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Gainesville graduate to executive produce new Kevin Hart game show
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Holly Wofford, a Gainesville native, on set of the new show "TKO: Total Knock Out." She is an executive producer for the show, hosted by actor and comedian Kevin Hart, that premieres on Wednesday, July 11, on CBS. - photo by For The Times

Holly Wofford knew she wanted to be in the entertainment industry before she ever reached double digits in age. Instead of spending her time doing the things typical kids do, she spent her time begging her parents to take her to movie sets. 

“It just stoked a fire of excitement in me and I knew I wanted to be in the entertainment industry,” said Wofford, who graduated from Gainesville High.

That excitement has taken her all over the world, and now, she’s working as a showrunner and executive producer with one of the most popular comedians and actors in the world. Kevin Hart will be the host on the new obstacle-course game show, “TKO: Total Knock Out.” The show premieres July 11 on CBS.

“It’s obstacle-course-meets-dodgeball, where individuals are running around an obstacle course,” Wofford said. “And while they’re trying to get the best time, there are four other competitors trying to knock them down and slow them down.”

Getting to work with Hart took a lot of initiative, though. Wofford started her career after sending resumes to everyone listed on the credits of the television show “America’s Most Wanted.” She finally heard back from one person who offered her a transcribing position.

After accepting the job and teaching herself to do it, she was quickly on her way to the top. Wofford was promoted to producer after just 6 months.

She worked on the TV show “Survivor” during its first five seasons, too. She traveled the world, choosing locations and meeting with important people — like prime ministers — all along the way. She said working as co-executive producer on the show was one of the best experiences she’s ever had.

“When you meet people around the world and you see different cultures, you grow,” Wofford said. “You open yourself up to experiences you wouldn’t otherwise have, and you grow.”

She was the executive producer and showrunner for “Supernanny” on ABC and “The Island” on NBC. She’s also created the format for shows on the Bravo network.

She even created the format for the obstacle-course competition “American Ninja Warrior” on NBC, where she was showrunner and producer for five years, which gave her all the experience she needed for “TKO: Total Knock Out.”

“It’s a fun, entertaining, family-friendly show,” Wofford said.

It’s a busy life, though. She’s always working. Oftentimes, it’s 16- or 18-hour days. She said she’s on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week and doesn’t really get weekends.

“You have to be passionate about what you’re doing,” Wofford said. “You have to love what you’re doing if you’re going to be in the entertainment industry.”

And she does. She said it’s all thanks to the support she received from her family, friends and community in Gainesville that pushed her to always do what she wanted. She’s lived in Los Angeles for more than 15 years and said she still calls Gainesville home. Her nickname out west is “Georgia.”

“I’m a proud Gainesville native,” Wofford said. “Anyone will tell you that.”