Initially wanting to become an actor, H. Wesley Kenney, commonly credited as Wes Kenney, attended Carnegie Mellon University on the G.I. Bill to study drama where he became interested in the technical side of production. Out of college he was hired by the DuMont Television Network, one of the major TV networks in the early 1950s. At DuMont, Kenney directed up to twelve different broadcasts each day, ranging in all different genres from dramas to sports to children’s programming. Among the series he directed at DuMont, most of them live and with multiple cameras, include Morning Chapel, Life Is Worth Living, Magic Cottage, Funny Bunny, Rocky King, Detective and Night Beat, which was Mike Wallace’s first show as an interviewer. After DuMont dissolved in 1956, Kenney continued to work for other networks, helming episodes of the series Play of the Week, Your First Impression and My Favorite Martian, as well as the television movies The Working Mother (1961) and Seven Times Monday (1962).
In 1968, Kenney left a directing job at The Doctors when he landed on the series that he may well be most known for, Days of our Lives, for which he directed and produced for seven years. After leaving to pursue other directorial projects, Kenney returned to Days of our Lives as an Executive Producer to help transition the show from half-hour episodes to hour-long episodes. Kenney went on to work on many of the most prominent daytime serials, directing and serving as executive producer on The Young and Restless from 1982-87 and for General Hospital from 1987-89. Kenney also directed episodes of All in the Family, The ABC Afternoon Playbreak, Far Out Space Nuts, The Wide World of Mystery, ABC Afterschool Specials, Big John, Little John, Ladies' Man, Flo, and Filthy Rich.
Throughout his career, Kenney has been highly decorated, being nominated for 14 Daytime Emmy Awards, and two Primetime Emmy Awards. Kenney has won seven Daytime Emmys; three in 1974 for an episode of Days of our Lives and The ABC Afternoon Playbreak, as well as Daytime Director of the year; in 1978 as a producer for Days of our Lives; in 1983, 1985 and 1986 as a producer for The Young and the Restless. Kenney currently works as a professor at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.
Watch Kenney's Archive of American Television interview below: