Andy Ackerman

Director / Editor


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-hour interview, Andy Ackerman talks about his break into the industry as an assistant editor on the series Welcome Back, Kotter. He relates how he came to work for MTM Enterprises and discusses working on WKRP in Cincinnati as an editor (for which he won an Emmy award). He describes his approach to editing and notes how the audience creates the rhythm for the show. He speaks in great detail about his long association with Cheers, for which he worked as an editor (another Emmy win) and a director. For Cheers, he talks about working with the series producers, describes memorable episodes, and talks about the atmosphere on the set of the final episode. He then describes his continued work as a director in sitcoms, starting with Wings and Frasier. He then discusses, at length, his work as the main director of the later seasons of Seinfeld -- he describes the series' style of comedy, the visual ideas he incorporated into the show, and gives his impressions of the ensemble. He offers production stories about such well-known episodes as "The Soup Nazi," "The Invitations," and "The Bizarro Jerry." He touches on some of the series he's directed since Seinfeld, including Becker, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and The New Adventures of Old Christine. Jenni Matz conducted the interview on November 13, 2007 in South Pasadena, CA. PLEASE NOTE: THE VIDEO SEGMENT BETWEEEN CHAPTERS 1 AND 2 IS TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE. PLEASE CHECK BACK LATER.

"We all know when something's not funny. But I think somehow I've been blessed with an ear. I know if something's not quite working. I feel like I have the ability to help the actor to do a little tweak. Maybe instead of ending it with this inflection or underlining this word, try stressing this word instead, and take beats. A lot of it is timing and... rhythm. Knowing when to pause, when not to pause. That's just the beauty of language, in general."  

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Andy Ackerman on directing Seinfeld and the transition after Larry David left the show
Andy Ackerman on directing a dark episode of Seinfeld, "The Invitations"
Andy Ackerman on how he got a job editing for WKRP in Cincinnati and on winning an Emmy for the show
Andy Ackerman on the Cheers finale, "One for the Road"
Andy Ackerman on the Seinfeld finale penned by Larry David
Andy Ackerman on working with Alex Trebek for the Jeopardy! episode of Cheers, "What is... Cliff Clavin?"
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences
On majoring in accounting at Santa Clara University and then switching and getting involved with the business school's TV studio
On his first jobs in television after college at Welcome Back, Kotter and WKRP in Cincinnati

Chapter 2

On working with the Cheers cast; on James Burrows' take on Taxi; on working with Ted Danson as "Sam Malone" and Kirstie Alley as "Rebecca Howe" on Cheers
On working with Alex Trebek for the Jeopardy! episode of Cheers, "What is... Cliff Clavin?"; on the Cheers finale, "One for the Road"; on the importance of working with a good ensemble cast as a director
On working on Wings; on passing on the opportunity to direct Frasier to work on Big Wave Dave's; on directing Muddling Through with Jennifer Aniston

Chapter 3

On directing a couple episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond; on how he came to meet Larry David and eventually direct Seinfeld; on directing his first episode of Seinfeld, "The Chaperone," and on working with the cast
On what he brought to Seinfeld; on what he learned from Larry David; on directing an episode of Seinfeld, "The Pothole"; on the process of directing a Seinfeld episode; on various shooting locations
On directing an episode of Seinfeld, "The Rye"; on the pacing changes on Seinfeld and on trying to maintain a realistic tone from the actors
On directing Jerry Seinfeld and Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Seinfeld; on the rehearsal process, ad-libbing, and "happy accidents" on Seinfeld; on directing a dark episode of Seinfeld, "The Invitations"

Chapter 4

On censorship on Seinfeld; on directing Seinfeld and the transition after Larry David left the show; on his favorite Jerry Seinfeld/Larry David-penned episodes of Seinfeld
On how Seinfeld phrases made it into the pop culture lexicon; on Jon Voight guest-starring on Seinfeld with Michael Richards; on working with Jerry Stiller on Seinfeld
On one of his favorite Seinfeld episodes, "The Rye"; on one of his favorite Seinfeld episodes, "The Soup Nazi"; on the legacy of Seinfeld
On the Seinfeld finale penned by Larry David

Chapter 5

On other shows he worked on: Almost Perfect, Andy Richter Controls the Universe, LateLine, The New Adventures of Old Christine, and Becker
On how television has changed since he was a child; on Curb Your Enthusiasm
On his love of television comedy and his proudest achievements
Shows

