One night a security guard named Jimmy Diggs came to the aid of Nick Corea, the Executive Producer of a syndicated television series titled “Renegade.” That chance meeting and the brief conversation that followed would change Jimmy’s life forever and lead him to a career as a screenwriter.
When Nick set up a pitch for Jimmy at his offices in Hollywood, Jimmy ran to the nearest bookstore and bought a book called “How To Write For Television.” He read the entire book over the weekend. After the pitch, Jimmy was told something that would forever change his world. “Jimmy,” Nick said, “when I first invited you up here, I thought I was just doing a favor for a fellow Vietnam vet. I thought you’d have some half-baked ideas, and I’d tell you not to lose your day job. But Jimmy, you are an artist and I want to do one of these stories as our first episode next season.”
Nick eventually passed Jimmy’s script along to fellow producers at “Star Trek.” Jeri Taylor was impressed enough by Jimmy’s work to hire him as a writer intern on “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Upon completion of his internship, Jimmy sold on his first pitch to “Star Trek: Voyager”. The episode was called “Elogium.” A new character was introduced in this episode, and Jimmy made a special request of the producers.
Earlier that year, Jimmy’s ailing wife had received the life-saving gift of a kidney and was able to undergo a long-awaited transplant procedure. When Jimmy learned that the kidney had come from a little seven-year-old girl, he was deeply moved. A father himself, he couldn’t imagine the selflessness it took to think of others at such a time of tragic personal loss.
In a heartfelt letter, he asked the producers to name the show’s new character after the little girl whose donated organ was now restoring his wife’s health. As Jimmy put it, “The ancient Greeks believed the gods would reward heroic mortals by placing them in the stars. By honoring the memory of this child, the producers of “Star Trek” will accomplish the same thing. Samantha Wildman will live on; she will take her place among the stars.”
An actress was chosen for the role who had the same blue eyes and blond hair of her character’s namesake. And since Samantha had loved animals, the character of Ensign Wildman was designated as head of the ship’s Xenobiology Department. The character has recurred over the years for several episodes; and the circumstances surrounding the name, the organ donation and the child who was the source of both have all been retold and reprinted in the official “Star Trek Encyclopedia.”
Several more episodes would soon follow; and in February of 1997, Jimmy Diggs would be the first, and so far, the only writer to have two episodes debut in the same week. In what would become known as “Jimmy Diggs Week,” “Star Trek: Voyager” would air the episode known as “Rise!” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” would air the episode entitled “Dr. Bashir, I Presume?” The latter would become a fan favorite and a “Star Trek” classic.
Later that year, Jimmy was selected as one of the “Stars of Tomorrow” by “Sci-Fi Universe” magazine; and he would make a number of appearances on the Sci-Fi Channel as an expert panelist on “The Sci-Fi Vortex.” At the time, because of his trademark western apparel (a hangover from working on the “Renegade” set), he became known as “The Sci-Fi Sheriff.”
Additionally, Midway Home Entertainment recruited Jimmy to write the dialogue and perform three of the voices for their popular arcade and home video game “BIO-F.R.E.A.K.S.” on Nintendo and Sony Playstation. Another voiceover credit includes “Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy”.
More sales to “Star Trek” were to come, and Jimmy Diggs now holds the distinction of having written more episodes of “Star Trek” than any other freelance writer in the history of the franchise - an accomplishment which has earned him yet another nickname: The Jackie Robinson of Star Trek Writers. All of these episodes have aired during sweeps and in T.V. Guide’s 35th Anniversary Tribute to “Star Trek”, four of his episodes were identified as the best ever written for their respective characters (including “Rise!” and “Dr. Bashir, I Presume?”).
Jimmy’s friend and mentor Nick Corea lost his battle with cancer in 1999. The loss left Jimmy devastated. Yet several months before his passing, Nick summoned Jimmy to his offices at “Walker, Texas Ranger” and took on the task of teaching Jimmy how to pitch his own series concepts. When Jimmy asked Nick why he hadn’t called him earlier, Nick replied, “You weren’t ready----now you’re ready.” Though Jimmy didn’t know it at the time, the torch was being passed.
Jimmy Diggs has received invitations to pitch at shows throughout Hollywood, including “Dark Angel,” “The X-Files,” “The Outer Limits,” “Night Visions,” and “The Dead Zone.” He has also been invited to pitch series concepts at major studios, such as Paramount Pictures and BET.
A proud veteran and patriot, Jimmy was asked by the United States Marine Corps to participate in and help coordinate a conference between science fiction writers and members of the intelligence community (which included NASA, Marine Corps Intelligence, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the C.I.A.). The two groups met in Washington D.C. to discuss potential high technology threats to the security of the United States. “After all,” says Jimmy, “who better to predict the future than those who make their living writing about it?”
Having sold his first motion picture option for a Gothic/Horror/Western he’s titled “Sundown,” Jimmy is now developing his own Steampunk (web/TV) series called “The Crypto-Historians.” “TCH” is a build-your-own-adventure time travel series that follows a brave band of historians as fight to protect humanity’s future by guarding its past. Jimmy has called upon the talents of some of his old friends from “Star Trek: Voyager” to help bring this story to life. Tim Russ (formerly Tuvok) will portray World War I fighter pilot Eugene Jacques Bullard and Garrett Wang (Harry Kim) will portray “The Tesla of Japan,” Sakichi Toyoda. In Jimmy’s words, “I’m gettin’ the band back together!”
As for the future, Jimmy Diggs is looking toward the stars - where Nick Corea and Samantha Wildman live forever, where there are a thousand stories yet to be told, and where, like the light from those stars, inspiration and destiny can find you—“out of the darkness.”
Products by Jimmy Diggs
The Art of the Pitch: How to Sell Your Ideas to Hollywood
by Jimmy Diggs