Dayton connections you can find on TV this season

Credit: Jordan Strauss

Credit: Jordan Strauss

With the 2022-2023 TV season in full swing, you don’t have to search far to find a few Dayton connections.

Here are six faces and shows to keep on your radar right now.

Credit: Eric Jamison

Credit: Eric Jamison

Luke Grimes - “Yellowstone” (Paramount Network)

Dayton native Luke Grimes, a Dayton Christian High School graduate, portrays emotionally scarred cowboy Kayce Dutton on the popular TV western “Yellowstone,” an outstanding ensemble drama starring Kevin Costner as patriarch John Dutton and featuring superb, scene-stealing work by Kelly Reilly as Beth Dutton. The show debuted on the Paramount Network in 2018 and became the most-watched show on television last year besides NFL football.

Earlier this year the cast was nominated by the Screen Actors Guild for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.

Grimes’ acting credits include “Brothers and Sisters,” “American Sniper,” “Fifty Shades of Grey,” “Taken 2″ and “The Magnificent Seven.”

The Montana-based actor is also a fan of country music and played drums in a Los Angeles country band.

The fifth season of “Yellowstone” premiered Nov. 13.

Credit: Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC

Credit: Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC

Molly Kearney - “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)

Molly Kearney, a University of Dayton alum, will be the first nonbinary cast member of “Saturday Night Live,” according to

The season premiere of “SNL” aired Oct. 1.

A nonbinary person does not identify exclusively as either gender.

Kearney joins three other new cast members for season 48 including Marcello Hernandez, Michael Longfellow and Devon Walker.

UD Theatre alumna and current faculty member Jenna Gomes De Gruy told that she was in a couple of theater classes with Kearney, but mostly saw each other in social situations or when working on theater outside of class.

“At UD in 2012, Molly did a one-person original comedy show called “Welcome to the Kearnival,” and I remember looking at them afterwards and saying, “I’m going to see you on ‘SNL.’” Needless to say, I’m not the least bit surprised that has come true,” De Gruy wrote in a post on the University of Dayton’s Theatre, Dance and Performance Technology Program’s Instagram page. spoke with Matthew Evans, a lecturer and technical director of the Theatre, Dance and Performance Technology Program at UD, as well as the Boll Theatre manager, who said Kearney took his scenic painting class.

“Molly was here when I got here in 2011,” he said. “Molly was actually my very first student in scenic painting class.”

He added that even though organizations are supervised by faculty members, students still have the freedom to choose their shows and casts.

Evans explained that Kearney was very good with scale and had an eye for art and color. He said their passion was always elevated in the work that Kearney was performing.

He said he’s told some of his students about Kearney’s accomplishments.

“I think it reinforced with the students how valuable student organizations are in a university setting,” Evans said.

Kearney, a Cleveland native, was selected for Comedy Central’s “Up Next” showcase in 2019 and can be seen in Amazon’s “A League of Their Own” and Disney+’s “The Mighty Ducks,” NBC said.

Credit: Uncredited

Credit: Uncredited

Amy Schneider - “Jeopardy!” (NBC)

Dayton native Amy Schneider’s remarkable, record-breaking “Jeopardy!” winning streak ended Jan. 26 after 40 impressive games. However she’s back in action this week in the finals of the quiz show’s Tournament of Champions.

Schneider, the record-breaking winner of 40 consecutive games from Oakland, California, earned $19,664 in her semifinal round Nov. 9. In the finals she will face Andrew He, a software developer from San Francisco, and Sam Buttrey, an associate professor of operations research at the Naval Postgraduate School from Pacific Grove, California.

“Just like the first time around, a lot of preparation dealt with the psychological side of the game,” said Schneider, the quiz show’s top female earner and first transgender contestant to qualify for the Tournament of Champions. “For eight months, everybody told me I was going to win, knowing there was no guarantee at all. I knew I would be going up against a bunch of very good players. In the semifinals, in one game, you could have a little bit of bad luck with a Daily Double or whatever and that might be (the end). Getting my mind prepared for that kind of pressure was the main thing I was doing. I also tried a different approach to Final Jeopardy by doing a little bit of practice with writing down the answers. I also saw a lot of ‘Jeopardy!’ episodes that piled up on my DVR and (practiced) clicking my pen to get back into the rhythm and do my best.”

Schneider, a Chaminade Julienne graduate, ranks second all-time behind Ken Jennings for most consecutive wins. Her historic run resulted in earnings of $1.3 million.



Micah Stock - “Kindred” (FX/Hulu)

Dayton native Micah Stock, an Oakwood High School graduate and Muse Machine alum, is among the cast of FX’s new drama series “Kindred,” adapted by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (“Watchmen”) from the award-winning 1979 sci-fi novel by Octavia E. Butler.

Deadline reports Stock is playing Kevin Franklin, an essential figure within the central story of Dana, a young Black woman and aspiring writer in Los Angeles “violently pulled back and forth in time to a nineteenth-century plantation with which she and her family are most surprisingly and intimately linked.”

Stock received a 2015 Tony nomination and Theatre World Award for his outstanding Broadway debut as Gus P. Head in the starry revival of Terrence McNally’s comedy “It’s Only a Play.” In recent years, he’s been seen in the film “Brittany Runs a Marathon” and TV shows such as “Tales of the City,” “Bonding,” “The Right Stuff” and “Escape at Dannemora.”

“Kindred” will premiere Dec. 13 on Hulu.



Cricket Wampler - “Big Shot” (Disney+)

Cricket Wampler portrays high school basketball player Samantha Fischer on “Big Shot,” which is streaming on Disney+. The show stars John Stamos as a mercurial college basketball coach who was fired from his job for one too many blow-ups and ends up coaching at an elite all-girls high school.

She is the daughter of Chris Wampler, former Wright State basketball standout.

Chris – who coached Tipp City High School to a 68-44 record in five seasons in the late 1990s – thinks Stamos has done “a great job” portraying a coach:

“He’s some kind of cross between Bobby Knight with his actions and Rick Pitino with his looks and demeanor.”

He gives Cricket – who did play two seasons on an all-boys hoops team at a local YMCA – high marks, as well.

All 10 episodes of the second season of “Big Shot” are streaming.



Renika Williams - “The Sex Lives of College Girls” (HBO Max)

Dayton native Renika Williams, a Trotwood-Madison High School graduate and Wright State University acting alumna, is among the cast of Mindy Kaling’s HBO Max series “The Sex Lives of College Girls,” which premiered in November 2021.

Set at New England’s elite Essex College, the delightful, naughty comedy chronicles four college roommates from different racial, educational and socio-economic backgrounds. Williams is a source of comic relief in the featured role of Willow, a member of the Essex soccer team who is bold, confident and gay.

“I think it’s really important that all different types of Black people are shown on screen,” said Williams, whose off-Broadway credits include “All The Natalie Portmans.”

The second season of “The Sex Lives of College Girls” premieres Nov. 17.