Ron Cowen

Writer / Show Creator


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In the fifty-minute solo portion of his interview, Ron Cowen talks about his childhood and early interest in theater, as well as his undergraduate and graduate education. He discusses how his UCLA professor Jerome Lawrence inspired him to begin writing plays and how, when he wrote his first play “Summertree”, Lawrence sent it to the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference. He shares the significance of the O’Neill in his career, where he met writing partner Daniel Lipman, and how “Summertree” went on to be produced in New York City and later made into a movie starring Michael Douglas. Cowen shares stories of his solo television writing opportunities, including writing episodes of CBS Playhouse and PBS’s American Short Story. He then talks about his experiences with the Writers Guild, his writing process, and shares advice for aspiring writers and his proudest career achievement. 

In the over-four-hour joint portion of their interview, Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman share the story of how they met, as playwrights, and how they came to be writing partners. They talk about moving to Los Angeles and beginning to write for television, including their first television writing job, on the show Family. They go into detail about their 1985 made-for-television movie An Early Frost, which was groundbreaking for its depiction of a gay character suffering from AIDS. They discuss how the movie came about, their preconditions for writing it, including how the experience of AIDS was to be presented, their run-ins with Standards & Practices at NBC, the research they did in order to write it, and the response to the movie. Cowen and Lipman talk about their made-for-television movie The Love She Sought, starring Angela Lansbury, and their admiration for Lansbury. They then move onto their series Sisters, including how they came to create the series, casting the show, their emphasis on hiring female writers and directors, the writing process on the series and its use of theatrical elements and flashbacks, and some specific storylines. They talk about why Sisters ended and the legacy of the series. They then discuss creating Queer as Folk, which was adapted from a British series of the same name, including the political context of gay rights when they were writing the show, Showtime’s hands off approach to the series, casting (and its challenges), the explicit use of sex in the series and the reasons behind this choice, and the importance of sharing an honest portrayal of the gay community on television. They talk about the response to Queer as Folk from the gay community and others, the depiction of people living with HIV/AIDS on the show, the series’ end and its legacy. Cowen and Lipman conclude by sharing how the industry has changed since they started out and their proudest career achievements as a writing team. Nancy Harrington conducted the interviews in a joint venture with the Writers Guild Foundation on July 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, CA.

All views expressed by interviewees are theirs alone and not necessarily those of the Television Academy.

"One of the amazing things about television is it’s so powerful. And seeing a reflection of yourself validates your life. It validates who you are. It validates that you exist. Gay people had none of that. So, for them, for us to see stories about us, our lives -- it meant you exist. It was very powerful, very meaningful to see people seeing themselves for the first time in a way they’d never seen themselves before."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Ron Cowen on his proudest career achievement, writing (with Daniel Lipman) the 1985 made-for-TV movie An Early Frost, which was the first movie to deal with the AIDS epidemic
02:45
Ron Cowen on the first play he wrote, "Summertree", which was championed by his college professor Jerome Lawrence, developed at the Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference, and optioned by Lincoln Center before being made into a movie
08:20
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on Queer as Folk presenting a reflection of the gay community in a way that had never been seen before, and the power of that: "seeing a reflection of yourself validates your life. It validates who you are. It validates that you exist"
01:41
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on their push to have as many female directors and writers on Sisters as they could
01:31
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the impact of the depictions of sex on Queer as Folk and their intention behind it
01:52
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the success of Sisters, despite executives' "almost blatant disrespect for the show and for women"
02:32
Full Interview

Play Full Video

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early education; on how he became interested in theater and playwriting, and on his undergraduate and graduate education; on his play "Summertree", which was made into a movie, starring Michael Douglas
On the Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference, where he met writing partner, Daniel Lipman, and on what he learned from working with director Lloyd Richards; on writing a teleplay for CBS Playhouse, and on how he approached writing for television versus playwriting; on writing two episodes of PBS's American Short Story
On what he enjoys about writing; on his solo writing process, including his editing and rewriting process; on never experiencing writer's block; on the Writers Guild
On mentors he has had in his career; on advice for aspiring writers; on his proudest career achievement, and on career regrets; on how he would like to be remembered

Chapter 2

START OF JOINT INTERVIEW WITH RON COWEN AND DANIEL LIPMAN: On how they first met, in 1972 at the Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference, and on writing together for the first time; on their writing process, and on when they decided to become a writing team and move to Los Angeles; on how they began to write for television, in the early 1970s
On how they came to write the 1985 made-for-television movie An Early Frost, which depicted a man with AIDS; on the writing process for An Early Frost; on notes they received from executives on the movie, and on the public response to it
On the impact of An Early Frost, because it was written and played for a mass audience; on the cast of An Early Frost; on finding their writing voice through An Early Frost; on the gay community's response to An Early Frost
On what they hoped the audience would take away from the movie An Early Frost; on the legacy of An Early Frost; on their made-for-television movie The Love She Sought
On how they came to create Sisters; on the success of Sisters, especially among women; on the tone and use of flashbacks on Sisters

Chapter 3

On how George Clooney came to be cast on Sisters; on casting the four main characters on Sisters; on their attempt to make the character of "Frankie" gay, and on creating another gay character, "Norma Lear"
On working with director/producer Robert Butler on Sisters; on a controversial scene in the pilot episode of Sisters, and on other battles with Standards & Practices on the show; on the theatrical and fantastical elements of the series; on their responsibilities as executive producers and showrunners on Sisters, and on their emphasis on having female writers and directors
On what they look for when hiring writers on their series; on the writing process on Sisters; on replacing actors who left throughout the course of the series; on how they approached sensitive or controversial issues on Sisters, including when Swoosie Kurtz's character had breast cancer; on how the theatrical nature of Sisters kept the writers and other creators excited about the series throughout its run
On why Sisters resonated with fans; on why the series ended; on the legacy of Sisters

Chapter 4

On how Queer as Folk came about; on pushing boundaries on the series and Showtime not censoring them; on the atmosphere for gay people and gay characters at the time they were developing Queer as Folk
On the process of adapting Queer as Folk from the original British series, and on the character of "Brian Kinney"; on setting the show in Pittsburgh; on working with executive producer Tony Jonas
On the challenge of casting Queer as Folk; on casting Gale Harold as "Brian Kinney"; on casting Sharon Gless as "Debbie Novotny"; on the closeness of the cast, and on the public's curiosity about the actors' sexuality; on how they dealt with the explicit nature of the show
On Showtime's initial marketing campaign for Queer as Folk, and on the opening credits of the show; on the press reaction to the show, in particular in the gay community; on Queer as Folk's audience
On Queer as Folk's impact on Showtime; on the importance of having an honest depiction of the gay community on television; on how they approached shooting the sex scenes on the show, and on the impact of the depictions of sex

Chapter 5

On the writing staff on Queer as Folk; on the cast's input into their characters on Queer as Folk; on the storyline where "Justin" is the victim of a hate crime at the end of season one
On the depiction of people living with HIV/AIDS on Queer as Folk; on the difference between what they could depict in their 1985 made-for-television movie An Early Frost and on Queer as Folk; on storylines involving characters fathering children
On the bombing storyline in the final season of Queer as Folk; on why Queer as Folk came to an end, and on the final episode; on being on set in Canada on 9/11
On the then-potential reboot of Queer as Folk, and on how a 2019 version would be different than the original; on the legacy of Queer as Folk; on how the television industry has changed through the course of their career; on the importance of oral histories; on their proudest professional moment working together
Shows

American Short Story

View Show Page
Ron Cowen on adapting Sherwood Anderson and Willa Cather short stories for American Short Story, and on the process of adapting short stories for television
02:53

CBS Playhouse

View Show Page
Ron Cowen on a teleplay he wrote for CBS Playhouse in 1968 called "Saturday Adoption"
07:12

