Cleveland O’Neal III is President and CEO of Connection III Entertainment Corp., an award-winning, Emmy-nominated producer/distributor of television programming and motion pictures with a multi-platform digital division. Connection III is one of very few African American-owned media production & distribution companies specializing in national broadcast syndication in the United States.
Born and raised in Ohio, O’Neal attended Boston University and worked in marketing and promotions for radio stations in Boston and Los Angeles and had his own marketing business with sponsors including Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and IBM. With his entrepreneurial career on track, O’Neal, a former child actor, returned to acting and appeared on such shows as “Dynasty,” “Married … with Children” and “Melrose Place.”
In the early 90’s, he launched Connection III Entertainment Corp. and made several TV development and production deals, including a CBS Schoolbreak Special, and opened a talent management division, specializing in young children and teens. O’Neal also created, co-wrote, self-financed and produced the first hip-hop beach movie, “Phat Beach,” directed by the then-unknown Doug Ellin, who went on to create HBO’s “Entourage”.
With a growing library of TV movies and specials, Connection III became a full-fledged producer and distributor of nationally syndicated television programming, expanding into weekly TV series. In 2013, Connection III Entertainment launched a multimillion-dollar expansion with a state-of-the-art digital TV studio and post-production facility and a new digital division creating original content from its TV shows and from its extensive broadcast library.
In 2007, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa and the Small Business Administration honored O’Neal and Connection III as the Arts and Entertainment Company of the Year. O’Neal is a member of the Producer’s Guild of America, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and serves on The Mosaic Council at the American Advertising Federation in Washington D.C., where Connection III is a corporate member joining a prestigious list of Fortune 500 companies.