Donald L. Taffner, Sr.

Executive


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his one-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Donald L. Taffner, Sr. (1930-2011) talks about his work in the television division at the William Morris Agency in the 1950s, commenting on the shows that the agency packaged in those days. He recalls his move to Paramount, running their New York office and selling such series as the adventure program, Mr. Garlund. He describes founding DLT Entertainment in the early 1960s, representing broadcasters overseas in the purchase of U.S. shows. He describes his company's association with Thames Television and the tradition of programming on the BBC. Taffner chronicles the packaging of The Benny Hill Show  for American television, and comments on Benny himself. He details the adaptation of several British sitcoms into successful American series, including: Three's Company, Too Close for Comfort, and Check It Out!  He speaks about his later work in live theater and the series M ystery Wheel of Adventure, As Time Goes By, and My Family. John Fitzgerald conducted the interview in a joint venture with the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), on August 26, 2008 in New York, New York.

"I had offers from Warner Brothers and Viacom to distribute 'Three's Company' in syndication, but I said 'No, I'd rather do it myself.' I said no to $10 or $15 million. Then the first deal I made was for $70 million."

Highlights
Donald L. Taffner, Sr. on shooting the pilots for Three's Company
03:45
Donald L. Taffner, Sr. on syndicating Three's Company
03:36
Donald L. Taffner, Sr. on early animated television programs he produced
01:38
Donald L. Taffner, Sr. on his management style
02:18
Donald L. Taffner, Sr. on advice to aspiring television executives
02:22
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on working at The William Morris Agency; on packaging early television shows
11:44
On getting into distribution at Paramount; on starting his own production and distribution company; on how television distribution has changed since the '60s; on distributing The Benny Hill Show
17:38
On his distribution deal with Thames Television; on distributing The World at War; on producing and distributing Three's Company
16:13
On producing and distributing Too Close for Comfort; on getting into the theater business and producing the series As Time Goes By; on producing and distributing the BBC series My Family
11:03

Chapter 2

On the writing process of My Family; on his management style and negotiating a deal; on producing and distributing The Saint; on career achievements and his family
13:02
On his philanthropic efforts; on advice to aspiring television executives; on his son, Donald Taffner, Jr.
15:10
Shows

Benny Hill Show, The

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Donald L. Taffner, Sr. on how television distribution has changed since the '60s and distributing The Benny Hill Show
06:27

Mr. Garlund

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Donald L. Taffner, Sr. on getting into producing television series at Paramount
03:47

My Family

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Donald L. Taffner, Sr. on the writing process of My Family
01:58

Three's Company

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Donald L. Taffner, Sr. on producing Three's Company based on the British series Man About the House
01:51
Donald L. Taffner, Sr. on shooting the pilots for Three's Company
03:45
Donald L. Taffner, Sr. on the contract negotiations with Suzanne Somers for Three's Company
01:56
Donald L. Taffner, Sr. on syndicating Three's Company
03:36

Too Close for Comfort

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Donald L. Taffner, Sr. on producing and distributing Too Close for Comfort
05:04

World at War, The

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Donald L. Taffner, Sr. on distributing The World at War
02:05
Topics

Advice

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Donald L. Taffner, Sr. on advice to aspiring television executives
02:22

Television Industry

View Topic
Donald L. Taffner, Sr. on starting his own production and distribution company
03:29
Donald L. Taffner, Sr. on how television distribution has changed since the '60s and distributing The Benny Hill Show
06:27
Donald L. Taffner, Sr. on advice to aspiring television executives
02:22
Professions

Executives

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Donald L. Taffner, Sr. on his management style
02:18
Donald L. Taffner, Sr. on negotiating a deal
01:51
Donald L. Taffner, Sr. on advice to aspiring television executives
02:22

Television Executive

View Profession
Donald L. Taffner, Sr. on his management style
02:18
Donald L. Taffner, Sr. on negotiating a deal
01:51
Donald L. Taffner, Sr. on advice to aspiring television executives
02:22
Genres

Comedy Series

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Donald L. Taffner, Sr. on producing Three's Company
11:10
Donald L. Taffner, Sr. on producing and distributing Too Close for Comfort
05:04
People

Suzanne Somers

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Donald L. Taffner, Sr. on the contract negotiations with Suzanne Somers for Three's Company
01:56

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