Beth McCarthy-Miller

Director


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her three-hour-and-ten-minute Archive interview, Beth McCarthy-Miller describes her early life and her internship at MTV. She recalls discovering her affinity for television directing and how it led to her directing the pilot for MTV's groundbreaking Unplugged series, as well as several later classic episodes featuring Nirvana and Tony Bennett. She discusses her time on The Jon Stewart Show, which started out on MTV and was later tapped to replace Paramount's Arsenio Hall Show in syndication. McCarthy-Miller recounts replacing long-time director Dave Wilson on Saturday Night Live, detailing her eleven year association with the show, working with show creator Lorne Michaels, cast members Will Ferrell, Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey, and guest hosts Alec Baldwin and John Goodman. She covers directing two Super Bowl halftime shows, one of which included the infamous Janet Jackson "wardrobe malfunction." She discusses her several stints as director of the MTV Music Awards and talks about directing many episodes of the comedy series 30 Rock, including two special, critically-acclaimed live episodes. She also describes directing other sitcoms like Modern Family. Amy Harrington conducted the interview on June 19, 2014 in North Hollywood, California.

"One of the craziest moments I had was during rehearsal for the 'Saturday Night Live 25th Anniversary Special.' Danny, Laraine, Garrett, Billy and Jane Curtin were there. Bill Murray stopped and said, 'We need to get champagne.' I was sitting there toasting with most of the original members of 'Saturday Night Live' and that made me just go, 'I'm the luckiest person on the planet.'"

People Talking About ...
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her early life and influences; on television she watched growing up; on interning at MTV and deciding she wanted to be a television director
On directing the pilot for MTV Unplugged; on directing Nirvana: Unplugged and Tony Bennett: Unplugged; on working on various MTV shows in the network's early days of original programming and discovering her affinity for directing comedy
On directing MTV's Week in Rock and MTV's "Choose or Lose" campaign; on directing T he Jon Stewart Show; on the end of The Jon Stewart Show
On becoming the director of Saturday Night Live; on changes she brought as director of Saturday Night Live; on directing live comedy vs. directing pre-recorded comedy

Chapter 2

On the relationship between the director and the writers on Saturday Night Live; on on-air mishaps on Saturday Night Live  and the stress of directing it; on working with Lorne Michaels on Saturday Night Live
On being a woman working on Saturday Night Live; on working with Jimmy Fallon; on working with Tina Fey as head writer of Saturday Night Live; on directing Saturday Night Live in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and directing America: A Tribute to Heroes
On directing the Saturday Night Live 25th Anniversary Special; on what makes a good Saturday Night Live  host; on the musical guests of Saturday Night Live; on leaving the show
On directing The MTV Music Awards; on hosts of The MTV Music Awards; on iconic moments of The MTV Music Awards

Chapter 3

On Michael Jackson appearing on The MTV Music Awards; on directing Super Bowl halftime shows including the infamous Janet Jackson incident; on how she came to direct 30 Rock  and working with the cast of the show
On a typical production week for 30 Rock; on directing the live episodes of 30 Rock; on directing the final episode of the show
On her favorite episodes and the legacy of 30 Rock; on being nominated for multiple Emmy Awards; on directing Modern Family
On her favorite episodes of Modern Family; on directing The Sound of Music Live!; on directing The Maya Rudolph Show

Chapter 4

On her involvement in post-production, her directing style and how directing has changed since she started; on making her actors feel comfortable; on film directing vs. television directing; on advice to aspiring directors and where she sees herself in the then-future
Shows

30 Rock

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Beth McCarthy-Miller on how she came to direct 30 Rock
Beth McCarthy-Miller on working with the cast of 30 Rock
Beth McCarthy-Miller on a typical production week for 30 Rock
Beth McCarthy-Miller on directing the live episodes of 30 Rock
Beth McCarthy-Miller on directing the final episode of 30 Rock
Beth McCarthy-Miller on favorite episodes of 30 Rock
Beth McCarthy-Miller on what she learned from directing 30 Rock and the legacy of the show

America: A Tribute to Heroes

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Beth McCarthy-Miller on directing Saturday Night Live in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and directing America: A Tribute to Heroes

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

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Beth McCarthy-Miller on being nominated for multiple Emmy Awards

MTV Video Music Awards

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Beth McCarthy-Miller on directing The MTV Music Awards
Beth McCarthy-Miller on the hosts of The MTV Music Awards
Beth McCarthy-Miller on the venues of The MTV Music Awards
Beth McCarthy-Miller on the iconic moments of The MTV Music Awards
Beth McCarthy-Miller on Michael Jackson appearing on The MTV Music Awards

Modern Family

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Beth McCarthy-Miller on directing Modern Family
Beth McCarthy-Miller on working with the cast and creators of Modern Family
Beth McCarthy-Miller on her favorite episodes of Modern Family

Saturday Night Live

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Beth McCarthy-Miller on replacing Dave Wilson as director on Saturday Night Live
Beth McCarthy-Miller on the changes she brought to Saturday Night Live as director and the "rules" of directing live comedy
Beth McCarthy-Miller on the differences between directing live comedy and pre-recorded comedy
Beth McCarthy-Miller on the relationship between the director and the writers on Saturday Night Live
Beth McCarthy-Miller on on-air mishaps on Saturday Night Live and the stress of directing it
Beth McCarthy-Miller on working with the cast of Saturday Night Live and a typical production week on the show
Beth McCarthy-Miller on her favorite Saturday Night Live sketches
Beth McCarthy-Miller on working with Lorne Michaels on Saturday Night Live
Beth McCarthy-Miller on being a woman working on Saturday Night Live
Beth McCarthy-Miller on working with Tina Fey as head writer of Saturday Night Live
Beth McCarthy-Miller on working with Jimmy Fallon on Saturday Night Live
Beth McCarthy-Miller on directing Saturday Night Live in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and directing America: A Tribute to Heroes
Beth McCarthy-Miller on directing the Saturday Night Live 25th Anniversary Special
Beth McCarthy-Miller on what makes a good Saturday Night Live host
Beth McCarthy-Miller on Ashlee Simpson's lip synch error on Saturday Night Live
Beth McCarthy-Miller on her favorite musical moments from her tenure at Saturday Night Live
Beth McCarthy-Miller on leaving Saturday Night Live
Beth McCarthy-Miller on her favorite memories of Saturday Night Live
Beth McCarthy-Miller on the legacy of Saturday Night Live

Super Bowl

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Beth McCarthy-Miller on directing Super Bowl halftime shows
Beth McCarthy-Miller on directing Janet Jackson's infamous "Nipplegate" incident during the Super Bowl halftime show
Topics

9/11

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Beth McCarthy-Miller on directing Saturday Night Live in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and directing America: A Tribute to Heroes
Beth McCarthy-Miller on directing Saturday Night Live  in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and directing America: A Tribute to Heroes

Advice

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Beth McCarthy-Miller on advice to aspiring television directors

Bloopers

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Beth McCarthy-Miller on on-air mishaps on Saturday Night Live  and the stress of directing it
Beth McCarthy-Miller on Ashlee Simpson's lip synch error on Saturday Night Live

Classic TV series episodes

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Beth McCarthy-Miller on directing the final episode of 30 Rock

Comedy

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Beth McCarthy-Miller on directing the final episode of 30 Rock

Diversity in Television

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Beth McCarthy-Miller on being a woman working on Saturday Night Live

Emmy Awards

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Beth McCarthy-Miller on being nominated for multiple Emmy Awards

Historic Events and Social Change

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Beth McCarthy-Miller on directing Saturday Night Live in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and directing America: A Tribute to Heroes
Beth McCarthy-Miller on being a woman working on Saturday Night Live
Beth McCarthy-Miller on directing Saturday Night Live  in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and directing America: A Tribute to Heroes

Pop Culture

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Beth McCarthy-Miller on directing Janet Jackson's infamous "Nipplegate" incident during the Super Bowl  halftime show
Beth McCarthy-Miller on Michael Jackson appearing on The MTV Music Awards
Beth McCarthy-Miller on directing the final episode of 30 Rock

Television Industry

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Beth McCarthy-Miller on advice to aspiring television directors
Beth McCarthy-Miller on how television has changed since she started working in it

Women

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Beth McCarthy-Miller on being a woman working on Saturday Night Live
Professions

Directors

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Beth McCarthy-Miller on the changes she brought to Saturday Night Live  as director and the "rules" of directing live comedy
Beth McCarthy-Miller on the differences between directing live comedy and pre-recorded comedy
Beth McCarthy-Miller on her involvement in post-production 
Beth McCarthy-Miller on her directing style
Beth McCarthy-Miller on making her actors feel comfortable when directing
Beth McCarthy-Miller on advice to aspiring television directors
Genres

Awards Shows

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Beth McCarthy-Miller on directing The MTV Music Awards

Comedy Series

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Beth McCarthy-Miller on directing Saturday Night Live (Part One)
Beth McCarthy-Miller on directing Saturday Night Live  (Part 2)
Beth McCarthy-Miller on directing 30 Rock
Beth McCarthy-Miller on directing Modern Family
People

Jimmy Fallon

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Beth McCarthy-Miller on working with Jimmy Fallon on Saturday Night Live

Tina Fey

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Beth McCarthy-Miller on working with Tina Fey as head writer of Saturday Night Live

Michael Jackson

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Beth McCarthy-Miller on Michael Jackson appearing on The MTV Music Awards

Janet Jackson

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Beth McCarthy-Miller on directing Janet Jackson's infamous "Nipplegate" incident during the Super Bowl halftime show

Steve Levitan

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Beth McCarthy-Miller on working with the cast and creators of Modern Family

Christopher Lloyd

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Beth McCarthy-Miller on working with the cast and creators of Modern Family

Lorne Michaels

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Beth McCarthy-Miller on working with Lorne Michaels on Saturday Night Live

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