Marcy Carsey

Producer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her two-hour Archive interview, Marcy Carsey is interviewed solo for a half hour and together with partner Tom Werner for one-and-a-half hours. Carsey discusses her first job as an NBC tour guide and how it led to working on the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, at an advertising agency, and at other production companies. She discusses moving to ABC in 1974, where she worked in comedy programming and development and hired future producing partner Tom Werner. Werner speaks of working first in documentaries, then joining ABC's planning and development department. Carsey recalls leaving ABC in 1980 to start her own production company, and Werner joining her a year later. The two talk about developing a number of shows before creating their major 1984 hit, The Cosby Show. They speak of producing hit series A Different World, Roseanne, Grace Under Fire, Cybill and 3rd Rock from the Sun.  Carsey and Warner also speak about their longtime partner Caryn Mandabach and the challenges facing independent production companies today. Karen Herman conducted the interview on March 10, 2003 in Los Angeles, CA.

"We believed that strong independent voices were really necessary in getting good programming out."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Marcy Carsey on employing independent producers
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on "Rudy" originally being a boy on The Cosby Show
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on when they realized that The Cosby Show would be a hit (the Monopoly scene in the pilot)
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on producing 3rd Rock From the Sun
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on the importance of syndication
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her childhood and early influences; on her early interest in television and her involvement with theater; on moving to New York
On discovering the television industry in New York and becoming an NBC tour guide; on working for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and at an advertising agency
On moving to Los Angeles; on acting in commercials and getting hired at ABC in 1974; on shows she helped get on the air at ABC
On going into development and hiring Tom Werner; on leaving ABC in 1980 and becoming an independent producer
On investing in the Oxygen network; on then-recent projects

Chapter 2

START OF JOINT INTERVIEW WITH MARCY CARSEY AND TOM WERNER; on the Carsey Company and not making a studio deal early on; on their business partnership and getting Oh Madeline on the air
On developing their first big hit, The Cosby Show; on the difficulty of selling the show; on the program's success once it aired
On casting The Cosby Show; on their day-to-day duties as Executive Producers of The Cosby Show

Chapter 3

On the end of The Cosby Show; on working with Bill Cosby; on the Cosby spin-off A Different World
On developing Roseanne; on casting the show, how fame changed Roseanne, and the end of the show
On having several hit shows on the air at the same time; on negotiations with networks for a joint venture
On developing and executive producing Grace Under Fire and Cybill

Chapter 4

On the structure of their company and their division of duties; on their partnership and their strengths
On what makes a successful producer; on what they look for in a writer; on the importance of syndication
On producing and casting 3rd Rock From the Sun
On producing That '70s Show
On their favorite stories about each other
On producing Grounded For Life; on Caryn Mandabach
Shows

3rd Rock From the Sun

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on producing 3rd Rock From the Sun
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on casting 3rd Rock From the Sun

Barney Miller

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Marcy Carsey on suggesting Barney Miller go on the air

Cosby Show, The

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on developing their first big hit, The Cosby Show
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on when they realized that The Cosby Show would be a hit (the Monopoly scene in the pilot)
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on the difficulty of selling The Cosby Show; on pitching the show and hiding from NBC executives
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on the success of The Cosby Show once it aired
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on casting The Cosby Show
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on their day-to-day duties as Executive Producers of The Cosby Show
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on the end of The Cosby Show run; on working with Bill Cosby

Cybill

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on developing and executive producing Cybill

Different World, A

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on the Cosby spin-off A Different World and the awareness the program brought to black colleges

Grace Under Fire

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on developing and executive producing Grace Under Fire

Maverick

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Marcy Carsey on her love of the show Maverick and meeting James Garner later in life

Oh Madeline

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on getting Oh Madeline on the air

Roseanne

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on developing and casting Roseanne
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on how Roseanne evolved throughout the run of the show
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on the end of Roseanne

Soap

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Marcy Carsey on fighting for Soap to air

That '70s Show

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on producing 3rd Rock From the Sun

Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The

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Marcy Carsey on her low level job at The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and transitioning to Assistant to the Associate Producer
Topics

Diversity in Television

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Marcy Carsey on the progression of her career at ABC and becoming head of series television
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on the Cosby spin-off A Different World and the awareness the program brought to black colleges

Fame & Celebrity

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on problems with Roseanne on the set of Roseanne and how fame changed her

Historic Events and Social Change

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Marcy Carsey on the progression of her career at ABC and becoming head of series television
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on the Cosby spin-off A Different World and the awareness the program brought to black colleges

Memorable Moments on Television

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on when they realized that The Cosby Show would be a hit (the Monopoly scene in the pilot)

Minorities

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on the Cosby spin-off A Different World and the awareness the program brought to black colleges

Network Creation

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Marcy Carsey on investing in the Oxygen network

Television Industry

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Marcy Carsey on investing in the Oxygen network
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on problems with Roseanne on the set of Roseanne and how fame changed her
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on negotiations with networks for a joint venture upon the end of the fin-syn rules

We Laughed

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on when they realized that The Cosby Show would be a hit (the Monopoly scene in the pilot)

Women

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Marcy Carsey on the progression of her career at ABC and becoming head of series television
Professions

Producers

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Marcy Carsey on leaving ABC in 1980
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on their day-to-day duties as Executive Producers of The Cosby Show
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on what makes a successful producer
Genres

Comedy Series

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on developing and casting their first big hit, The Cosby Show
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on developing and casting Roseanne
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on the end of The Cosby Show and the Cosby spin-off A Different World
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on producing and casting 3rd Rock From the Sun

Commercials

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Marcy Carsey on acting in commercials
People

Christine Baranski

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on working with Christine Baranski on Cybill

Lisa Bonet

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on casting Lisa Bonet on The Cosby Show

Marcy Carsey

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Tom Werner on his favorite story about Marcy Carsey

Bill Cosby

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on developing their first big hit, The Cosby Show
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on Bill Cosby's conditions for agreeing to do The Cosby Show
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on The Cosby Show's long tapings
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on telling Bill Cosby The Cosby Show was the number one show on television
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on their day-to-day duties as Executive Producers of The Cosby Show
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on the end of The Cosby Show run; on working with Bill Cosby
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on what makes a successful producer

Jane Curtin

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on casting Jane Curtin on 3rd Rock From the Sun

Michael Eisner

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Marcy Carsey on Michael Eisner hiring her at ABC even though she was pregnant

James Garner

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Marcy Carsey on her love of the show Maverick and meeting James Garner later in life

Leonard H. Goldenson

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Marcy Carsey on ABC founder Leonard Goldenson's involvement in the network

John Goodman

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on the importance of John Goodman on Roseanne

John Lithgow

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on casting John Lithgow on 3rd Rock From the Sun

Chuck Lorre

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on Chuck Lorre as head writer of Cybill

Phylicia Rashad

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on The Cosby Show's long tapings
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on casting Phylicia Rashad on The Cosby Show

Roseanne

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on wanting the comedienne Roseanne for their new sitcom when developing Roseanne
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on Roseanne's input in developing Roseanne and problems with her on set

Jay Sandrich

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on The Cosby Show's long tapings

Cybill Shepherd

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on developing and executive producing Cybil

Brandon Tartikoff

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on working with Brandon Tartikoff at NBC and selling The Cosby Show

Tom Werner

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Marcy Carsey on going into development and hiring Tom Werner
Marcy Carsey on her favorite story about Tom Werner

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