Ep. 156 | Neal Baer & Matthew Cooke

Ep. 156 | Neal Baer & Matthew Cooke

7 Time Emmy-nominated Executive Producer/Writer Neal Baer (Under The Dome, Law & Order: SVU, ER...) & Writer/Director Matthew Cooke (How to Make Money Selling Drugs, Teenage Paparrazo...) join us on The Matthew Aaron Show Wednesday (7/3) as we broadcast LIVE from Taste Chicago in Burbank starting at 4pm PT.

Neal will be with us live to discuss his impressive career as well as his new series UNDER THE DOME which premiered on June 24th to a whopping 13 million viewers, making it the highest rated summer debut of any TV series on any network since 2007. "Under the Dome" airs Monday nights on CBS.

Matthew took some time to tape an interview with Matt last week to discuss his new documentary HOW TO MAKE MONEY SELLING DRUGS which offers viewers  an insider’s guide to the violent but extremely lucrative drug industry. Told from the perspective of former drug dealers, and featuring interviews with rights advocates Russell Simmons, Susan Sarandon, David Simon (creator of “The Wire”) & many more. "How to Make Money Selling Drugs" is currently playing in select theaters with more cities being added over the coming weeks and is available on Video On Demand.

Show starts at 4pm PT (6pm CT / 7pm ET). Stop on by Taste Chicago and experience the show in person, otherwise you can subscribe for free and download the show on APPLE PODCASTS. You can also listen on the go on your Android/iPhone/iPad device via SPOTIFY.


DR. NEAL BAER is an Executive Producer and Showrunner for the CBS television series Under The Dome.  He was Executive Producer of the CBS medical drama A Gifted Man, as well as the Executive Producer of the hit NBC television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit from 2000-2011, where he oversaw all aspects of producing and writing the show, with a budget of $100 million. During his tenure, among the awards the series won include the Shine Award, People’s Choice Award, the Prism Award, Edgar Award, Sentinel for Health Award and the Media Access Award.  Actors on the show have won six Emmys and the Golden Globe. The series regularly appeared among the top ten television dramas in national ratings.

Prior to his work on SVU, Dr. Baer was Executive Producer of the NBC series ER. A member of the show’s original staff and a writer and producer on the series for seven seasons, he was nominated for five Emmys as a producer. He also received Emmy nominations for Outstanding Writing in A Drama Series for the episodes “Hell and High Water” and “Whose Appy Now?” For the latter, he also received a Writers' Guild of America nomination.

Dr. Baer’s other work includes "Warriors," an episode of China Beach, nominated for a Writers' Guild Award for best episodic drama, and the ABC Afterschool Special “Private Affairs,” which he directed and wrote. The Association of Women in Film and Television selected the program, dealing with sexually transmitted diseases, as the Best Children’s Drama of the Year. He wrote “The Doctor Corps,” a feature film for Twentieth Century Fox; “Outreach,” a pilot for the WB Network, which he also produced; “The Edge,” a pilot for CBS; and “The Beast,” a pilot for NBC. He is presently developing new series under a deal with CBS. Dr. Baer’s first novel, Kill Switch, co-written with Jonathan Greene, was published in January 2012, and his first graphic novel, Gap Year, co-written with Dan Truly will be published by Oni Press.

Dr. Baer graduated from Harvard Medical School and completed his internship in Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles. He received the Jerry L. Pettis Memorial Scholarship from the American Medical Association as the most outstanding medical student who has contributed to promoting a better understanding of medicine in the media. The American Association for the Advancement of Science selected him as a Mass Media Fellow.

Dr. Baer's primary medical interests are in adolescent and global health. He has written extensively for teens on health issues for Scholastic Magazine, covering such topics as teen pregnancy, AIDS, drug and alcohol abuse, and nutrition. Dr. Baer taught elementary school in Colorado and also worked as a research associate at USC Medical School, where he focused on drug and alcohol abuse prevention. Recently, Dr. Baer co-established the Institute for Photographic Empowerment at USC’s Annenberg School of Communications, which links photographic story-telling projects around the world and makes that work available to NGOs and policymakers. He has worked in South Africa and Mozambique since 2006, teaching photography to mothers with HIV and to AIDS orphans so that they can tell the world their own stories. Dr. Baer also produced the documentary short, “Home Is Where You Find It,” directed by Alcides Soares, a seventeen-year-old Mozambican AIDS orphan, which chronicles one young man’s search to find a family after his parents have died of AIDS. The film has screened internationally at sixty festivals and has won four awards for best documentary.