Early Frost, An

View Show Page
Ron Cowen on writing 1985's An Early Frost (with Daniel Lipman), which depicted the AIDS epidemic, being his proudest career achievement
01:34
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on how they came to write the made-for-television movie An Early Frost
02:32
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on their first impressions of An Early Frost when the idea was presented to them by NBC, and their condition for how they wanted the experience of AIDS to be presented in the movie
02:12
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the process of writing An Early Frost, and on working with Standards & Practices at NBC and the research they did for the movie
06:40
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on becoming producers on the made-for-television movie An Early Frost, which they wrote, and on getting the opportunity to return scenes to the script which had been taken out by executives once director John Erman read the original script
04:03
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the public response to their 1985 made-for-television movie An Early Frost, which depicted the AIDS crisis
02:27
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the importance of An Early Frost their 1985 made-for-television movie which depicted the AIDS crisis, being written and played for a mass audience
01:23
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the cast of An Early Frost
02:17
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on winning a Peabody Award and Emmy Award for An Early Frost, and on the importance of the movie to discovering their writing voice: every comedy scene should have some drama and every dramatic scene should have some comedy
04:05
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the response of the gay community to their made-for-television movie An Early Frost, and on a scene which the network wanted to be cut out because it depicted the grandmother kissing her grandson who had AIDS
06:24
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on working with director John Erman on their made-for-television movie An Early Frost, and on what they hoped the audience would take away from the movie
03:14
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the legacy of An Early Frost
07:07
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the difference between what they could depict in their 1985 made-for-television movie An Early Frost and on Queer as Folk
02:02

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

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Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on winning an Emmy for their made-for-television movie An Early Frost
01:07

Family

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Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on their first television writing job: writing for the show Family
04:48

Love She Sought, The

View Show Page
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on their made-for-television movie The Love She Sought, starring Angela Lansbury
09:25

Queer as Folk

View Show Page
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on how Queer as Folk (which was an adaptation of a British series) came about, and on committing to being as bold and boundary pushing as the British original was
04:51
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on why Showtime was the right home for Queer as Folk and the fact that network did not interfere with the series
02:11
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the television and political atmosphere for both gay people and gay characters at the time they were developing Queer as Folk
04:47
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on adapting Queer as Folk from the original British series, and on the character of "Brian Kinney"
09:29
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on setting Queer as Folk in Pittsburgh
01:21
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on working with executive producer Tony Jonas on Queer as Folk
01:21
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the challenge of casting Queer as Folk due to the fact that many actors would not show up for their auditions because agencies did not want them to: "it was an untouchable show"
03:20
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on casting Gale Harold as "Brian Kinney" on Queer as Folk
04:53
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on casting Sharon Gless as "Debbie Novotny" on Queer as Folk
02:25
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the closeness of the cast of Queer as Folk, and how exposed and brave the cast had to be for five seasons
01:56
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the public's curiosity about the actors' sexuality on Queer as Folk, and on the explicit nature of the show
07:56
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on Showtime's initial marketing campaign for Queer as Folk, and on the opening credits of the show
03:44
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the press reaction to Queer as Folk, and in particular the pushback they got from the gay community
04:16
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the conservative reaction to Queer as Folk
01:27
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on Queer as Folk's audience, and on its popularity among straight women
03:52
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on Queer as Folk's impact on Showtime
02:35
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on Queer as Folk presenting a reflection of the gay community in a way that had never been seen before on television, and the power of that: "seeing a reflection of yourself validates your life. It validates who you are. It validates that you exist"
01:41
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on shooting sex scenes on Queer as Folk, and on how they came to choreograph them and work to respect the boundaries of the actors
06:20
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the impact of the depictions of sex on Queer as Folk and their intention behind it
01:52
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the writing staff on Queer as Folk
04:09
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the cast's input into their characters on Queer as Folk, which was somewhat minimal because the cast trusted them
03:37
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on how they approached the storyline where "Justin" is the victim of a hate crime on Queer as Folk
05:30
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the depiction of people living with HIV/AIDS on Queer as Folk
07:39
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the difference between what they could depict in their 1985 made-for-television movie An Early Frost and on Queer as Folk
02:02
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the storylines involving characters on Queer as Folk fathering children
04:12
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the bombing storyline in the final season of Queer as Folk
02:47
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the Queer as Folk character "Emmett", and on their personal responses and the response of the gay community to the character and real people like him
02:22
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on why Queer as Folk came to an end, and on the final episode
03:08
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on being on set in Canada for Queer as Folk on 9/11
03:25
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the then-potential reboot of Queer as Folk, and on how the show would be different in 2019 versus the early 2000s
03:35
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the legacy of Queer as Folk
02:06

