the main bosses left and went to Monday Night Football, and he asked me to come on and produce all the short format--which was amazing because there are all these celebrities involved and a huge viewership, and every week it was something new. Twenty million people are watching. It's been great and it honed my producing chops very quickly--you would find out the talent and the location and then, a few days later, it was on the air.

It seems an unlikely world to find you in. Have you had any problems being out in a world where that's somewhat unusual?

I have been so lucky; I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. I feel like I'm the token gay in a lot of those situations, because it's not unfriendly by any means, but it's not a very gay environment. I mean, some of the shoots tend to lean that way because of the hair and makeup and stylists, but when I'm at ESPN in the football meeting, [there are] definitely not a lot of other out men in the room. I try to be...I don't know if "role model" is the right word, but a lot of people just don't know any gay people, and that's the issue--like "I don't have any black friends." I want everyone to think, He's so cool, and so maybe that other gay guy is cool too. I haven't had any bad coming-out experiences. I'm also not making out with guys on set in a pair of chaps. I'm definitely not the Norma Rae of the gay producing world, but if I do a good job and everyone likes me, maybe things will change at least a little bit.

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