Michael Trinklein - Bio

Twice nominated for an Emmy Award, Michael Trinklein writes television programs, books, and articles—and served as a university professor for nearly 20 years.  He’s written for the Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, and Time Magazine. Trinklein’s been interviewed on NPR’s All Things Considered and Here and Now—and appeared on numerous television talk shows, including a full hour on C-SPAN. He’s been quoted in the Washington Post, Business Week, and on the front page of The New York Times. 

Trinklein wrote the PBS documentaries The Gold Rush and The Oregon Trail in the 1990s, which led to his role as the sole writer and co-producer of the top-rated PBS series Pioneers of Television, now in production of its fourth season. In crafting that series, Trinklein has been privileged to interview—in depth—more than 100 Hollywood celebrities, including Jerry Seinfeld, Betty White, Robin Williams, Bill Cosby, Tina Fey, Jay Leno, Tim Allen, Roseanne Barr, Mary Tyler Moore, Ray Romano, and many others. 

At age 23, after receiving a graduate degree from The University of Iowa, Trinklein became a professor at Idaho State University, teaching journalism and media production for nearly two decades. In 2004, he left that position to pursue writing and producing full-time, while retaining the title of professor emeritus. 

In 2010, Trinklein penned the book Lost States: True Stories of Texlahoma, Transylvania, and other states that never made it. Published by Quirk Books, it became a bestseller—and the definitive work on American statehood movements. The New Yorker called it, “a fascinating, funny book.”  

Critics have also enjoyed Trinklein’s television writing. The Los Angeles Times called Pioneers of Television, “thoroughly enjoyable... entertaining and enlightening.” Similarly, The Chicago Tribune labeled Trinklein’s work,  “Never less than interesting,” and The Hollywood Reporter described his writing as, “Engaging and thoughtful.”

In his spare time, Trinklein dabbles in permaculture farming on his 18 acre property on Lake Michigan’s western shore.  

Media inquiries here.

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