Almost Perfect

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Andy Ackerman on the show Almost Perfect

Andy Richter Controls the Universe

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Andy Ackerman on the great experience he had on the show Andy Richter Controls the Universe starring Andy Richter

Becker

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Andy Ackerman on reuniting with Ted Danson on Becker

Bernie Mac Show, The

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Andy Ackerman on directing The Bernie Mac Show

Big Wave Dave's

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Andy Ackerman on directing Big Wave Dave's

Cheers

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Andy Ackerman on working with the Cheers cast
Andy Ackerman on his favorite episodes of Cheers that he edited
Andy Ackerman on the Cheers finale, "One for the Road"
Andy Ackerman on working with Ted Danson as "Sam Malone" and Kirstie Alley as "Rebecca Howe" on Cheers

Cheers: "One for the Road"

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Andy Ackerman on the Cheers finale, "One for the Road"

Cheers: "What is... Cliff Clavin?"

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Andy Ackerman on working with Alex Trebek for the Jeopardy! episode of Cheers, "What is... Cliff Clavin?"

Curb Your Enthusiasm

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Andy Ackerman on reuniting with Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm

Ed Sullivan Show, The aka Toast of the Town

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Andy Ackerman on TV shows he grew up watching: The Ed Sullivan Show

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

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Andy Ackerman on how he got a job editing for WKRP in Cincinnati and winning an Emmy for the show

Everybody Loves Raymond

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Andy Ackerman on directing a couple episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond
Andy Ackerman on some of his favorite television moments: Everybody Loves Raymond

Frasier

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Andy Ackerman on passing on the opportunity to direct Frasier
Andy Ackerman on directing four episodes of Frasier

Jeopardy!

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Andy Ackerman on working with Alex Trebek for the Jeopardy! episode of Cheers, "What is... Cliff Clavin?"

Lateline

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Andy Ackerman on the great experience he had on the show LateLine

Mickey Mouse Club, The

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Andy Ackerman on TV shows he grew up watching: The Mickey Mouse Club

Muddling Through

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Andy Ackerman on directing Muddling Through with Jennifer Aniston

New Adventures of Old Christine, The

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Andy Ackerman on directing The New Adventures of Old Christine starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Andy Ackerman on directing The New Adventures of Old Christine

Office, The

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Andy Ackerman on his thoughts on The Office

Phil Silvers Show, The aka You'll Never Get Rich aka Sergeant Bilko

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Andy Ackerman on Larry David's admiration of the character "Sgt. Bilko" and how that influenced Curb Your Enthusiasm

Seinfeld

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Andy Ackerman on how he came to meet Larry David and eventually direct Seinfeld
Andy Ackerman on directing his first episode of Seinfeld, "The Chaperone"
Andy Ackerman on directing an episode of Seinfeld, "The Pothole"
Andy Ackerman on directing an episode of Seinfeld, "The Rye"
Andy Ackerman on directing a dark episode of Seinfeld, "The Invitations"
Andy Ackerman on the process of directing a Seinfeld episode and on various shooting locations
Andy Ackerman on the pacing changes on Seinfeld and on trying to maintain a realistic tone from the actors
Andy Ackerman on directing non-actor Jerry Seinfeld on Seinfeld
Andy Ackerman on directing Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Seinfeld
Andy Ackerman on the rehearsal process, ad-libbing, and "happy accidents" on Seinfeld
Andy Ackerman on what he brought to Seinfeld and on what he learned from Larry David
Andy Ackerman on directing Seinfeld and the transition after Larry David left the show
Andy Ackerman on his favorite Jerry Seinfeld/Larry David-penned episodes of Seinfeld
Andy Ackerman on the Seinfeld finale penned by Larry David
Andy Ackerman on censorship on Seinfeld
Andy Ackerman on the legacy of Seinfeld
Andy Ackerman on Jon Voight guest-starring on Seinfeld with Michael Richards
Andy Ackerman on working with Jerry Stiller on Seinfeld
Andy Ackerman on how Seinfeld phrases made it into the pop culture lexicon
Andy Ackerman on some of his favorite television moments: Seinfeld

Seinfeld: "The Bizarro Jerry"

