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The Written Word and the Moving Image

"My father worked as a writer and performer during the experimental early years of live local television in Philadelphia. My mother loved to laugh as much as she loved anything or anyone during her all-too-brief life. A maternal aunt was born with an amazing and odd capacity to recall dates and number of any or no significance. And just about every one of my male ancestors was an unrelenting grammarian. So it seems I was wired from birth to do with my life what it is I've done with it and to become whatever it is I've become.

But DNA met destiny at age 17 when as an incoming senior at Father Judge Catholic High School for Boys in Philadelphia I signed up for an English-language elective titled The Written Word and the Moving Image. Because it opened up my world to both. And I'd guess everything that's made up my world since then -- the early years in print journalism, the decade-and-a-half in network television that followed, the academia posts after that, and now the roles in OTT entertainment, not to mention the endless writing before, during, and since (sometimes for a readership of one)  -- has been the result."


The Sheep Is What Makes It Funny:

From Philadelphia to CBS, How I Found Myself in Television


2015 - pres


  • Media professor, Middle Tennessee State University

  • guest instructor, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Vanderbilt University

  • guest instructor, Nashville Film Institute

  • consultant, NECAT Nashville

  • All in the Decade: 70 Things abut 70s TV That Turned Ten Years Into A Revolution


(Chicago, Philadelphia)

  • adjunct instructor, DePaul University

  • Temple University, Visiting Assistant Professor/Verizon Chair

  • 103 Ways to Get Into TV, Vols. I and II

  • The Sheep Is What Makes It Funny memoir

  • media consultant, guest lecturer


(Los Angeles)

  • Vice-President, CBS Television Network, CBS Television Studio 

  • freelance entertainment journalist

“Jim’s unparalleled knowledge of television gave CBS an invaluable leg up ...”
        -- CBS president Kelly Kahl


“…a near legendary knowledge of prime-time schedules throughout the medium’s history…”
            -- Variety

“There is gold in this Jim McKairnes.”

        --  Norman Lear

Son of an unsung TV pioneer from the experimental live days of 1940s Philadelphia ... Follows a presumed destiny to Hollywood after an East-Coast-journalism start … Discovered upon arrival by legendary TV producer Norman Lear, leading to the long-running dream-fulfilling executive post behind the scenes at CBS in what seem now to be halcyon days of 90s and 00s … Executive stints in cable and in production follow, then teaching and writing and other pursuits that put strong wind in mid-career sails … Still exploring new horizons under and above the radar in an online world, in addition to advocacy work in and around the areas of disability rights and mental-health awareness ... A storyteller at heart, wrote a few books  ... Plus that later-in-life Masters in Media & Communications at last ...

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