David Crane

Producer / Show Creator


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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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.

"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
David Crane on television he watched while growing up, and on deciding what he wanted to do
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how James Burrows set the tone for Friends in the pilot and what he brought to the show
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the writing staff of Friends
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on Friends moving to NBC's "must-see TV" Thursday night lineup
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on selling their first script
Full Interview

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

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how Dream On came about and the premise of the show
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on why Dream On was successful for HBO
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
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on being nominated for an Emmy for Dream On

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on being nominated for an Emmy for Dream On
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on getting a mistaken Emmy nomination for Friends, due to a teleprompter error

Episodes

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David Crane on the premise of his then-just debuting show Episodes, with Matt LeBlanc

Friends

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on getting a mistaken Emmy nomination for Friends, due to a teleprompter error
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how Friends came about
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on coming up with the characters on Friends, and on using their own lives for inspiration
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
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on coming up with the title for Friends, and on their initial time slot
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
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how James Burrows set the tone for Friends in the pilot and what he brought to the show
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)
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the Friends opening title sequence
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on working with the cast of Friends
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on Friends moving to NBC's "must-see TV" Thursday night lineup
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how 9/11 affected production on Friends
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on "Monica's" fat suit on Friends
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the "Ross/Rachel" story arc on Friends, and on audience reaction to their relationship
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the success of Friends throughout its 10 years on the air
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on casting Friends
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how they divided their responsibilities on Friends
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the Friends writing staff
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the process of writing Friends
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on planning out story arcs on Friends
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on writing the final episode of Friends
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the friendships among the cast of Friends, and on how celebrity impacted them
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how Friends impacted American culture
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the possibility of doing a Friends reunion show
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on their proudest achievement, Friends - "it was perfect"

Powers That Be, The

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on working on The Powers That Be with Norman Lear

Veronica's Closet

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on creating Veronica's Closet
Topics

9/11

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how 9/11 affected production on Friends

Advice

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David Crane on advice to an aspiring television producer
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on advice to aspiring television writers

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on mentors in their careers

Diversity in Television

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David Crane on positive portrayals of gay characters on his shows

Emmy Awards

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on being nominated for an Emmy for Dream On
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on getting a mistaken Emmy nomination for Friends, due to a teleprompter error

Historic Events and Social Change

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David Crane on positive portrayals of gay characters on his shows
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how 9/11 affected production on Friends

LGBTQ

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David Crane on positive portrayals of gay characters on his shows

Pivotal Career Moments

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on mentors in their careers

Pop Culture

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how Friends impacted American culture
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the Friends theme song, "I'll Be There For You"

TV Theme Songs

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the Friends theme song, "I'll Be There For You"

Television Industry

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David Crane on advice to an aspiring television producer
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the then-current state of network television
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on advice to aspiring television writers
Professions

Producers

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David Crane on advice to an aspiring television producer
David Crane on working with his life partner, Jeffrey Klarik

Show Creators

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how they worked with the actors on Friends
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on what they looked for when hiring writers on Friends

Writers

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on what appealed to them about writing
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on learning to write as they went along, and deciding not to be actors
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on advice to aspiring television writers
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the success of their writing partnership
Genres

Comedy Series

View Genre
David Crane on the premise of his then-just debuting show Episodes
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on creating Dream On
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on working on The Powers That Be with Norman Lear
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on creating Friends
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on creating and running Friends
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on creating Veronica's Closet
People

Jennifer Aniston

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on casting Jennifer Aniston as "Rachel Green" on Friends 

Kevin Bright

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on working with Kevin Bright on Dream On and then teaming with him in a production company

James Burrows

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how James Burrows set the tone for Friends in the pilot and what he brought to the show

Courteney Cox

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on casting Courtney Cox as "Monica Geller" on Friends
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the character of "Monica" on Friends and why Courteney Cox was right for the role

Lisa Kudrow

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on casting Lisa Kudrow as "Phoebe Buffay" on Friends

Matt LeBlanc

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David Crane on the premise of his then-just debuting show Episodes, with Matt LeBlanc
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on casting Matt LeBlanc as "Joey Tribbiani" on Friends

Norman Lear

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on working on The Powers That Be with Norman Lear
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on what they learned from working with Norman Lear

Matthew Perry

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on casting Matthew Perry as "Chandler Bing" on Friends

David Schwimmer

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on casting David Schwimmer as "Ross Geller" on Friends

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