Don Mischer’s diverse body of directing experience includes some of the most widely viewed live television events, ranging from political ceremonies—We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial; musical specials—Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever; and sporting events—Super Bowl halftime shows and the opening ceremonies of the 1996 and 2002 Olympic Games. Mischer became involved in live television working for his alma mater, University of Texas, Austin’s public broadcasting channel. He later met Charles Guggenheim while working at PBS where the two made political films in the 1960s. While covering the John F. Kennedy assassination, Mischer met Al Perlmutter who invited him to direct several episodes of The Great American Dream Machine, which marked the beginning of his career directing for musical and variety television.
In 1975 Mischer made his primetime directing debut on the short-lived Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell. This was followed by live television specials including Third Barry Manilow Special (1979), Goldie and Liza Together (1980), Shirley MacLaine...Illusions (1982), Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever (1983), Baryshnikov by Tharp (1984), and Motown Returns to the Apollo (1985); all of which were nominated for the DGA Musical Variety Award. Mischer has also produced and directed the Kennedy Center Honors, for which he won the DGA’s Actuality Award three times from 1979-1980 and a directing Prime Time Emmy in 1981, 1986, 1994 and 1996. More recently, Mischer has served as executive producer for the Primetime Emmy Awards seven times and has directed the 83rd, 84th and 85th Academy Awards ceremonies. His production work on Barbra Streisand's 1999 “Timeless” concert at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas garnered Mischer three Emmys.
Overall, Mischer holds the DGA Awards record for wins with 10, has been honored with 15 Emmy Awards, two NAACP Image Awards, a Peabody Award for excellence in broadcasting, and the 2012 Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television from the Producers Guild of America. Mischer was elected to the DGA’s National Board in 2013.