Thunder Mountain Media delivers meaningful content via multiple platforms including film, television, internet, and print. With a focus on documentary storytelling, Thunder Mountain Media captures its audience with entertaining, informative, and inspiring stories from real people. The company released its first documentary film The Real Mayberry in December of 2016. The film is currently available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and Reelhouse. Morgan Wootten: The Godfather of Basketball, was released in March 2017. It is also available on iTunes, Amazon, and Reelhouse. Future projects include websites, television shows, and online platforms all dedicated to relatable, inspiring, and entertaining stories about people across America.
For 24 years, Figure 8 Films has been creating some of the most popular shows on television. From its ground-breaking series The Operation and the pop-culture phenomenon of Jon and Kate Plus 8 to the currently airing Sister Wives, Counting On, Bringing Up Bates, Growing Up McGhee and Salvage Dawgs, the goal has remained the same — telling entertaining true stories about real people. Whether the format is a documentary or docu-series, our goal is to connect the viewer with our characters in an emotional way, from laughter to tears, and create a relationship that lasts beyond the final frame of the program. With some of the longest-running series currently on television, we’re happy to say our approach continues to be a winning formula for success. As the company slogan says: Another Day, Another Adventure!
Bill Hayes is the Founder and President of Figure 8 Films and Founder of Thunder Mountain Media. Since the beginning of Figure 8 Films in 1992, Bill has produced, directed, or executive produced over 1,000 programs for the Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, National Geographic, UP, and DIY. Among those shows are numerous award-winners and some of the highest rated shows ever on cable television. Currently he is an Executive Producer for six series being broadcast on three different networks. His company, Figure 8 Films, has been listed by Real Screen Magazine as one of the top 100 non-fiction television production companies in the world.
In 1992, Bill helped create and produce the innovative and multiple award-winning series The Operation. The 60-hour series revolutionized medical programming for cable and aired for 10 years on both TLC and Discovery Health Channel.
Figure 8 Films, originally called Advanced Medical Productions, continued producing dozens of medical documentaries and television shows. These include a thirteen-hour series about Duke University Medical Center; award-winning shows on diabetes, autism, and spiritual surgery; and more shows documenting conjoined twins than any other production company in the world.
In 1997, Bill’s company created the popular series Breed All About It for the Animal Planet. Also, they created a series of CME shows and the 21st Century Medicine series for the Discovery Health Channel. Most recently, Figure 8 Films has produced numerous hit series including Jon and Kate Plus Eight, 19 Kids and Counting, Sister Wives, and Bringing Up Bates. Figure 8 Films also currently produces the Kate plus 8 series for TLC and The McGhee Family series for UPtv. Bill also helped create the popular DIY series, Salvage Dawgs.
Bill produced and directed two documentaries which were completed in the past year. The REAL Mayberry is a film about Bill’s hometown, Mt. Airy, North Carolina (also the hometown of Andy Griffith) that explores the past, present, and future of small towns in America. Morgan Wootten: The Godfather of Basketball looks at the impact of Basketball Hall of Fame Coach Morgan Wootten.
Bill hails from Mt. Airy, North Carolina and is a graduate of Duke University. He is on the Board of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and has been an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina School of Journalism and a guest lecturer at Duke University. He has been a subject of numerous stories and articles, including North Carolina People with William Friday and North Carolina Public Radio’s The State of Things.
His lovely wife, Diane, is a Greenville, North Carolina native and graduate of the University of North Carolina, where she served as an advisor to Morehead Scholars. They are the proud parents of two delightful, handsome, and inquisitive sons.
Dereck Whittenburg, who achieved national prominence as captain and star guard on North Carolina State University’s 1983 national championship team, returned to his alma mater in the fall of 2013 as Senior Assistant to the Head Coach and Director of Player Development. In that role he serves as a mentor to the Wolfpack and assists with player development. In the two seasons since his return, Whittenburg has helped the Pack to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances and a 44-28 record that includes the team’s Sweet 16 berth in 2015.
Whittenburg brings to the Wolfpack nearly 30 years of college basketball coaching experience. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at NC State under the late Jim Valvano (1985-86). He went on to continue his coaching career at George Mason (1986-87) and Long Beach State (1987-88) as a full-time assistant before returning to Raleigh for a three-year stint (1988-91) as an assistant coach once again under Valvano. He was also an assistant coach at Colorado (1991-93), West Virginia (1993-94) and Georgia Tech (1993-99) before beginning his career as a head coach at Wagner College and Fordham University.
As head coach at Wagner College, Whittenburg led his team to two postseason appearances (2002 NIT and 2003 NCAA) in a four-year stint. His 2002-03 Wagner team won the NEC regular season and tournament championships and made the school’s first ever trip to the NCAA Tournament. He was also named 2003 NEC Coach of the Year. In 2005, Whittenburg led his Fordham University team to an 18-12 record (10- 6 in the Atlantic 10) and a fourth place league finish. In his 10 years as a collegiate head coach at the two schools, he became known for running an organized program with no major violations while graduating more than 80 percent of his players who stayed for four years.
Most recently he served as a college basketball analyst for ESPN from 2011-13 and was a regional scout for the Utah Jazz in 2013. He was also the executive producer of the network’s acclaimed 30 for 30 documentary, Survive and Advance, the only two-hour production in the series. Survive and Advance has become one of the most watched pieces of ESPN’s famed documentary series, which won an Emmy for Outstanding Sports Documentary Series in May 2014.
Whittenburg will forever be remembered for his standout playing days for the Wolfpack. He was named to the ACC Basketball Championship All-Tournament Team in 1983. That same season, he was selected to the NCAA All-West Regional squad as well as the All-Tournament team for the Final Four. His 24 point effort in the 1983 NCAA West Regional Final propelled NC State to the Final Four. He scored 14 points and assisted on the game winning dunk that gave NC State its second national title, a 54-52 win over Houston’s vaunted Phi Slamma Jamma squad. Whittenburg scored 1,272 career points and stands second at NC State in career 3-point shooting percentage (.476). His honored No. 25 Jersey hangs in the rafters of PNC Arena.
Whittenburg has actively served on the Board of Directors of the V Foundation since its inception and was personally appointed by Coach Valvano as the only member from the 1983 Championship Team. Over the last 22 years, the Board has worked tirelessly to raise more than $130M for cancer research.
A Washington, D.C. native and graduate of basketball powerhouse DeMatha Catholic High School, he played for the legendary Morgan Wootten and was inducted into the DeMatha Catholic Hall of Fame for his accomplishments as a member of DeMatha’s national championship basketball team in 1978. Whittenburg, a third-round selection of the Phoenix Suns in the 1983 NBA Draft, earned a B.S. in Business Administration from NC State in 1984. He is married to the former Jacqueline Williams of Raleigh.