Brian Unger grew up in a small Ohio town called Granville. It's a conservative town. The kind of town where George W. Bush would feel right at home. That's why he left. As a child, Brian recognized signs of intelligent life beyond Ohio. Each night, after spitting the chewed remains of his mother's hamloaf into a napkin, he would race from the dinner table to watch Walter Cronkite on the CBS Evening News.
Eventually, images of the omniscient, trustworthy Cronkite beckoned Brian to a strange, faraway land called New York City.
So Unger got himself some shoes and began interning at Late Night with David Letterman while studying journalism at Ohio University. Late Night taught him valuable lessons about the rigors of television production: how to retrieve lunch for David Letterman, how to Christmas shop for David Letterman, how to assemble a bed for David Letterman, and, finally, how to sit for weeks in a cold, empty loft waiting for David Letterman's cable guy to show up.
After receiving his degree, opportunity finally came knocking - he was offered a position as an associate producer on a parenting series at Lifetime Television, The Women's Network. As a bachelor in his 20s, Unger was almost overqualified. This naturally led to a full-time gig as producer of Lifetime's Obstetrics & Gynecology Update. His 26 episodes on matters ranging from myomas and premature labor to vaginal inflation during hysteroscopy remain some of the most groundbreaking in the network's history.
Unger eventually decided to lease his soul to the Maury Povich show, where he met the host's wife, news anchor Connie Chung. Without sacrificing his dignity, Unger groveled, whined and pleaded for a shot at his boyhood dream: CBS News. And Murrow wept.
Unger started at Chung's news magazine, Eye to Eye, where he produced and wrote stories for Chung, Charles Kuralt, Bill Geist and other correspondents, and contributed to special events coverage like elections and the O.J. Simpson trial.
After months of sifting through Kato Kaelin's garbage and stalking excused Simpson jurors in South Central L.A., Unger convinced his misguided bosses to let him step in front of the camera. He worked at the CBS syndicated news program Day & Date as an on-air correspondent and producer for nearly a year before abandoning his future and medical benefits to join Comedy Central's The Daily Show as a producer and correspondent in 1996.
Unger pioneered the show's satirical news reports of confused people and confusing events from around the country.
After three years at The Daily Show, Unger departed for E!'s Talk Soup, NBC's Later, VH-1, CNN, the Food Network, Comedy Central's The Man Show, and anyone else who would pay him. He also wrote humor pieces for the New York Times, the Washington Post and, naturally, Jane magazine.
Despite earning a basic-cable salary, Unger was listed as one of the 100 Most Creative People In Entertainment in 1998 by Entertainment Weekly magazine. All this helped Unger land coveted jobs as the national spokesman for Yoo-hoo chocolate drink and Eggo Waffles, and the unforgettable role of "Panda Claus" for Sprint long distance.
But Unger hasn't rested on his promotional laurels. In 2000, he produced and starred in a comedy pilot for Fox Television called This Week Has 7 Days, acted in another Fox comedy pilot, #1 Show in America, and hosted a fictional series for E!, Hollywood Offramp.
Since developing projects with his business partner, Daily Show co-creator Lizz Winstead, under their Payload Industries shingle, Unger has appeared in Three Sisters and Just Shoot Me for NBC.
Courtesy of "O2Be" and the Oxygen Network