Kevin Bright

Producer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tab

About
About this interview

In his three-hour interview, Kevin Bright discusses his childhood in New York City, and his father, Vaudeville comedian turned talent manager, Jackie Bright. He talks about attending Emerson College, and, after graduation, working for producers Joseph and Gilbert Cate and producing David Copperfield specials. Bright shares stories of producing the syndicated series Madame’s Place and cable comedy specials, before working on the pilot of In Living Color. He talks about his work on Dream On, where he met Marta Kauffman and David Crane, with whom he created Friends. For Friends, he describes the pitching and development of the show, casting, shooting the pilot and the famous opening sequence, directing episodes, and ending the show after ten seasons. He touches on Veronica’s Closet, Jesse, and the Friends spin-off, Joey and concludes by sharing his greatest career achievements and regrets, advice to aspiring television professionals, and why he decided to return to Emerson College, where he now serves as the Founding Director of Emerson College Los Angeles. Jenni Matz conducted the interview in partnership with the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College on March 29, 2016 in Los Angeles, CA.

“Don’t confuse working in television with watching television. Working in television is really hard…you’ve got to love it more than anything. If you love it more than anything, you’re on the right path.”

Highlights
Kevin Bright on attending Emerson College
03:00
Kevin Bright on the opening credits of Friends, how the theme song was written, and the song's popularity
08:52
Kevin Bright on his favorite Friends episodes he directed
05:01
Kevin Bright on his work as supervising producer on the pilot of In Living Color
03:49
Kevin Bright on why Friends was so successful
01:24
Kevin Bright on his proudest career achievements
01:03
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on attending Emerson College; on his first jobs out of college
16:01
On working for producers Joseph and Gilbert Cates; on producing David Copperfield specials; on moving to Los Angeles and associate producing Madame's Place
14:05
On producing cable comedy specials in the 1980s; on working with comedians
09:50
On working on the pilot of In Living Color; on Dream On; on working with Marta Kauffman and David Crane on Dream On and becoming partners with them
17:05
On Bright/Kauffman/Crane making a deal with Warner Bros.; on the challenges they had developing shows for networks after working at HBO; on the legacy of Dream On
09:04

Chapter 2

On pitching Friends to the networks; on casting Friends; on how Friends responded to 9/11
19:07
On the amount of drama that was included in Friends; on the Friends theme song
12:14
On the role of music on Friends; on the title sequence of Friends; on network input on Friends
11:05
On Friends becoming a hit; on his role on the show; on directing
13:20
On his favorite Friends episodes he directed; on Friends' Emmy wins; on the decision to have a tenth and final season of Friends
12:15

Chapter 3

On the finale of Friends; on Friends streaming on Netflix
10:37
On Veronica's Closet and Jesse; on Joey
08:53
On being the Founding Director of Emerson College Los Angeles; on the best advice he's received; on how the television industry has changed
09:16
On the documentary he made about his father; on advice to aspiring television professionals; on his proudest career achievements and regrets; on then-current projects; on how he would like to be remembered
12:14
Shows

Dream On

View Show Page
Kevin Bright on how John Landis came to create Dream On, based on a directive from Sid Sheinberg and with the vision of Marta Kauffman and David Crane
04:07
Kevin Bright on meeting and working with Marta Kauffman and David Crane on Dream On
03:09
Kevin Bright on the legacy of Dream On
02:10
Kevin Bright on why Dream On came to an end
01:10
Kevin Bright on directing episodes of Dream On and Friends
02:22

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

View Show Page
Kevin Bright on winning an Emmy for his work on the pilot of In Living Color
01:39
Kevin Bright on Friends' Emmy wins, and the fact that it didn't win any until the show's eighth season
02:27

Friends

View Show Page
Kevin Bright on he, Marta Kauffman, and David Crane selling Friends to NBC
07:04
Kevin Bright on the casting of Friends
06:54
Kevin Bright on how Friends responded to 9/11
02:37
Kevin Bright on how somewhat dramatic storylines were included on Friends
01:31
Kevin Bright on James Burrows directing the pilot of Friends
01:49
Kevin Bright on the opening credits of Friends (which almost didn't come to be) and how the theme song was written
08:52
Kevin Bright on the role of music on Friends, and the fact that they used the "real" version of popular songs, not covers
02:38
Kevin Bright on the opening credits of Friends, which featured the cast playing in a fountain
05:52
Kevin Bright on network input on Friends
01:58
Kevin Bright on Friends becoming a hit in its first season
01:17
Kevin Bright on how the instant success of Friends affected the cast and creators
04:06
Kevin Bright on his role on Friends during a typical week on the show
01:48
Kevin Bright on directing episodes of Dream On and Friends
02:22
Kevin Bright on his favorite Friends episodes he directed
05:01
Kevin Bright on his father appearing on two episodes of Friends
01:28
Kevin Bright on Friends' Emmy wins, and the fact that it didn't win any until the show's eighth season
02:27
Kevin Bright on the decision to have a tenth and final season of Friends
03:16
Kevin Bright on the finale of Friends, which he directed
06:51
Kevin Bright on why Friends was so successful
01:24
Kevin Bright on the legacy of Friends
00:53
Kevin Bright on Friends streaming on Netflix and its popularity with young people
01:25
Kevin Bright on the Friends spin-off, Joey
02:43

