Winifred Hervey

Writer / Producer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her three-hour plus Archive interview, writer/producer Winifred Hervey talks about her early interest in theater and writing. She describes getting a Television Academy internship on the show Rhoda, and getting accepted to the Warner Bros. Writing Workshop based on a spec script of Rhoda. She speaks of interning on Laverne & Shirley, and later being hired as a staff writer on the program. She outlines tensions on the show, and how she came to write for another Garry Marshall production, Mork & Mindy. Hervey then speaks of becoming story editor for The New Odd Couple, and writing for Benson and The Cosby Show. She explains why she was fired from The Cosby Show, and shares how much she enjoyed writing for The Golden Girls (and for Bea Arthur in particular). She also recalls her time as Executive Producer of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and recounts creating In the House and The Steve Harvey Show. Amy Harrington conducted the interview on August 8, 2013 in North Hollywood, CA.

"I remember one time somebody told me that they were in a meeting and they said, 'that Winfred Hervey has a mind of her own.' And I thought that was so hilarious because I didn't know what was wrong with that."

Highlights
Winifred Hervey on working with Garry Marshall on Laverne & Shirley and "going to Camp Marshall-mount"
01:38
Winifred Hervey on enjoying writing for Bea Arthur on The Golden Girls
02:12
Winifred Hervey on being the only female writer on The Cosby Show
01:52
Winifred Hervey on the Los Angeles riots breaking out when she was Executive Producer of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and how the riots were incorporated into the show
04:19
Winifred Hervey on what she likes about writing
01:05
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her childhood and early influences; on her love of reading, writing, and theater; on studying Communication Arts in college and writing comedy
On becoming an intern on Rhoda through a Television Academy internship; on writing a script for Rhoda that got her into the Warner Bros. Writing Workshop
On becoming an intern and then staff writer on Laverne & Shirley; on tensions on set and the camaraderie amongst the staff of Garry Marshall's TV shows
On writing for Mork & Mindy; on whether Robin Williams and Jonathan Winters stayed on script
On becoming story editor for The New Odd Couple; on problems with the show and the rotating producers
On writing for Benson; on learning about post-production and learning from the show's producers
On leaving Benson to write for The Cosby Show; on Bill Cosby's involvement with scripts; on being the only female writer on staff
On the educational value of The Cosby Show storylines; on writing for the kids on the show; on her favorite episodes

Chapter 2

On storylines on The Cosby Show; on the show's legacy and being fired from the program
On writing for The Golden Girls; on censorship on the show and writing for each of the characters
On the writers' room on The Golden Girls; on her favorite episodes of the show and winning her first Emmy for The Golden Girls; on the legacy of the show
On producing and writing for Baby Boom; on the show's cancellation
On writing the failed pilot for Five Up, Two Down
On becoming Executive Producer on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air; on disagreements with Will Smith; on what she brought to the show

Chapter 3

On the Los Angeles riots breaking out when she was Executive Producer of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and how the riots were incorporated into the show; on dealing with heavy issues on the program
On the hip-hop culture represented on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air; on why she left the show
On creating In the House; on working with Debbie Allen and LL Cool J; on not being asked back by the network; on writing the pilot for The World According to Noah  
On creating The Steve Harvey Show; on working with Steve Harvey and Cedric the Entertainer; on 9/11; on her favorite episodes and storylines on The Steve Harvey Show
On writing for Home of the Brave, an Aaron Spelling production; on consulting for Half and Half; on her process for writing pilots
On the pilot for Saving Jason

Chapter 4

On her early work on The Six O' Clock Follies; on her then-current (2013) projects; on her writing process and what she likes about writing
On her biggest challenge in the business - being female and a minority; on the representation of African-Americans on television; on opportunities for women and minority writers
On advice to aspiring writers and producers; on her proudest achievement and her biggest regret; on where she sees herself in ten years
Shows

Benson

View Show Page
Winifred Hervey on writing for Benson and meeting Robert Guillaume
01:32
Winifred Hervey on her role as story editor on Benson and adjusting to the tone of the show after working on Garry Marshall productions for many years
01:13
Winifred Hervey on efforts made to diversify the writing staff of Benson  
01:16
Winifred Hervey on working with Paul Junger Witt, Tony Thomas, and other producers on Benson
01:03
Winifred Hervey on gaining confidence from working on Mork & Mindy, applying it to Benson, and her writing strengths
01:22
Winifred Hervey on working with Susan Harris on Benson and learning about post-production
02:10

