James Blue is a seasoned, award-winning television and documentary producer and executive. He is the owner and chief creative oﬃcer of Storyboard Pictures, a New York-based production company. In July, the company executive produced the inaugural United Justice Coalition Summit for Jay Z’s Rocnation. James most recently served as Head of Smithsonian Channel and Senior Vice President of MTV News and Documentaries within Paramount Global’s MTV Entertainment Group. Under his leadership, Smithsonian Channel partnered with Oprah Winfrey’s HARPO Productions on The Color of Care, a multi-platform documentary project on racial disparities – exposed by the COVID crisis – in the delivery of healthcare in the United States. James and his team created a number of programs currently in production including The Exhibit, an art competition reality show produced in partnership with the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. For Smithsonian Channel and the MTV Entertainment Group, James oversaw the development of some 150 annual hours of documentary and informational programming.
James previously served as a senior executive at PBS NewsHour. In that role, overseeing the editorial and production of all NewsHour specials, he extended the NewsHour brand across platforms by creating television programs and events (live and virtual), and served as the executive producer’s primary deputy for the daily broadcast. James conceived and created PBS’ primetime arts show, Beyond the CANVAS, hosted by NewsHour’s Amna Nawaz, now in its third season. James also oversaw several NewsHour reporting initiatives including Searching for Justice , Race Matters , Chasing the Dream, Brief But Spectacular, CANVAS a thrice-weekly arts and culture series and #IMHO, a series of video essays.
During the 2020 and 2016 election cycles, James senior produced the PBS NewsHour Democratic presidential primary debates. He also serves as executive-in-charge of a series of PBS primetime documentaries and specials including Tell Me More with Kelly Corrigan. James also created and sold two series: That Moment When and Let Me Explain to Facebook Watch. James has a proven track record of creating award winning television, groundbreaking events, and entertaining content that is editorially relevant. During the 2012 election cycle, James was executive producer of BET Networks’ political broadcasts including exclusive interviews with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama as well as extensive coverage of Republican nominee, Mitt Romney.
James is a graduate of Princeton University’s School of Public and International Aﬀairs. Prior to starting his own ﬁrm, he served as a producer in the Koppel Group at the Discovery Channel. His debut documentary for Discovery, Iran – Most Dangerous Nation, won an Emmy Award for best long-form program. James worked the preceding 14 years as a producer for ABC News and NBC News. He has reported extensively overseas and was twice assigned to ABC News’ London bureau. During his ﬁnal assignment for ABC News, James served as Nightline London editor.
Over the course of his career, James has won every major award including eight national Emmy awards; three Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Awards; six George Foster Peabody Awards; two Overseas Press Club Awards; the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism; and the NABJ Award for Overall Excellence.
James has served as an adjunct assistant professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He currently serves as a trustee of Baltimore’s Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and Kieve Wavus Education in Damariscotta, Maine. He is a member of the National Television Academy, the Overseas Press Club, the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and the Kenyon College Parents Advisory Council. Married and the father of two college-aged children, Mr. Blue resides with his family in New York City and Craftsbury, Vermont.