In Living Color

View Show Page
Kevin Bright on his work as supervising producer on the pilot of In Living Color
03:49
Kevin Bright on his involvement in the casting of In Living Color
03:06
Kevin Bright on winning an Emmy for his work on the pilot of In Living Color and not being asked back to work on the show after the pilot
02:34

Jesse

View Show Page
Kevin Bright on Veronica's Closet and Jesse
04:20

Joey

View Show Page
Kevin Bright on the Friends spin-off, Joey
02:43

Madame's Place

View Show Page
Kevin Bright on how he talked his way into a job on Madame's Place
01:57
Kevin Bright on associate producing Madame's Place, which was a syndicated show and had to shoot on an extremely rushed schedule
04:13

Veronica's Closet

View Show Page
Kevin Bright on Veronica's Closet and Jesse
04:20
Topics

9/11

View Topic
Kevin Bright on how Friends responded to 9/11
02:37

Advice

View Topic
Kevin Bright on the hardest thing to teach about directing and producing for comedy
01:39
Kevin Bright on the best advice he's received about comedy and show business
00:58
Kevin Bright on advice to aspiring television professionals
01:21

Censorship / Standards & Practices

View Topic
Kevin Bright on an objection from executive Don Ohlmeyer to "Monica" sleeping with her date on the first episode of Friends
00:52

Classic TV series episodes

View Topic
Kevin Bright on the finale of Friends
06:51

Comedy

View Topic
Kevin Bright on the finale of Friends
06:51

Creative Influences and Inspiration

View Topic
Kevin Bright on how his father, a former Vaudeville comedian, brought comedy into their home when Bright was a child
01:41
Kevin Bright on his love of television as a child, and how that sowed the seeds for his career
02:15
Kevin Bright on attending Emerson College
03:00

Emmy Awards

View Topic
Kevin Bright on winning an Emmy for his work on the pilot of In Living Color
01:39
Kevin Bright on Friends' Emmy wins, and the fact that it didn't win any until the show's eighth season
02:27

Fame and Celebrity

View Topic
Kevin Bright on how the instant success of Friends affected the cast and creators
04:06

First Big Break

View Topic
Kevin Bright on his first job after graduating from Emerson College
01:40

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Kevin Bright on how Friends responded to 9/11
02:37

New Media

View Topic
Kevin Bright on Friends streaming on Netflix and its popularity with young people
01:25

Overcoming Adversity

View Topic
Kevin Bright on Bright/Kauffman/Crane developing shows for Warner Bros., and the challenge of networks wanting Dream On for network (which was impossible)
01:31

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Kevin Bright on how his father, a former Vaudeville comedian, brought comedy into their home when Bright was a child
01:41
Kevin Bright on his love of television as a child, and how that sowed the seeds for his career
02:15
Kevin Bright on attending Emerson College
03:00
Kevin Bright on Bright/Kauffman/Crane developing shows for Warner Bros., and the challenge of networks wanting Dream On for network (which was impossible)
01:31
Kevin Bright on his first job after graduating from Emerson College
01:40

Pop Culture

View Topic
Kevin Bright on the opening credits of Friends, how the theme song was written, and the song's popularity
08:52
Kevin Bright on how the instant success of Friends affected the cast and creators
04:06
Kevin Bright on the finale of Friends
06:51

TV Theme Songs

View Topic
Kevin Bright on the opening credits of Friends, how the theme song was written, and the song's popularity
08:52

Television Industry

View Topic
Kevin Bright on producing cable comedy specials in the 1980s and how the cable environment allowed him to create a niche for himself as a new kind of producer
02:27
Kevin Bright on Bright/Kauffman/Crane developing shows for Warner Bros., and the challenge of networks wanting Dream On for network (which was impossible)
01:31
Kevin Bright on an objection from executive Don Ohlmeyer to "Monica" sleeping with her date on the first episode of Friends
00:52
Kevin Bright on Friends streaming on Netflix and its popularity with young people
01:25
Kevin Bright on being the Founding Director of Emerson College Los Angeles
04:22
Kevin Bright on the hardest thing to teach about directing and producing for comedy
01:39
Kevin Bright on the best advice he's received about comedy and show business
00:58
Kevin Bright on how the industry has changed throughout the course of his career
02:14
Kevin Bright on advice to aspiring television professionals
01:21
Professions