Sisters

View Show Page
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on how they came to create Sisters, and on it being unique as a television drama centered on the lives of women
03:17
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the success of Sisters, despite executives' "almost blatant disrespect for the show and for women"
02:31
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the tone and use of flashbacks on Sisters
03:46
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on how George Clooney came to be cast on Sisters, and on his performance on the show
03:21
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on casting the four main characters on Sisters
03:24
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on a few moments of pushback from NBC on Sisters: when they wanted to make one of the main characters gay and when they wanted the father to have had an affair with an African American woman
02:46
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the Sisters character "Norma Lear" (played by Nora Dunn), who was gay
02:02
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on working with Robert Butler, who was a director and executive producer on Sisters
02:05
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the sauna scenes on Sisters, and on the controversy surrounding the first scene of the pilot, where the sisters were discussing orgasms
02:38
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the many battles they fought with Standards & Practices on Sisters, and on the theatrical and fantastical aspects of the show
03:49
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the production companies behind Sisters, and on their roles as executive producers and showrunners on the series
04:16
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on what they looked for when hiring writers on Sisters
04:13
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the writing process on Sisters, and on the pace of producing a full season of episodes for network television
03:17
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on Julianne Phillips leaving Sisters in the fifth season, and on the challenge of replacing actors throughout the run of the show
02:55
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on how they approached sensitive or controversial topics on Sisters
03:50
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on how they approached the storyline where Swoosie Kurtz's character, "Alex Reed", had breast cancer on Sisters
03:14
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the theatrical quality of Sisters and how it kept things interesting for the writers and other creators throughout the run of the show
04:22
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on why Sisters resonated with fans
01:05
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on why Sisters came to an end
02:29
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the legacy of Sisters
01:23
Topics

9/11

View Topic
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on being on set in Canada for Queer as Folk on 9/11
02:12

Advice

View Topic
Ron Cowen on advice for aspiring writers: Don't go away. Stick it out.
03:24

Censorship / Standards & Practices

View Topic
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on working with NBC Standards & Practices when they were writing the made-for-television movie An Early Frost, which depicted the AIDS crisis,
02:24
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on a scene in their made-for-television movie An Early Frost, which the network wanted to be cut out because it depicted a grandmother kissing her grandson who had AIDS
02:05
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on being told by NBC that they could find another network for Sisters if they made one of the main characters gay, and on another incident of the network pushing back against a storyline involving the father having an affair with an African American woman
02:46
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on how a scene on Sisters where the main characters were discussing orgasms was dealt with by the network
02:38
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on their battles with Standards & Practices on Sisters
01:26
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the difference between what they could depict in their 1985 made-for-television movie An Early Frost and on Queer as Folk, both of which centered on gay characters
02:02

Creative Influences and Inspiration

View Topic
Ron Cowen on the creative influence his mother, a former costume designer for Twentieth Century Fox, had on his life
02:26
Ron Cowen on mentors he's had in his career: Jerome Lawrence, Lloyd Richards, and Angela Lansbury
01:50

Emmy Awards

View Topic
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on winning an Emmy for their made-for-television movie An Early Frost
01:07

First Big Break

View Topic
Ron Cowen on the first play he wrote, "Summertree", which was championed by his college professor Jerome Lawrence, developed at the Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference, and optioned by Lincoln Center before being made into a movie
08:20

Health and Medicine

View Topic
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the research they did when writing the 1985 made-for-television movie An Early Frost, which depicted the AIDS crisis, by visiting AIDS patients at Santa Monica Hospital
03:03
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on how they approached the storyline where Swoosie Kurtz's character, "Alex Reed", had breast cancer on Sisters
03:14
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the depiction of people living with HIV/AIDS on Queer as Folk
07:39