Cosby Show, The

View Show Page
Winifred Hervey on leaving Benson to write for The Cosby Show
01:27
Winifred Hervey on the dynamic between "The Huxtables" on The Cosby Show and the dynamic between the actors and director Jay Sandrich
02:16
Winifred Hervey on actors going off-script on The Cosby Show and logistics on the show
01:58
Winifred Hervey on Bill Cosby's involvement with scripts on The Cosby Show
02:12
Winifred Hervey on being the only female writer on The Cosby Show
01:52
Winifred Hervey on Bill Cosby wanting The Cosby Show storylines to have educational value
01:12
Winifred Hervey on writing the "Claire's Case" episode of The Cosby Show
02:25
Winifred Hervey on the lack of censorship on The Cosby Show
00:15
Winifred Hervey on how The Cosby Show differed from other sitcoms of the day and "The Huxtables" as a TV family
01:54
Winifred Hervey on writing for the kids on The Cosby Show
00:39
Winifred Hervey on her favorite episodes of The Cosby Show
00:45
Winifred Hervey on storylines on The Cosby Show not coming from her own life; on her favorite storylines
01:47
Winifred Hervey on the legacy of The Cosby Show
01:00
Winifred Hervey on being fired from The Cosby Show
02:03

Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The

View Show Page
Winifred Hervey on becoming Executive Producer on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
03:36
Winifred Hervey on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as a star vehicle for Will Smith
03:56
Winifred Hervey on disagreements with Will Smith on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
04:46
Winifred Hervey on working with the cast of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
02:39
Winifred Hervey on the Los Angeles riots breaking out when she was Executive Producer of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
04:19
Winifred Hervey on not loving to do "issues shows" on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
02:59
Winifred Hervey on the female roles on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
00:56
Winifred Hervey on the hip-hop culture represented on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
02:50
Winifred Hervey on her favorite episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
01:07
Winifred Hervey on why she left The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
01:14

Golden Girls, The

View Show Page
Winifred Hervey on writing for The Golden Girls
00:51
Winifred Hervey on the pilot episode of The Golden Girls
00:21
Winifred Hervey on being story editor/story consultant on The Golden Girls
01:29
Winifred Hervey on the diversity of the staff on The Golden Girls
00:25
Winifred Hervey on the development of the characters on The Golden Girls
00:45
Winifred Hervey on her creative freedom on The Golden Girls
00:53
Winifred Hervey on the cast of The Golden Girls and writing for the characters
01:28
Winifred Hervey on censorship on The Golden Girls
01:06
Winifred Hervey on storylines on The Golden Girls and the relationship between actors and writers
01:48
Winifred Hervey on writing for each character on The Golden Girls
01:08
Winifred Hervey on enjoying writing for Bea Arthur on The Golden Girls
02:12
Winifred Hervey on working with Susan Harris on The Golden Girls
02:12
Winifred Hervey on the writers' room of The Golden Girls
02:09
Winifred Hervey on her favorite episodes of The Golden Girls
02:58
Winifred Hervey on winning her first Emmy for The Golden Girls
01:27
Winifred Hervey on the legacy of The Golden Girls
01:00
Winifred Hervey on leaving The Golden Girls
01:03

Laverne & Shirley

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Winifred Hervey on becoming an intern on Laverne & Shirley
01:28
Winifred Hervey on becoming a staff writer on Laverne & Shirley
02:28
Winifred Hervey on writing physical comedy bits on Laverne & Shirley
01:08
Winifred Hervey on tension on the set of Laverne & Shirley
00:50
Winifred Hervey on working with Garry Marshall on Laverne & Shirley
01:38
Winifred Hervey on why she was hired as a staff writer on Laverne & Shirley
00:50

Mork & Mindy

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Winifred Hervey on becoming a writer on Mork & Mindy and writing her first solo script
02:20
Winifred Hervey on writing for Robin Williams and Jonathan Winters on Mork & Mindy
01:12
Winifred Hervey on the writing process and guidelines for Mork & Mindy
00:40

New Odd Couple, The

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Winifred Hervey on becoming story editor for The New Odd Couple and rewriting original scripts from The Odd Couple to tailor them to African-American performers
02:27
Winifred Hervey on working with the stars of The New Odd Couple
01:55

