Michael Patrick King

Writer/Producer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-hour Archive Interview, Michael Patrick King discusses his path from Scranton, Pennsylvania to Hollywood and New York. He describes finding his way from actor, to stand-up comedian, to writer, and offers advice to aspiring writers and producers. King details working as a story editor on Murphy Brown, being offered a job on In Living Color, and writing for both Sex and the City and Will & Grace at the same time. He explains the importance of fashion on Sex and the City, describes how New York is its own character, and recalls memorable moments from the series. King also speaks of his work on the Sex and the City movies, outlines writing The Comeback with Lisa Kudrow, and shares tales of his most recent series, 2 Broke Girls. Nancy Harrington conducted the interview on May 25, 2011 in Burbank, CA.

"Follow the green lights. There are a lot of yellow lights in the world where people are not quite sure about a direction, or red lights, which is don't go that way. When I was an actor I remember thinking after a play, no matter how good I was, I felt like there was always a question. And then after I did comedy, people would just be smiling. And I thought, 'yeah, follow the green lights. Go where it's open towards you.'"

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Michael Patrick King on being the most like Carrie of all the Sex and the City characters
Michael Patrick King on Carrie ending up with Big, and revealing his name
Michael Patrick King on New York as a character in the show
Michael Patrick King on creating strong, female characters
Michael Patrick King on the legacy of Sex and the City
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on his Irish heritage and never having a drink in his life; on his favorite childhood television shows; on his college years in Erie, Pennsylvania and majoring in theater
On moving to New York and doing standup comedy; on realizing comedy was his forte; on his standup act; on writing for television on Caroline's Comedy Hour - and hiring Jon Stewart for the show; on writing for The Comedy Channel's The Sweet Life and becoming Executive Producer; on going back to theater
On My Talk Show; on the eccentricities of Hollywood; on getting offers from In Living Color and Good Sports and choosing to write for Good Sports; on the challenges of being a staff writer; on firing Ari Emanuel and learning to follow his path; on getting hired to write for Murphy Brown

Chapter 2

On rules for writing for Murphy Brown; on the importance of writers having writer friends; on the comedy of Murphy Brown; on enjoying working with Candice Bergen; on leaving Murphy Brown and taking over the show Good Advice; on being told he's not a showrunner
On becoming the new showrunner on and getting let go from Cybill; on writing for Sex and the City and for Will & Grace; on opening the Arcade theater in L.A.
On becoming Executive Producer on Sex and the City; on differences betewen Candace Bushnell's books and the TV series; on the importance of New York in Sex and the City; on the bi-coastal writing on Sex and the City; on the show's audience and popularity; on Sex and the City being the first cable series to win Best Comedy Show at the Emmy Awards
On the writing process on Sex and the City; on the writers' room and keeping things fresh each season

Chapter 3

On the lack of censorship on Sex and the City; on the characters of Sex and the City and the actresses who portrayed them; on the chemistry between the actresses; on breaking the fourth wall; on directing episodes of the show; on New York as a character in the show and "The Sex and the City Tour"
On the role of men on Sex and the City and evolving the characters of the women; on working with HBO; on where he was for 9/11 and how 9/11 affected the show; on Sex and the City empowering the individual
On the fashion on Sex and the City; on Carrie's shoe obsession; on the quintessential Sex and the City outfit; on the show being edited in syndication 
On reactions from fans; on blogs and the online reaction to the show; on storylines that came from his life; on appearing in an episode of Sex and the City;  on his favorite scenes and episodes; the series coming to an end and the show's legacy
Michael Patrick King on the Sex and the City movies; on writing for film v. writing for television; on rumors of a prequel 
Michael Patrick King on The Comeback; on writing 2 Broke Girls with Whitney Cummings; on creating strong, female characters; on advice for aspiring writers and producers
Shows

2 Broke Girls

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Michael Patrick King on 2 Broke Girls

Comeback, The

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Michael Patrick King on working on and being nominated for an Emmy for The Comeback

Cybill

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Michael Patrick King on becoming showrunner on and then getting let go from Cybill

Good Sports

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Michael Patrick King on getting called in to work on Good Sports

In Living Color

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Michael Patrick King on writing spec scripts for In Living Color

Lost in Space

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Michael Patrick King on liking Lost in Space as a child

