Michael Klausman originally aimed to be a doctor, but he does not regret being a big wig in the entertainment industry.
Klausman started his career with CBS Studios as an usher in 1971. He was a working student while attending CSUN in the late 1970s after transferring from CSU Fullerton.
Klausman is now the senior vice president of West Coast operations and engineering and president of CBS Studio Center – a far cry from a biologist.
He has been an active alumnus at CSUN ever since receiving his bachelor’s degree in biology.
“I worked my way up in this business, (and) I needed money so I worked as an usher,” he said, adding that he used to bring in audiences for the “Sonny and Cher” show.
Klausman said he is responsible for two facilities for CBS: CBS Television City at Fairfax Avenue and Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles, and CBS Studio Center at Radford Avenue near Ventura Boulevard in Studio City.
At the CBS Studio Center and CBS Television City facilities, Klausman is in charge of marketing and operations. He is also responsible for negotiating contracts with production companies for the use of the facilities. Klausman also has added responsibilities at the Studio City facility because he is the in charge of the CBS Entertainment Division, CBS News Coast Bureau and CBS Advertising and Promotion, which operate from there.
Sandra Reed-Funnell, Klausman’s executive assistant, has only been working for him for only a month. She said that despite working for him for a short amount of time, she knew Klausman when she worked at the Studio City Chamber of Commerce.
“We are here once a week (CBS Studio City facility) and four days a week at (CBS Television City),” Reed-Funnell said. “He is a very busy man.”
Despite his many responsibilities at CBS, Klausman is also the president of Studio City Chamber of Commerce. He is also involved with other organizations, such as Child Share and Hunger Homeless Committee of the Entertainment Industry Foundation.
Klausman said he believes in giving back to CSUN as well as the community and people who helped him get to his current position to return the favor.
Regardless of his Biology degree, Klausman said he does not regret his transition from the world of science to the entertainment industry.
“The entertainment business is a good business – all kinds of people can get in,” Klausman said. “I do not regret what happened, if not (I am) just going to be depressed. You have to open the door for change.”
He said CSUN helped him get a perspective of the business and the real world. Because of his experience in the entertainment industry, he has helped students get connected with the industry through the CSUN Cinema and Television Arts Department.
According to Robert Gustafson, director of the Entertainment Industry Institute and professor in the CTVA Department, several CTVA classes have been taught at CBS Studio Center since 1999. He said that with Klausman being CSUN’s main link to the studio, he helps the university get connected in the industry and to the facility.
Klausman said he lends his name to the Entertainment Industry Institute to help out with contacts and get financial support for the CTVA Department.
“Along with various alumni, they created the Entertainment Industry Institute, which acts as a liaison between the campus and the entertainment industry,” Gustafson said. “We held many events at the studios, and (Klausman’s) instrumental (in that).”
Gustafson said that he is responsible for selecting the professors for classes that take place at various parts of the Studio City facility. (Wouldn’t that make him chair?)
“CSUN is a great school and has a great academic history,” Klausman said. “The students are very fortunate to have a great (university) president, deans and professors.”
Gustafson said he is teaching CTVA 482 this semester, or Network Television Program Development, in the Administration Building at the Studio City facility.
He said that a large part of the class involves entertainment industry professionals who work at Studio City location and in other parts of the entertainment industry that come to the once-a-week class as guest lecturers.
“Mike Klausman is responsible for offering this remarkable opportunity and for maintaining it through his generosity,” Gustafson said.
Joanne Angeles can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.