David Crane

Producer / Show Creator


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tab

About
About this interview

In the fifteen-minute solo portion of his interview, David Crane talks about his early years, and his mother and father being celebrities on local television in his town. He describes his then-new series Episodes, starring Matt LeBlanc. He concludes with advice to aspiring television writers, and the importance of having positive portrayals of gay characters on his shows.

In the two-and-a-half-hour joint portion of their interview, David Crane and Marta Kauffman talk about how they met, and how their writing partnership came about. They describe creating and producing the HBO comedy Dream On, for which they received an Emmy Award nomination, as well as working with Norman Lear on the short-lived series The Powers That Be. They speak in great detail about creating, writing, and producing the blockbuster-hit NBC comedy Friends, including casting, story arcs, the contribution of James Burrows, and their time slot on NBC’s “must-see” Thursday night lineup. They outline the popularity of Friends, as well as its cultural impact and legacy. They recall the breakup of their Bright/Kauffman/Crane production company, and opine on the then-current state of network television. Beth Cochran conducted the interviews on October 7, 2010 in Los Angeles, CA.

All views expressed by interviewees are theirs alone and not necessarily those of the Television Academy.

"We ended [Friends] right. It felt right. We put a wonderful bow on the end of it."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how they met
04:40
David Crane on television he watched while growing up, and on deciding what he wanted to do
02:25
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how James Burrows set the tone for Friends in the pilot and what he brought to the show
02:19
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the writing staff of Friends
05:18
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on Friends moving to NBC's "must-see TV" Thursday night lineup
02:03
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on selling their first script
01:26
Full Interview

Play Full Video

Chapter 1

On his childhood and education; on his parents being on local television when was growing up; on television he watched while growing up, and on deciding what he wanted to do
On the premise of his then-just debuting show Episodes, with Matt LeBlanc; on advice to an aspiring television producer; on working with his life partner, Jeffrey Klarik, and on positive portrayals of gay characters on his shows

Chapter 2

START OF JOINT INTERVIEW WITH DAVID CRANE AND MARTA KAUFFMAN: On how they met; on what appealed to them about writing; on learning to write as they went along, and deciding not to be actors
On selling their first script; on how Dream On came about and the premise of the show; on why Dream On was successful for HBO
On the premise of Dream On, and on how the video clips of old television shows were worked into the series; on being nominated for an Emmy for Dream On
On working on The Powers That Be with Norman Lear; on what they learned from working with Norman Lear; on writing the pilots Family Album and Couples
On how Friends came about; on coming up with the characters on Friends, and on using their own lives for inspiration; on network notes for the show, and on coming up with the show's title

Chapter 3

On casting Friends; on how James Burrows set the tone for Friends in the pilot and what he brought to the show; on the show's theme song
On the opening credits of Friends; on how they divided their responsibilities on Friends; on how they worked with the actors on the show
On Friends moving to NBC's "must-see TV" Thursday night lineup; on the early success of the show; on the writers' room; on where ideas for Friends storylines came from
On the writers' room on Friends; on the story arcs of Friends
On the "Ross/Rachel" story arc on Friends; on their favorite episodes of Friends
On how Friends affected popular culture; on the possibility of doing a Friends reunion show
On how 9/11 affected production on Friends; on the success of Friends over 10 years; on creating Veronica's Closet

Chapter 4

On why their writing partnership and Bright/Kauffman/Crane dissolved; on the state of network television today
On their proudest achievement; on their mentors
On advice to television writers; on their favorite stories about each other
Shows

Dream On

View Show Page
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how Dream On came about and the premise of the show
05:53
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on why Dream On was successful for HBO
01:38
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the premise of Dream On, and on how the video clips of old television shows were worked into the series
05:21
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on being nominated for an Emmy for Dream On
05:10

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

View Show Page
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on being nominated for an Emmy for Dream On
05:10
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on getting a mistaken Emmy nomination for Friends, due to a teleprompter error
00:40

Episodes

View Show Page
David Crane on the premise of his then-just debuting show Episodes, with Matt LeBlanc
00:52