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Andy Ackerman on his favorite Jerry Seinfeld/Larry David-penned episodes of Seinfeld

Seinfeld: "The Chaperone"

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Andy Ackerman on directing his first episode of Seinfeld, "The Chaperone," and on working with the cast

Seinfeld: "The Finale"

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Andy Ackerman on the Seinfeld finale penned by Larry David

Seinfeld: "The Invitations"

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Andy Ackerman on directing a dark episode of Seinfeld, "The Invitations"

Seinfeld: "The Pothole"

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Andy Ackerman on directing an episode of Seinfeld, "The Pothole"

Seinfeld: "The Rye"

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Andy Ackerman on directing an episode of Seinfeld, "The Rye"
Andy Ackerman on one of his favorite Seinfeld episodes, "The Rye"

Seinfeld: "The Soup Nazi"

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Andy Ackerman on one of his favorite Seinfeld episodes, "The Soup Nazi"

Taxi

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Andy Ackerman on James Burrows' take on Taxi

WKRP in Cincinnati

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Andy Ackerman on how he got a job editing for WKRP in Cincinnati and winning an Emmy for the show

Welcome Back, Kotter

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Andy Ackerman on his first job as an assistant editor at Welcome Back, Kotter

Wings

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Andy Ackerman on working on Wings
Topics

Advice

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Andy Ackerman on advice he got from James Burrows

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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Andy Ackerman on censorship on Seinfeld

Characters & Catchphrases

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Andy Ackerman on how Seinfeld phrases made it into the pop culture lexicon
Andy Ackerman on Larry David's admiration of the character "Sgt. Bilko" and how that influenced Curb Your Enthusiasm

Classic TV series episodes

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Andy Ackerman on working with Alex Trebek for the Jeopardy! episode of Cheers, "What is... Cliff Clavin?"
Andy Ackerman on the Cheers finale, "One for the Road"
Andy Ackerman on directing his first episode of Seinfeld, "The Chaperone"
Andy Ackerman on the Seinfeld finale penned by Larry David

Comedy

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Andy Ackerman on working with Alex Trebek for the Jeopardy! episode of Cheers, "What is... Cliff Clavin?"
Andy Ackerman on the Cheers finale, "One for the Road"
Andy Ackerman on the Seinfeld finale penned by Larry David

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Andy Ackerman on being a stage manager/assistant director for a high school production and learning a lot from his teacher

Emmy Awards

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Andy Ackerman on how he got a job editing for WKRP in Cincinnati and winning an Emmy for the show

Memorable Moments on Television

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Andy Ackerman on the Cheers finale, "One for the Road"
Andy Ackerman on directing his first episode of Seinfeld, "The Chaperone," and on working with the cast
Andy Ackerman on the Seinfeld finale penned by Larry David

Pivotal Career Moments

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Andy Ackerman on being a stage manager/assistant director for a high school production and learning a lot from his teacher

Pop Culture

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Andy Ackerman on working with Alex Trebek for the Jeopardy! episode of Cheers, "What is... Cliff Clavin?"
Andy Ackerman on the Cheers finale, "One for the Road"
Andy Ackerman on directing his first episode of Seinfeld, "The Chaperone," and on working with the cast
Andy Ackerman on how Seinfeld phrases made it into the pop culture lexicon
Andy Ackerman on the Seinfeld finale penned by Larry David
Andy Ackerman on what makes a successful show
Andy Ackerman on Larry David's admiration of the character "Sgt. Bilko" and how that influenced Curb Your Enthusiasm

Television Industry

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Andy Ackerman on censorship on Seinfeld
Andy Ackerman on advice he got from James Burrows
Andy Ackerman on what makes a successful show

We Laughed

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Andy Ackerman on directing his first episode of Seinfeld, "The Chaperone," and on working with the cast
Professions

Directors

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Andy Ackerman on the importance of working with a good ensemble cast as a director
Andy Ackerman on the pacing changes on Seinfeld and on trying to maintain a realistic tone from the actors
Andy Ackerman on directing non-actor Jerry Seinfeld on Seinfeld
Andy Ackerman on the process of directing a Seinfeld episode and on various shooting locations
Andy Ackerman on the rehearsal process, ad-libbing, and "happy accidents" on Seinfeld
Andy Ackerman on what makes a successful show