Rhoda

View Show Page
Winifred Hervey on becoming an intern on Rhoda through a Television Academy internship
03:36
Winifred Hervey on writing a script for Rhoda that got her into the Warner Bros. Writing Workshop
00:58

Steve Harvey Show, The

View Show Page
Winifred Hervey on creating The Steve Harvey Show
03:07
Winifred Hervey on working with director Stan Lathan, stars Steve Harvey and Cedric the Entertainer, and the rest of the cast on The Steve Harvey Show
09:05
Winifred Hervey on the audience for The Steve Harvey Show
00:35
Winifred Hervey on the music and songs on The Steve Harvey Show
01:04
Winifred Hervey on working with the WB on The Steve Harvey Show
01:31
Winifred Hervey on her favorite episodes and storylines on The Steve Harvey Show
02:56
Winifred Hervey on the end of The Steve Harvey Show
02:15
Topics

9/11

View Topic
Winifred Hervey on her recollections of 9/11
01:29

Advice

View Topic
Winifred Hervey on advice to aspiring writers and producers
01:15

Censorship / Standards & Practices

View Topic
Winifred Hervey on censorship on The Golden Girls
01:06

Diversity in Television

View Topic
Winifred Hervey on getting accepted to the Warner Bros. Writing Workshop
02:12
Winifred Hervey on becoming story editor for The New Odd Couple and rewriting original scripts from The Odd Couple to tailor them to African-American performers
01:20
Winifred Hervey on efforts made to diversify the writing staff of Benson  
00:20
Winifred Hervey on being the only female writer on The Cosby Show
01:52
Winifred Hervey on the writers' room of The Golden Girls
02:09
Winifred Hervey on not loving to do "issues shows" on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
02:59
Winifred Hervey on her biggest challenge in the business - being female and a minority
02:07
Winifred Hervey on the representation of African-Americans on television
05:41
Winifred Hervey on opportunities for women and minorities in writing
00:40

Emmy Awards

View Topic
Winifred Hervey on winning her first Emmy for The Golden Girls
02:28

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Winifred Hervey on her recollections of 9/11
01:29

Minorities

View Topic
Winifred Hervey on getting accepted to the Warner Bros. Writing Workshop
02:12
Winifred Hervey on becoming story editor for The New Odd Couple and rewriting original scripts from The Odd Couple to tailor them to African-American performers
01:19
Winifred Hervey on efforts made to diversify the writing staff of Benson  
00:20
Winifred Hervey on not loving to do "issues shows" on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
02:59
Winifred Hervey on her biggest challenge in the business - being female and a minority
02:07
Winifred Hervey on the representation of African-Americans on television
01:51
Winifred Hervey on opportunities for women and minorities in writing
00:40

Television Industry

View Topic
Winifred Hervey on censorship on The Golden Girls
01:06
Winifred Hervey on her biggest challenge in the business - being female and a minority
02:07
Winifred Hervey on advice to aspiring writers and producers
01:15

Women

View Topic
Winifred Hervey on getting accepted to the Warner Bros. Writing Workshop
02:12
Winifred Hervey on being the only female writer on The Cosby Show
01:52
Winifred Hervey on the writers' room of The Golden Girls
02:09
Winifred Hervey on her biggest challenge in the business - being female and a minority
02:07
Winifred Hervey on opportunities for women and minorities in writing
00:40
Professions

Producers

View Profession
Winifred Hervey on her role as Executive Producer of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
02:47
Winifred Hervey on tips for being an Executive Producer
01:54
Winifred Hervey on advice to aspiring writers and producers
01:15

Writers

View Profession
Winifred Hervey on her writing strengths on Benson
00:50
Winifred Hervey on the difficulty of having her writing disregarded or thrown out
00:57
Winifred Hervey on the writers' room of The Golden Girls
02:09
Winifred Hervey on differences between writing for multi-camera and single camera shows
01:02
Winifred Hervey on her process for writing pilot episodes
03:52
Winifred Hervey on her writing process
03:17
Winifred Hervey on what she likes about writing
01:05
Winifred Hervey on advice to aspiring writers and producers
01:15
Genres

