Rob Thomas (born August 15, 1965) is an American author, producer, and screenwriter, best known as the author of the 1996 novel Rats Saw God, creator of the critically acclaimed television series Veronica Mars and co-creator of 90210 and Party Down.
Education and early career
Thomas was born in Sunnyside, Washington. He graduated from San Marcos High School in 1983 and went to Texas Christian University on a football scholarship. He eventually graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1987 with a BA in History.
Before he began writing novels for young adults, Thomas taught high-school journalism at John Marshall High School in San Antonio, Texas, and advised the University of Texas at Austin student magazine. From August 1993 to June 1995 he worked for Channel One News, an experience which informed his 1998 novel Satellite Down. Thomas was a member of three San Marcos, Texas bands — Public Bulletin, Hey Zeus, and Black Irish — from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s.
Thomas's first television writing credit came on a 1996 episode of Cartoon Network's Space Ghost Coast to Coast. He next wrote the script that would eventually become the 1999 film Fortune Cookie. Based on the script, he was offered a job on the writing staff of Dawson's Creek during the show's first season. After reading the same script, then-president of Sony Entertainment Jeff Sagansky suggested Thomas create a romantic comedy pilot. That show soon developed into Cupid, a critically acclaimed 1998 dramedy series canceled after 15 episodes in 1999. This led to Thomas being asked to run ABC's 1999 series Snoops, although he left due to creative differences with David E. Kelley before the show aired. After Snoops, Thomas got pilot orders for his U.S. adaptation of the British Metropolis and original script The Sticks, but neither went to series.
Thomas got his second show picked up in 2004 — the critically successful but again low-rated Veronica Mars, which battled low ratings until it was canceled after the third season in 2007. He was offered the showrunner position on NBC's Friday Night Lights in 2006, which he declined in favor of the possibility (and eventual reality) of a third season of Veronica Mars. Thomas was also offered and declined CBS's Viva Laughlin in 2007; he joined ABC's Miss/Guided in May 2007 before leaving in July of the same year, again due to creative differences.
Thomas worked as a writer on ABC's short-lived primetime series Big Shots from 2007 to 2008, co-wrote and shot the comedy pilot Party Down (aired by Starz in 2009, ran for two seasons), and had three pilots ordered for the 2008-2009 television season: a remake of Cupid for ABC, that was picked up to air midseason but soon canceled; Good Behavior, a U.S. adaptation of New Zealand series Outrageous Fortune also for ABC although it never aired, and a modern spinoff of Beverly Hills, 90210 for The CW, which he departed early in favor of his other projects.
On March 13, 2013, Thomas posted a Kickstarter page announcing he had acquired permission from Warner Brothers to proceed with fundraising for a Veronica Mars movie; if the project raised $2 million by April 12, the film would be made. By 6:00 p.m. Pacific Time on the first day, the appeal had already raised over the requisite $2 million in pledges, ensuring a green light for the film, as a tweet from Thomas also confirmed. The Kickstarter campaign met its goal in less than 11 hours, as an Entertainment Weekly piece noted. Thomas will also be co-author of two novels to be published by Vintage Books once the movie is released; the novels will depict events occurring after those of the film.
- Green Thumb (1999) (ISBN 0-689-82886-1)
- Satellite Down (1998) (ISBN 0-689-83052-1)
- Doing Time: Notes from the Undergrad (1997) (ISBN 0-689-82414-9)
- Slave Day (1997) (ISBN 0-689-82193-X)
- Rats Saw God (1996) (ISBN 0-689-80777-5)
- Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line (2014) (with Jennifer Graham)
- Veronica Mars: Mr. Kiss and Tell (2015) (with Jennifer Graham)
- Space Ghost Coast to Coast (1996) (writer, episode "Explode")
- Dawson's Creek (1998) (writer, season one, episodes "Prelude to a Kiss" aka "Kiss" and "In the Company of Men" aka "Roadtrip")
- Cupid (1998-1999) (creator, writer, executive producer)
- Veronica Mars (2004-2007, 2019) (creator, writer, executive producer, director)
- 90210 (2008) (creator, writer)
- Party Down (2009-2010) (creator, writer, executive producer)
- Cupid (2009) (creator, writer, executive producer)
- Good Behavior (2009) (writer, executive producer) (not picked up)
- Plymouth Rock (2010) (creator, writer, executive producer) (not picked up)
- Fortune Cookie (1999) (Writer)
- Drive Me Crazy (1999) (Screenwriter)
- Veronica Mars (2014) (Writer/director)
Awards and nominations
Thomas has been nominated for several Golden Satellite Awards.
- Meet Rob Thomas. Author's official website. Retrieved on 26 March 2010.
- The Veronica Mars Movie Project. kickstarter.com. Retrieved on 13 March 2013.
- Seeking Funds for Movie, Creator of 'Veronica Mars' Turns to Kickstarter. nytimes.com. Retrieved on 13 March 2013.
- March 13, 2013 tweet from Rob Thomas. twitter.com. Retrieved on 13 March 2013.
- 'Veronica Mars' reaches Kickstarter goal. ew.com. Retrieved on 13 March 2013.
- 'Veronica Mars' Gets Book Series Spin-Off (Exclusive). hollywoodreporter.com. Retrieved on 9 December 2013.
- Veronica Mars And One Tree Hill Creators Back To Work On CW. Cinemablend.com (2009-10-15). Retrieved on 2013-05-29.