Murphy Brown

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Michael Patrick King on the first episode of Murphy Brown he wrote
Michael Patrick King on writing spec scripts and getting hired for Murphy Brown
Michael Patrick King on the script he wrote for Good Sports catching the eye of Steve Peterman on Murphy Brown
Michael Patrick King on the premise of Murphy Brown
Michael Patrick King on rules for writing for Murphy Brown  and the lessons he took away from them

My Talk Show

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Michael Patrick King on the TV show My Talk Show

Sex and the City

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Michael Patrick King on writing the first Sex and the City movie 
Michael Patrick King on being asked to join Darren Star on Sex and the City
Michael Patrick King on writing for Sex and the City
Michael Patrick King on becoming Executive Producer and writing for Sex and the City
Michael Patrick King on Sex and the City

Sweet Life, The

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Michael Patrick King on writing for The Comedy Channel's The Sweet Life and becoming Executive Producer

Will & Grace

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Michael Patrick King on writing for Will & Grace
Topics

9/11

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Michael Patrick King on where he was on 9/11

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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Michael Patrick King on the lack of censorship on Sex and the City

Emmy Awards

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Michael Patrick King on realizing Sex and the City was popular after its first Emmy nominations
Michael Patrick King on Sex and the City being the first cable series to win Best Comedy Show at the Emmy Awards

Memorable Moments on Television

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Michael Patrick King on Carrie ending up with Big, and revealing his name

Women

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Michael Patrick King on the premise and final year of Murphy Brown
Michael Patrick King on Sex and the City empowering the individual
Professions

Directors

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Michael Patrick King on directing on Sex and the City

Writers

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Michael Patrick King on starting to write plays - "One Act" and wanting to be a writer
Michael Patrick King on his rule - "Follow the Green lights"
Michael Patrick King on questioning oneself when you're creative
Michael Patrick King on turning in the very best version of his work
Michael Patrick King on the writers' room on Will & Grace
Michael Patrick King on the writers of Sex and the City
Michael Patrick King on the three layers of the writers' room of Sex and the City
Michael Patrick King on keeping the writing fresh on Sex and the City  and personal space in a writers' room
Michael Patrick King on advice for aspiring writers and producers 
Genres

Comedy Series

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Michael Patrick King on the premise and final year of Murphy Brown
Michael Patrick King on becoming Executive Producer and writing for Sex and the City
Michael Patrick King on writing for Will & Grace
Michael Patrick King on Sex and the City
People

Candice Bergen

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Michael Patrick King on the premise and final year of Murphy Brown
Michael Patrick King on Candice Bergen on Murphy Brown

Kim Cattrall

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Michael Patrick King on the stars of Sex and the City - Kim Cattrall as Samantha Jones 

Kristin Davis

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Michael Patrick King on the stars of Sex and the City - Kristin Davis as Charlotte York

Ari Emanuel

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Michael Patrick King on getting Ari Emanuel as his agent
Michael Patrick King on firing Ari Emanuel and learning to follow your own path

Diane English

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Michael Patrick King on meeting with Diane English for Murphy Brown  and on turing in the very best version of his work
Michael Patrick King on the premise and final year of Murphy Brown
Michael Patrick King on rules for writing for and style of comedy on Murphy Brown

Patricia Field

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Michael Patrick King on the fashions of Sex and the City

Lisa Kudrow

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Michael Patrick King on working on and being nominated for an Emmy for The Comeback

Cynthia Nixon

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Michael Patrick King on the stars of Sex and the City - Cynthia Nixon as Miranda Hobbes

Sarah Jessica Parker

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Michael Patrick King on the importance of Sarah Jessica Parker to Sex and the City
Michael Patrick King on the stars of Sex and the City - Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw

Jeff Sagansky

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Michael Patrick King on CBS President Jeff Sagansky telling him he wasn't going to continue with the show

Cybill Shepherd

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Michael Patrick King on becoming showrunner on and then getting let go from Cybill 

Darren Star

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Michael Patrick King on being asked to join Darren Starr on Sex and the City

Jon Stewart

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Michael Patrick King on hiring Jon Stewart to write for Caroline's Comedy Hour 

Alan Zweibel

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Michael Patrick King on getting called in to work on Good Sports   - Alan Zweibel's show

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