Tom Werner

Producer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-hour Archive interview, Tom Werner is interviewed solo for a half hour and together with partner Marcy Carsey 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.

"They've got their own demands, the networks. And they've got their own schedules. But we would rather get it right and not screw it up, because you've got only one chance with the audience."

Highlights
Tom Werner on developing a show for Robin Williams, which became Mork & Mindy
02:38
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on casting "Theo" on The Cosby Show
01:26
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on The Cosby Show's long tapings
01:14
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on wanting the comedienne Roseanne for their new sitcom when developing Roseanne  
00:52
Tom Werner on helping to get Three's Company made
01:43
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on making documentaries during and after college
07:24
On his first job at ABC as a junior research assistant; on working in the ABC entertainment division and methodologies used in research
05:25
On studying British shows and helping to get Three's Company made; on working with Fred Silverman
06:45
On moving to Los Angeles and becoming Manager of ABC Comedy Development; on shows he helped develop, including Mork & Mindy
07:00
On Marcy Carsey leaving ABC; on discovering Tom Hanks
02:15

Chapter 2

On fighting for Tom Hanks to appear in Bosom Buddies; on leaving ABC to join Marcy Carsey as an independent producer
01:34
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
06:25
On developing their first big hit, The Cosby Show; on the difficulty of selling the show; on the program's success once it aired
13:56
On casting The Cosby Show; on their day-to-day duties as Executive Producers of The Cosby Show
07:31

Chapter 3

On the end of The Cosby Show; on working with Bill Cosby; on the Cosby spin-off A Different World 
05:08
On developing Roseanne; on casting the show, how fame changed Roseanne, and the end of the show 
11:16
On having several hit shows on the air at the same time; on negotiations with networks for a joint venture
07:05
On developing and executive producing Grace Under Fire  and Cybill
04:41

Chapter 4

On the structure of their company and their division of duties; on their partnership and their strengths
06:55
On what makes a successful producer; on what they look for in a writer; on the importance of syndication
05:11
On producing and casting 3rd Rock From the Sun
06:46
On producing That '70s Show
01:45
On their favorite stories about each other
02:56
On producing Grounded For Life; on Caryn Mandabach
05:08
Shows

3rd Rock From the Sun

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on producing 3rd Rock From the Sun
03:49
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on casting 3rd Rock From the Sun
02:57

Bosom Buddies

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Tom Werner on the show Bosom Buddies starring Tom Hanks
00:25

Cosby Show, The

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on developing their first big hit, The Cosby Show
04:44
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on when they realized that The Cosby Show would be a hit (the Monopoly scene in the pilot)
02:05
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on the difficulty of selling The Cosby Show; on pitching the show and hiding from NBC executives
05:39
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on the success of The Cosby Show once it aired
01:28
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on casting The Cosby Show
05:05
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on their day-to-day duties as Executive Producers of The Cosby Show
02:26
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on the end of The Cosby Show run; on working with Bill Cosby
02:29

Cybill

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on developing and executive producing Cybill
03:05

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
02:38

Grace Under Fire

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on developing and executive producing Grace Under Fire
01:34

Kolchak: The Night Stalker

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Tom Werner on methodologies used in research and ways to manipulate it (and how it was manipulated to keep Kolchak: The Night Stalker on the air)
02:19

Mork & Mindy

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Tom Werner on developing a show for Robin Williams, which became Mork & Mindy
02:38

Oh Madeline

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on getting Oh Madeline on the air
00:22

Roseanne

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on developing and casting Roseanne  
09:21
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on how Roseanne evolved throughout the run of the show
01:07
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on the end of Roseanne  
00:48

That '70s Show

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on producing 3rd Rock From the Sun
01:45

Three's Company

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Tom Werner on helping to get Three's Company made
02:13
Topics

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Tom Werner on lessons learned from Michael Eisner about development
00:30

Diversity in Television

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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
02:38

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
02:52

Historic Events and Social Change

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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
02:38

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)
02:05

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
02:38

Television Industry

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on problems with Roseanne on the set of Roseanne  and how fame changed her
02:52
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on negotiations with networks for a joint venture upon the end of the fin-syn rules
05:25

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)
02:05
Professions

Producers

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on their day-to-day duties as Executive Producers of The Cosby Show
02:26
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on what makes a successful producer
02:47
Genres

Comedy Series

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on developing and casting their first big hit, The Cosby Show
21:27
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on developing and casting Roseanne  
10:28
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on the end of The Cosby Show  and the Cosby  spin-off A Different World 
05:08
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on producing and casting 3rd Rock From the Sun
06:46
People

Christine Baranski

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on working with Christine Baranski on Cybill
01:15

Lisa Bonet

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on casting Lisa Bonet on The Cosby Show
00:25

Marcy Carsey

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Tom Werner on interviewing with Marcy Carsey to work in ABC comedy development and his working relationship with Marcy Carsey
02:40
Tom Werner on Marcy Carsey leaving ABC
01:26
Tom Werner on leaving ABC to join Marcy Carsey as an independent producer
01:05
Tom Werner on his favorite story about Marcy Carsey
01:28

Bill Cosby

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on developing their first big hit, The Cosby Show
03:37
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on Bill Cosby's conditions for agreeing to do The Cosby Show
01:07
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on The Cosby Show's long tapings
01:14
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on telling Bill Cosby The Cosby Show was the number one show on television
00:35
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on their day-to-day duties as Executive Producers of The Cosby Show
02:26
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on the end of The Cosby Show  run; on working with Bill Cosby
02:29
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on what makes a successful producer
02:47

Jane Curtin

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on casting Jane Curtin on 3rd Rock From the Sun
00:30

Pam Dawber

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Tom Werner on developing a show for Robin Williams, which became Mork & Mindy
02:38

Michael Eisner

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Tom Werner on lessons learned from Michael Eisner about development
00:30

John Goodman

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on the importance of John Goodman on Roseanne  
01:27

Tom Hanks

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Tom Werner on discovering Tom Hanks
00:49

John Lithgow

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on casting John Lithgow on 3rd Rock From the Sun
02:57

Chuck Lorre

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on Chuck Lorre as head writer of Cybill
00:26

Garry Marshall

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Tom Werner on developing a show for Robin Williams, which became Mork & Mindy
02:38

Frederick S. Pierce

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Tom Werner on methodologies used in research and ways to manipulate it
02:19

Phylicia Rashad

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on The Cosby Show's long tapings
01:14
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on casting Phylicia Rashad on The Cosby Show
01:26

Roseanne

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on wanting the comedienne Roseanne for their new sitcom when developing Roseanne  
00:52
Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on Roseanne's input in developing Roseanne  and problems with her on set
05:05

Jay Sandrich

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on The Cosby Show's long tapings
01:14

Cybill Shepherd

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on developing and executive producing Cybil
01:24

Fred Silverman

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Tom Werner on helping to get Three's Company made
01:43
Tom Werner on working with Fred Silverman and other talented ABC Executives
04:11

Brandon Tartikoff

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Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner on working with Brandon Tartikoff at NBC and selling The Cosby Show
00:44

Tom Werner

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Marcy Carsey on her favorite story about Tom Werner
01:20

Robin Williams

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Tom Werner on developing a show for Robin Williams, which became Mork & Mindy
02:38

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