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Ron Cowen on writing 1985's An Early Frost (with Daniel Lipman), which depicted the AIDS epidemic, being his proudest career achievement
01:34
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on their first impressions of An Early Frost when the idea was presented to them by NBC, and why they insisted that the main character, who had AIDS, be alive at the end of the movie
02:12
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the research they did when writing the 1985 made-for-television movie An Early Frost, which depicted the AIDS crisis, by visiting AIDS patients at Santa Monica Hospital
03:03
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the kinds of notes they received from executives on their 1985 made-for-television movie An Early Frost, which depicted the AIDS crisis, and on the public response to the movie
05:48
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the importance of An Early Frost their 1985 made-for-television movie which depicted the AIDS crisis, being written and played for a mass audience
02:18
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the response of the gay community to their made-for-television movie An Early Frost
03:45
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on what they hoped the audience would take away from their made-for-television movie An Early Frost, which depicted the AIDS crisis: education, tolerance, and compassion
02:36
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on Sisters being one of the only television dramas to explore the lives of women at its center
01:29
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the success of Sisters among female viewers, despite the fact that executives did not normally pay attention to that demographic
01:37
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the research they did when writing the 1985 made-for-television movie An Early Frost, which depicted the AIDS crisis, by visiting AIDS patients at Santa Monica Hospital
03:03
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the Sisters characters "Norma Lear" (played by Nora Dunn), who was gay, and on the character came to be recurring, rather than appearing in just a few episodes
02:02
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on their push to have as many female directors and writers on Sisters as they could
01:31
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on how they approached the storyline where Swoosie Kurtz's character, "Alex Reed", had breast cancer on Sisters
03:14
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the television and political atmosphere for both gay people and gay characters at the time they were developing Queer as Folk
04:47
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the press reaction to Queer as Folk, and in particular the pushback they got from the gay community
04:16
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on Queer as Folk presenting a reflection of the gay community in a way that had never been seen before on television, and the power of that: "seeing a reflection of yourself validates your life. It validates who you are. It validates that you exist"
01:41
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the impact of the depictions of sex on Queer as Folk and their intention behind it
01:52
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on how they approached the storyline where "Justin" is the victim of a hate crime at the end of season one of Queer as Folk
05:30
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the depiction of people living with HIV/AIDS on Queer as Folk
07:39
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the difference between what they could depict in their 1985 made-for-television movie An Early Frost and on Queer as Folk, both of which centered on gay characters
02:02
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the bombing storyline in the final season of Queer as Folk and why they wanted to depict an attack on the gay community in that manner
02:47
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on being on set in Canada for Queer as Folk on 9/11
02:12

Industry Crossroads

View Topic
Ron Cowen on going on strike with the Writers Guild early in his career, on attending a meeting for the Guild in those days, and on the importance of the Guild
04:14

Industry Strikes

View Topic
Ron Cowen on going on strike with the Writers Guild early in his career, on attending a meeting for the Guild in those days, and on the importance of the Guild
04:14

