Wedding Photographer Hits Network Big Time

by Bill Zwecker, Chicago Sun-Times
February 8, 2002

“I thought being on ‘Good Morning America’ was exciting, but this is really something else,” said popular Chicago wedding and event photographer, Steven Gross. The “something else” is Gross’ candid “wedding” stills, which are prominently used in the opening credits of NBC’s mid-season sitcom, “Three Sisters,” which debuts on Peacock’s Network at 8:30 tonight. (See Phil Rosenthal’s take on the new series, Page 33.)

Earlier last year, Gross got a “call completely out of the blue,’ thanks to “Three Sisters” executive producer, Eileen Heisler. While NBC liked the pilot for the show that Heisler and her team had pitched, “they told them to reshoot the opening – the first set of photos (traditional wedding shots) didn’t work for them. They were looking for something with a lot more energy,” Gross said.

That led Heisler, a Deerfield High graduate, to tap the man who did the honors at her own nuptuals some four years earlier.

“Get Gross!” Heisler reportedly barked – leading her Left Coast colleagues to snip, “You want a wedding photographer from Chicago? Aren’t there enough wedding photographers in L.A.?”

Obviously not the right ones. Then Gross found himself being whisked to the production studio president’s California backyard, “Where I worked just like I do at a real wedding. There was a barbeque, people tossing around a football, playing tennis – lots of great energy.”

As is often the case, the cast changed after the pilot was made. While Gross snapped series stars Davied Basche, Katherine La Nasa, Peter Bonerz, Vicki Lewis, A.J. Langer and Connie Stevens, Dyan Cannon replaced Stevens, who was originally cast to play the mother.

Since so few pilots get picked up, Gross kind of forgot about the whole thing – until Christmastime when he was visiting family in Detroit. “Suddenly there were my photos being flashed in the promos from ‘Three Sisters’ on TV…I couldn’t believe it!