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Jay Firestone

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Jay Firestone

Jay Firestone was an Executive Producer for the first season of ReBoot.

Growing up in a suburb of Toronto, Ontario, Firestone was the third child of six born to Jewish parents Esther and Paul. He attended Hamilton's McMaster University, graduating in 1979 with a degree in commerce and aspirations to springboard off of accounting into business. After wedding University of Toronto student Sherry Barad and earning his CA a few years later, Firestone joined accounting firm 'Peat, Marwick, Mitchell and Co'.

Firestone found himself disenchanted with the profession of accounting, and left the firm in 1985 to help found 'Alliance Communications' with four of Canada's top producers. Firestone began as chief financial officer, but rose quickly, gaining a reputation as a talented dealmaker and creative businessman. In addition to his role as CFO, Firestone set up a tax-shelter financing arm which made the company plenty of money. He rose to the position of Vice-Chairman, and was the principal dealmaker for the company, overseeing its worldwide operations.

However, Firestone and Lantos had a serious and publicized falling out over the direction of the company, which lead to Firestone's abrupt departure in 1995 and "stunned the Canadian film and television industry." Firestone cashed in his company interests, leaving with respectable film and television credits such as 'ReBoot', for which he received a Gemini Award for "Best Animation Series."

After his departure from Alliance, Firestone was required to honour a one-year non-compete clause that prevented him from taking advantage of the surging Canadian film industry. But days after the clause expired, Firestone made headlines by purchasing 'SkyVision Entertainment' (the film and television production arm of Labatt Breweries of Canada) through his newly created company, 'Fireworks Entertainment, Inc'.

In 'SkyVision', Firestone acquired 170 program episodes, including reality police series "Secret Service", and "RoboCop: The Series", a television series based on the movie of the same name. Firestone and SkyVision also acted on plans for a pilot episode of a series based on the successful "F/X" films.

A year after Fireworks started, the company and its leader had gained a reputation for a quirky but highly effective method of conducting business, approaching $100 million in production through television series "La Femme Nikita", "F/X: The Series" and "Pacific Blue".

Less than a year later, Firestone was able to take Fireworks public in the fall of 1997. The stock offering came after 'Alliance', the company he helped build with Lantos, issued shares of its own in an attempt to capitalize on the increased appetite of investors for stock in Canadiant entertainment companies. The IPO saw about $30 million in shares sold by the company, with shares selling at over 10 times the expected 1997 earnings per share.

A few months after taking Fireworks public, Firestone caught the eye of media magnate Izzy Asper, founder of 'CanWest Global Communications'. In another headline-making move, Firestone sold the company to CanWest for over $60 million, making CanWest the sole shareholder and Firestone the chairman and CEO of 'Canwest Entertainment'.

The deal gave Firestone access to a new pool of resources, and along with his past success earned him worldwide recognition. Firestone was a finalist for the 1998 Ontario Entrepreneur of the Year, and was featured prominently in the news media. Over the next five years Jay was involved in over 20 film and television projects, which furthered his reputation as an intelligent and creative businessman.

Earning credits on films such as "Rat Race", "Hardball" and "Rules of Engagement", as well as successful television shows "Relic Hunter", "Mutant X" and "Andromeda", Firestone cemented his place as one of the world's premier producers and dealmakers. Firestone also received accolades for the independent film The Believer, which won the Saint George prize for "Best Film" at the 23rd Moscow International Film Festival.

Firestone left CanWest in May of 2003 along with Fireworks Pictures president Daniel Diamond, and was replaced by Gerry Noble, former CEO of Global TV. Firestone had a one year non-compete clause, which he honoured. Jay is presently working to make a television series out of the popular comic book series "XIII". His current project is done under the name 'Prodigy Pictures', his most recently founded company.

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