LGBTQ

View Topic
Ron Cowen on writing 1985's An Early Frost (with Daniel Lipman), which depicted the AIDS epidemic, being his proudest career achievement
01:34
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on their first impressions of An Early Frost when the idea was presented to them by NBC, and why they insisted that the main character, who had AIDS, be alive at the end of the movie
02:12
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the research they did when writing the 1985 made-for-television movie An Early Frost, which depicted the AIDS crisis, by visiting AIDS patients at Santa Monica Hospital, and on the understanding of AIDS at that time
03:03
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the kinds of notes they received from executives on their 1985 made-for-television movie An Early Frost, which depicted the AIDS crisis, and on the public response to the movie
05:48
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the importance of An Early Frost their 1985 made-for-television movie which depicted the AIDS crisis, being written and played for a mass audience
02:18
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the response of the gay community to their made-for-television movie An Early Frost
03:45
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on what they hoped the audience would take away from their made-for-television movie An Early Frost, which depicted the AIDS crisis: education, tolerance, and compassion
02:36
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the Sisters characters "Norma Lear" (played by Nora Dunn), who was gay, and on the character came to be recurring, rather than appearing in just a few episodes
02:02
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the television and political atmosphere for both gay people and gay characters at the time they were developing Queer as Folk
04:47
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the press reaction to Queer as Folk, and in particular the pushback they got from the gay community
04:16
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on Queer as Folk presenting a reflection of the gay community in a way that had never been seen before on television, and the power of that: "seeing a reflection of yourself validates your life. It validates who you are. It validates that you exist"
01:41
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the impact of the depictions of sex on Queer as Folk and their intention behind it
01:52
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on how they approached the storyline where "Justin" is the victim of a hate crime at the end of season one of Queer as Folk
05:30
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the depiction of people living with HIV/AIDS on Queer as Folk
07:39
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the difference between what they could depict in their 1985 made-for-television movie An Early Frost and on Queer as Folk, both of which centered on gay characters
02:02
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the bombing storyline in the final season of Queer as Folk and why they wanted to depict an attack on the gay community in that manner
02:47

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Ron Cowen on the creative influence his mother, a former costume designer for Twentieth Century Fox, had on his life
02:26
Ron Cowen on the first play he wrote, "Summertree", which was championed by his college professor Jerome Lawrence, developed at the Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference, and optioned by Lincoln Center before being made into a movie
08:20
Ron Cowen on mentors he's had in his career: Jerome Lawrence, Lloyd Richards, and Angela Lansbury
01:50

Representation on Television

View Topic
Ron Cowen on writing 1985's An Early Frost (with Daniel Lipman), which depicted the AIDS epidemic, being his proudest career achievement
01:34
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on their first impressions of An Early Frost when the idea was presented to them by NBC, and why they insisted that the main character, who had AIDS, be alive at the end of the movie
02:12
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the research they did when writing the 1985 made-for-television movie An Early Frost, which depicted the AIDS crisis, by visiting AIDS patients at Santa Monica Hospital
03:03
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the kinds of notes they received from executives on their 1985 made-for-television movie An Early Frost, which depicted the AIDS crisis, and on the public response to the movie
05:48
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the importance of An Early Frost their 1985 made-for-television movie which depicted the AIDS crisis, being written and played for a mass audience
02:18
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the response of the gay community to their made-for-television movie An Early Frost
03:45
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on what they hoped the audience would take away from their made-for-television movie An Early Frost, which depicted the AIDS crisis: education, tolerance, and compassion
02:36
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on Sisters being one of the only television dramas to explore the lives of women at its center
01:29
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the success of Sisters among female viewers, despite the fact that executives did not normally pay attention to that demographic
01:37
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the Sisters characters "Norma Lear" (played by Nora Dunn), who was gay, and on the character came to be recurring, rather than appearing in just a few episodes
02:02
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on their push to have as many female directors and writers on Sisters as they could
01:31
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the television and political atmosphere for both gay people and gay characters at the time they were developing Queer as Folk
04:47
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the press reaction to Queer as Folk, and in particular the pushback they got from the gay community
04:16
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on Queer as Folk presenting a reflection of the gay community in a way that had never been seen before on television, and the power of that: "seeing a reflection of yourself validates your life. It validates who you are. It validates that you exist"
01:41
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the impact of the depictions of sex on Queer as Folk and their intention behind it
01:52
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on how they approached the storyline where "Justin" is the victim of a hate crime at the end of season one of Queer as Folk
05:30
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the depiction of people living with HIV/AIDS on Queer as Folk
07:39
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the difference between what they could depict in their 1985 made-for-television movie An Early Frost and on Queer as Folk, both of which centered on gay characters
02:02
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the bombing storyline in the final season of Queer as Folk and why they wanted to depict an attack on the gay community in that manner
02:47