Friends

View Show Page
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on getting a mistaken Emmy nomination for Friends, due to a teleprompter error
00:40
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how Friends came about
02:01
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on coming up with the characters on Friends, and on using their own lives for inspiration
01:17
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on NBC's response to the Friends pilot, and on suggestions Warren Littlefield and audience research made for the show
04:22
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on coming up with the title for Friends, and on their initial time slot
03:43
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the Friends characters as they had imagined them in their original script, and why each actor was right for his or her role
01:49
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how James Burrows set the tone for Friends in the pilot and what he brought to the show
02:19
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the Friends theme song, which was written by Kauffman's husband, Michael Skloff, (music) and Kauffman and Crane (lyrics)
02:03
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the Friends opening title sequence
02:49
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on working with the cast of Friends
03:50
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on Friends moving to NBC's "must-see TV" Thursday night lineup
02:03
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how 9/11 affected production on Friends
02:40
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on "Monica's" fat suit on Friends
00:43
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the "Ross/Rachel" story arc on Friends, and on audience reaction to their relationship
05:39
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the success of Friends throughout its 10 years on the air
02:44
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on casting Friends
05:48
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how they divided their responsibilities on Friends
01:30
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the Friends writing staff
05:19
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the process of writing Friends
06:09
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on planning out story arcs on Friends
03:58
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on writing the final episode of Friends
03:36
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the friendships among the cast of Friends, and on how celebrity impacted them
02:11
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how Friends impacted American culture
02:40
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the possibility of doing a Friends reunion show
00:41
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on their proudest achievement, Friends - "it was perfect"

Powers That Be, The

View Show Page
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on working on The Powers That Be with Norman Lear
09:59

Veronica's Closet

View Show Page
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on creating Veronica's Closet
02:03
Topics

9/11

View Topic
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how 9/11 affected production on Friends
02:40

Advice

View Topic
David Crane on advice to an aspiring television producer
02:15
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on advice to aspiring television writers
03:49

Creative Influences and Inspiration

View Topic
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on mentors in their careers
01:42

Emmy Awards

View Topic
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on being nominated for an Emmy for Dream On
05:10
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on getting a mistaken Emmy nomination for Friends, due to a teleprompter error
00:40

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
David Crane on positive portrayals of gay characters on his shows
01:12
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how 9/11 affected production on Friends
02:40

LGBTQ

View Topic
David Crane on positive portrayals of gay characters on his shows
01:12

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on mentors in their careers
01:42

Pop Culture

View Topic
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how Friends impacted American culture
02:40
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the Friends theme song, "I'll Be There For You"
02:03

Representation on Television

View Topic
David Crane on positive portrayals of gay characters on his shows
01:12

TV Theme Songs

View Topic
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the Friends theme song, "I'll Be There For You"
02:03

Television Industry

View Topic
David Crane on advice to an aspiring television producer
02:15
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the then-current state of network television
04:15
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on advice to aspiring television writers
03:49
Professions

Producers

View Profession
David Crane on advice to an aspiring television producer
02:15
David Crane on working with his life partner, Jeffrey Klarik
01:21

Show Creators

View Profession
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how they worked with the actors on Friends
02:34
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on what they looked for when hiring writers on Friends
01:28

Writers

View Profession
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on what appealed to them about writing
02:38
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on learning to write as they went along, and deciding not to be actors
02:17
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on advice to aspiring television writers
03:50
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the success of their writing partnership
00:55
Genres

Comedy Series

View Genre
David Crane on the premise of his then-just debuting show Episodes
01:02
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on creating Dream On
18:03
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on working on The Powers That Be with Norman Lear
13:36
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on creating Friends
11:23
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on creating and running Friends
57:48
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on creating Veronica's Closet
02:03
People

Jennifer Aniston

View Person Page
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on casting Jennifer Aniston as "Rachel Green" on Friends 
01:08

Kevin Bright

View Interview Page
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on working with Kevin Bright on Dream On and then teaming with him in a production company
01:34

James Burrows

View Interview Page
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how James Burrows set the tone for Friends in the pilot and what he brought to the show
02:19

Courteney Cox

View Person Page
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on casting Courtney Cox as "Monica Geller" on Friends
00:39
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the character of "Monica" on Friends and why Courteney Cox was right for the role
01:48

Lisa Kudrow

View Interview Page
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on casting Lisa Kudrow as "Phoebe Buffay" on Friends
01:02

Matt LeBlanc

View Person Page
David Crane on the premise of his then-just debuting show Episodes, with Matt LeBlanc
00:52
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on casting Matt LeBlanc as "Joey Tribbiani" on Friends
01:43

Norman Lear

View Interview Page
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on working on The Powers That Be with Norman Lear
09:59
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on what they learned from working with Norman Lear
03:36

Matthew Perry

View Person Page
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on casting Matthew Perry as "Chandler Bing" on Friends
01:33

David Schwimmer

View Person Page
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on casting David Schwimmer as "Ross Geller" on Friends
00:49

All Interviews

S