Directors

View Profession
Kevin Bright on directing comedy
01:24
Kevin Bright on working with actors when he is directing
01:48

Producers

View Profession
Kevin Bright on the difference between being a production manager and a producer
00:40
Kevin Bright on producing cable comedy specials in the 1980s and how the cable environment allowed him to create a niche for himself as a new kind of producer
02:27
Kevin Bright on working with comedians as a producer
03:49
Genres

Comedy Series

View Genre
Kevin Bright on Madame's Place
06:12
Kevin Bright on Dream On
07:17
Kevin Bright on the legacy of Dream On and why it came to an end
03:21
Kevin Bright on Friends
01:08:08
Kevin Bright on Friends (Part 2)
10:37
Kevin Bright on Veronica's Closet and Jesse
04:20
Kevin Bright on the Friends spin-off, Joey
02:43

Late Night

View Genre
Kevin Bright on his work on the pilot of In Living Color
09:31
People

Jennifer Aniston

View Person Page
Kevin Bright on Jennifer Aniston being cast on Friends
00:46

James Burrows

View Interview Page
Kevin Bright on James Burrows directing the pilot of Friends
01:49

Gilbert Cates

View Interview Page
Kevin Bright on working for producers Joseph and Gilbert Cates
03:39

Joseph Cates

View Person Page
Kevin Bright on working for producers Joseph and Gilbert Cates
03:39

David Copperfield

View Person Page
Kevin Bright on producing specials for David Copperfield (who he originally met while working for producers Joseph and Gilbert Cates)
03:35

Courteney Cox

View Person Page
Kevin Bright on Courteney Cox being cast on Friends
01:40

David Crane

View Interview Page
Kevin Bright on how John Landis came to create Dream On, based on a directive from Sid Sheinberg and with the vision of Marta Kauffman and David Crane
04:07
Kevin Bright on meeting and working with Marta Kauffman and David Crane on Dream On, and how they decided to become partners
03:09
Kevin Bright on Bright/Kauffman/Crane making a development deal with Warner Bros. and Les Moonves
01:54
Kevin Bright on casting Friends with Marta Kauffman (who was more involved in the process than David Crane)
00:54
Kevin Bright on his professional break from Marta Kauffman and David Crane after the end of Friends
01:48

Marta Kauffman

View Interview Page
Kevin Bright on how John Landis came to create Dream On, based on a directive from Sid Sheinberg and with the vision of Marta Kauffman and David Crane
04:07
Kevin Bright on meeting and working with Marta Kauffman and David Crane on Dream On, and how they decided to become partners
03:09
Kevin Bright on Bright/Kauffman/Crane making a development deal with Warner Bros. and Les Moonves
01:54
Kevin Bright on casting Friends with Marta Kauffman (who was more involved in the process than David Crane)
00:54
Kevin Bright on his professional break from Marta Kauffman and David Crane after the end of Friends
01:48

Lisa Kudrow

View Interview Page
Kevin Bright on Lisa Kudrow being cast on Friends
00:52

John Landis

View Person Page
Kevin Bright on how John Landis came to create Dream On, based on a directive from Sid Sheinberg and with the vision of Marta Kauffman and David Crane
04:07

Matt LeBlanc

View Person Page
Kevin Bright on the Friends spin-off, Joey, starring Matt LeBlanc
02:43

Leslie Moonves

View Interview Page
Kevin Bright on Bright/Kauffman/Crane making a development deal with Warner Bros. and Les Moonves
01:54

Don Ohlmeyer

View Interview Page
Kevin Bright on executive Don Ohlmeyer not liking the title sequence of Friends
02:33

Matthew Perry

View Person Page
Kevin Bright on Matthew Perry being cast on Friends
00:59

David Schwimmer

View Person Page
Kevin Bright on David Schwimmer being cast on Friends: "David was the first one cast on the show"
00:54

Sid Sheinberg

View Interview Page
Kevin Bright on how John Landis came to create Dream On, based on a directive from Sid Sheinberg and with the vision of Marta Kauffman and David Crane
04:07

Keenen Ivory Wayans

View Interview Page
Kevin Bright on his involvement in the pilot of In Living Color and how Keenen Ivory Wayans pitched the show as "a black Saturday Night Live"
00:58
Kevin Bright on why Keenen Ivory Wayans let him go as supervising producer after the pilot of In Living Color
00:54

All Interviews

Q
S