Editor

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Andy Ackerman on the craft of editing and winning an Emmy for editing an episode of WKRP in Cincinnati

Post-Production Professionals

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Andy Ackerman on the craft of editing and winning an Emmy for editing an episode of WKRP in Cincinnati
Genres

Children's Programming

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Andy Ackerman on TV shows he grew up watching: The Mickey Mouse Club

Comedy Series

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Andy Ackerman on how he got a job editing for WKRP in Cincinnati and winning an Emmy for the show
Andy Ackerman on his first job as an assistant editor at Welcome Back, Kotter
Andy Ackerman on editing and directing Cheers
Andy Ackerman on working on Wings
Andy Ackerman on being approached to do Frasier with Peter Casey, David Angell, and David Lee
Andy Ackerman on directing Seinfeld
Andy Ackerman on directing Everybody Loves Raymond
Andy Ackerman on directing Seinfeld
Andy Ackerman on the show Almost Perfect
Andy Ackerman on the great experience he had on the show Andy Richter Controls the Universe starring Andy Richter
Andy Ackerman on the great experience he had on the show LateLine
Andy Ackerman on directing The New Adventures of Old Christine starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Andy Ackerman on reuniting with Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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Andy Ackerman on TV shows he grew up watching: The Ed Sullivan Show
People

Kirstie Alley

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Andy Ackerman on working with Ted Danson as "Sam Malone" and Kirstie Alley as "Rebecca Howe" on Cheers

David Angell

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Andy Ackerman on being approached to do Frasier with Peter Casey, David Angell, and David Lee

Jennifer Aniston

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Andy Ackerman on directing Muddling Through with Jennifer Aniston

Jack Benny

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Andy Ackerman on some of his favorite television moments: with Michael Richards, Peter Boyle, and Jack Benny

Peter Boyle

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Andy Ackerman on some of his favorite television moments: with Michael Richards, Peter Boyle, and Jack Benny

James Burrows

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Andy Ackerman on James Burrows' take on Taxi
Andy Ackerman on advice he got from James Burrows

Peter Casey

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Andy Ackerman on being approached to do Frasier with Peter Casey, David Angell, and David Lee

Ted Danson

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Andy Ackerman on working with Ted Danson as "Sam Malone" and Kirstie Alley as "Rebecca Howe" on Cheers
Andy Ackerman on reuniting with Ted Danson on Becker

Larry David

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Andy Ackerman on how he came to meet Larry David and eventually direct Seinfeld
Andy Ackerman on what he brought to Seinfeld and on what he learned from Larry David
Andy Ackerman on Seinfeld after Larry David left the show
Andy Ackerman on the Seinfeld finale - Larry David returned for the final episode
Andy Ackerman on reuniting with Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm

Dick Van Dyke

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Andy Ackerman on special guest star Dick Van Dyke on Becker

Victor Fresco

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Andy Ackerman on writer Victor Fresco

Kelsey Grammer

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Andy Ackerman on directing Kelsey Grammer in Frasier

David Lee

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Andy Ackerman on being approached to do Frasier with Peter Casey, David Angell, and David Lee

Kari Lizer

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Andy Ackerman on directing The New Adventures of Old Christine starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and created by Kari Lizer

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

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Andy Ackerman on directing Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Seinfeld
Andy Ackerman on directing The New Adventures of Old Christine starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and created by Kari Lizer

Michael Richards

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Andy Ackerman on Jon Voight guest-starring on Seinfeld with Michael Richards
Andy Ackerman on some of his favorite television moments: with Michael Richards, Peter Boyle, and Jack Benny

Andy Richter

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Andy Ackerman on the great experience he had on the show Andy Richter Controls the Universe starring Andy Richter

Jerry Seinfeld

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Andy Ackerman on directing non-actor Jerry Seinfeld on Seinfeld

Jerry Stiller

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Andy Ackerman on working with Jerry Stiller on Seinfeld

Alex Trebek

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Andy Ackerman on working with Alex Trebek for the Jeopardy! episode of Cheers, "What is... Cliff Clavin?"

Jon Voight

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Andy Ackerman on Jon Voight guest-starring on Seinfeld with Michael Richards

Hugh Wilson

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Andy Ackerman on editing WKRP in Cincinnati with show creator Hugh Wilson

All Interviews

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