Television Industry

View Topic
Ron Cowen on his first television writing experience, for CBS Playhouse in 1968, and on the difference between television at that time versus the then-present
02:08
Ron Cowen on going on strike with the Writers Guild early in his career, on attending a meeting for the Guild in those days, and on the importance of the Guild
04:14
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on working with NBC Standards & Practices when they were writing the made-for-television movie An Early Frost, which depicted the AIDS crisis
02:24
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on a scene in their made-for-television movie An Early Frost, which the network wanted to be cut out because it depicted a grandmother kissing her grandson who had AIDS
02:05
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on being told by NBC that they could find another network for Sisters if they made one of the main characters gay, and on another incident of the network pushing back against a storyline involving the father having an affair with an African American woman
02:46
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on how a scene on Sisters where the main characters were discussing orgasms was dealt with by the network
02:38
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on their battles with Standards & Practices on Sisters
01:26
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the difference between what they could depict in their 1985 made-for-television movie An Early Frost and on Queer as Folk, both of which centered on gay characters
02:02
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on how the industry has changed since they first started writing for television
04:12

Women

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Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on Sisters being one of the only television dramas to explore the lives of women at its center
01:29
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the success of Sisters among female viewers, despite the fact that executives did not normally pay attention to that demographic
01:37
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on their push to have as many female directors and writers on Sisters as they could
01:31
Professions

Producers

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Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on how they came to be producers on the made-for-television movie An Early Frost, which they wrote, and on
00:52

Show Creators

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Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on their responsibilities as executive producers and showrunners on Sisters
01:41
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on their push to have as many female directors and writers on Sisters as they could
01:31
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on what they look for when hiring writers on their series
04:13

Writers

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Ron Cowen on what he learned about being a writer from working with director Lloyd Richards at the Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference
01:35
Ron Cowen on how he approached his first television writing job (for CBS Playhouse) versus writing plays
01:49
Ron Cowen on what he enjoys about writing
03:09
Ron Cowen on his solo writing process, including his editing and rewriting process, and on never having had writer's block
04:57
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on their writing process when they write together
02:16
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the writing process on Sisters
03:17
Genres

Classic Anthology Series

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Ron Cowen on a teleplay he wrote for CBS Playhouse in 1968 called "Saturday Adoption"
07:12

Drama Series

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Ron Cowen on adapting Sherwood Anderson and Willa Cather short stories for American Short Story
02:53
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on how they came to create Sisters
09:35
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on creating Sisters
51:18
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on creating Queer as Folk
01:10:33
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on Queer as Folk
44:40

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

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Ron Cowen on writing 1985's An Early Frost (with Daniel Lipman), which depicted the AIDS epidemic, being his proudest career achievement
01:34
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on their 1985 made-for-television movie An Early Frost
42:39
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on their made-for-television movie The Love She Sought
09:25
People

Robert Butler

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Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on working with Robert Butler, who was a director and executive producer on Sisters
02:05

George Clooney

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Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on George Clooney as "James Falconer" on Sisters
03:21

Ron Cowen

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Daniel Lipman on his first impression of writing partner Ron Cowen, when they met in 1972
01:04

Michael Douglas

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Ron Cowen on the film adaptation of his play "Summertree", which starred Michael Douglas
05:29

John Erman

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Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on how John Erman, who directed their 1985 made-for-television movie An Early Frost, helped them to return many parts of the script that had been edited out by various executives
03:21

Sharon Gless

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Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on casting Sharon Gless as "Debbie Novotny" on Queer as Folk

Perry Lafferty

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Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on the made-for-television movie An Early Frost, which was about AIDS, being the brainchild of executive/producer Perry Lafferty
01:22

Angela Lansbury

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Ron Cowen as viewing Angela Lansbury as a mentor in his career
01:24
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on their made-for-television movie The Love She Sought, starring Angela Lansbury
09:25

Daniel Lipman

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Ron Cowen on the process of collaborating with his writing partner, Daniel Lipman, and how helpful he finds their writing partnership
00:59
Ron Cowen on his first impression of writing partner Daniel Lipman, when they met in 1972
00:27

Joseph Sargent

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Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on working with director Joseph Sargent on the made-for-television movie The Love She Sought
04:26

Sela Ward

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Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman on casting Sela Ward as "Teddy Reed" on Sisters
01:39

All Interviews

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