Recently, Dr. Baer was appointed Clinical Professor of Preventive Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. He recently established The Center for Storytelling, Activism and Health, where he is working on projects using new media to promote global health. Dr. Baer is also a Senior Fellow at USC’s Annenberg School of Journalism and is a Lecturer in the School of Arts and Sciences at USC.

Dr. Baer graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in Political Science from Colorado College. He holds master’s degrees from Harvard Graduate School of Education and from Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in Sociology.  Before working in television, he spent a year at the American Film Institute as a directing fellow. In 2000, he received an honorary Doctor of Laws from Colorado College.

Dr. Baer serves on the boards of many organizations related to health care, including the Venice Family Clinic (the largest free clinic in the U.S.; 2000-2010), RAND Health (2000-2011), Physicians for Social Responsibility, Children Now and the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS). He is a trustee of the Writers Guild of America Health and Pension Fund, a member of the Board of Associates at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, a trustee of Colorado College and an elected member to Harvard University’s alumni board (2006-2011). He is also Co-Chair of the CDC and Gates Foundation-supported, Hollywood, Health and Society. Recently, Dr. Baer was appointed to the Board of Fellows at Harvard Medical School. He also recently joined the board of Learning Matters and Global Citizen Year.

Dr. Baer received the Valentine Davies Award in 2004 from the Writers Guild of America for “public service efforts in both the entertainment industry and the community at large, bringing dignity to and raising the standard for writers everywhere.” He has received the Special Individual Achievement Award from the Media Project; the Leadership Award from NOFAS; the Loop Award from Lupus LA for educating the public about lupus and autoimmune diseases; the Socially Responsible Medicine Award from Physicians for Social Responsibility for “accomplishment in crafting compelling health messages;” and the Feminist Majority Foundation for promoting global woman’s rights on television. In 2012, he received the John P. McGovern Medal from The American Medical Writers Association.

Dr. Baer lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Gerrie Smith, and his son Caleb, who is a student at Williams College.


MATTHEW COOKE's formative years were split between Chicago, NY and DC — at first in acting, then making music and fake IDs. After retiring from a life of crime, Cooke graduated from Pitzer College (1996) with a B.A. in Film, magna cum laude.

In 1999 Cooke raised 7 million dollars from AOL, Time-Warner and Intel to build the first and only patented broadband search engine. As Executive Creative Director, Cooke earned a “Best of the Web” Design Award from Print Magazine and a Webby.

In 2000, Cooke taught digital arts at Otis College of Art & Design.

In 2005, Cooke wrote the screenplay FALCON, the true story sequel to the cult hit THE FALCON AND THE SNOWMAN which attracted ICM to represent Cooke as a writer / director.

In 2006 Cooke produced and edited his first feature film. DELIVER US FROM EVIL made over forty critics’ 2006 “best of” lists and received the Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature.

In 2007 Cooke wrote, directed and starred in sketches for Fuel TV’s variety show, "StupidFace". Cooke’s guest-starred a variety of recognizable cast members from Mr. Show, The Sarah Silverman Program, Arrested Development, The Drew Carey Show, and more.

Over the next few years Cooke and Adrian Grenier made TEENAGE PAPARAZZO featuring Matt Damon, Whoopi Goldberg and Lewis Black. The film premiered at Sundance in 2010 and was released on HBO. Immediately following TEENAGE PAPARAZZO, Cooke and Grenier switched Producer and Director roles and sought financing for another documentary.

In 2012 Cooke brought his directorial debut HOW TO MAKE MONEY SELLING DRUGS to the Toronto Film Festival — to be distributed to audiences in 2013 by Tribeca Film.

Today Cooke is continuing to write and direct documentaries with Grenier and his production company Saturday Entertainment with Emmy Award winning producer Steve DeVore where he is currently developing a science fiction thriller.