Comedy Series

View Genre
Winifred Hervey on becoming an intern on Rhoda through a Television Academy internship; on writing a script for Rhoda that got her into the Warner Bros. Writing Workshop
07:22
Winifred Hervey on becoming an intern and then staff writer on Laverne & Shirley; on tensions on set and the camaraderie amongst the staff of Garry Marshall's TV shows
09:40
Winifred Hervey on writing for Mork & Mindy; on whether Robin Williams and Jonathan Winters stayed on script
04:12
Winifred Hervey on becoming story editor for The New Odd Couple; on problems with the show and the rotating producers
04:22
Winifred Hervey on writing for Benson; on learning about post-production and learning from the show's producers
08:36
Winifred Hervey on writing for The Cosby Show; on Bill Cosby's involvement with scripts; on being the only female writer on staff, and her favorite episodes of the show
16:59
Winifred Hervey on writing for The Golden Girls; on censorship on the show and writing for each of the characters
23:14
Winifred Hervey on becoming Executive Producer on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air; on disagreements with Will Smith; on what she brought to the show
14:57
Winifred Hervey on dealing with heavy issues on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and the hip-hop culture represented on the show
13:34
Winifred Hervey on creating The Steve Harvey Show; on working with Steve Harvey and Cedric the Entertainer; on 9/11; on her favorite episodes and storylines on The Steve Harvey Show
22:02
People

Debbie Allen

View Interview Page
Winifred Hervey on creating and executive producing In the House and working with Debbie Allen
01:51

Beatrice Arthur

View Interview Page
Winifred Hervey on the cast of The Golden Girls and writing for the characters
01:28
Winifred Hervey on enjoying writing for Bea Arthur on The Golden Girls
02:12

Bill Cosby

View Person Page
Winifred Hervey on the dynamic between the actors and director Jay Sandrich on The Cosby Show
02:16
Winifred Hervey on Bill Cosby's involvement with scripts on The Cosby Show
02:12
Winifred Hervey on Bill Cosby wanting The Cosby Show storylines to have educational value
01:12

Lowell Ganz

View Interview Page
Winifred Hervey on not working with Lowell Ganz on Laverne & Shirley
00:22

Estelle Getty

View Person Page
Winifred Hervey on the cast of The Golden Girls and writing for the characters
01:28

Ron Glass

View Person Page
Winifred Hervey on working with the stars of The New Odd Couple - Ron Glass and Demond Wilson
01:55

Robert Guillaume

View Interview Page
Winifred Hervey on writing for Benson and meeting Robert Guillaume
01:32

Susan Harris

View Person Page
Winifred Hervey on working with Susan Harris on Benson
00:42
Winifred Hervey on working with Susan Harris on The Golden Girls
02:12

Steve Harvey

View Person Page
Winifred Hervey on creating The Steve Harvey Show and working with Steve Harvey
05:02

LL Cool J

View Person Page
Winifred Hervey on creating and executive producing In the House and working with LL Cool J
01:33

Brian Levant

View Person Page
Winifred Hervey on working with Brian Levant on Mork & Mindy
00:32

Garry Marshall

View Interview Page
Winifred Hervey on working with Garry Marshall on Laverne & Shirley
01:37

Rue McClanahan

View Interview Page
Winifred Hervey on the cast of The Golden Girls and writing for the characters
01:28

Jay Sandrich

View Interview Page
Winifred Hervey on the dynamic between the actors and director Jay Sandrich on The Cosby Show
02:16

Will Smith

View Person Page
Winifred Hervey on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as a star vehicle for Will Smith
03:56
Winifred Hervey on disagreements with Will Smith on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
04:46
Winifred Hervey on the hip-hop culture represented on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
02:50

Aaron Spelling

View Interview Page
Winifred Hervey on writing for Home of the Brave, an Aaron Spelling production
02:11

Brandon Tartikoff

View Person Page
Winifred Hervey on the cancellation of Baby Boom
03:08

Tony Thomas

View Interview Page
Winifred Hervey on working with Paul Junger Witt and Tony Thomas on Benson
00:58

Betty White

View Interview Page
Winifred Hervey on the cast of The Golden Girls and writing for the characters
01:28

Robin Williams

View Person Page
Winifred Hervey on writing for Robin Williams and Jonathan Winters on Mork & Mindy
01:12

Demond Wilson

View Person Page
Winifred Hervey on working with the stars of The New Odd Couple - Demond Wilson and Ron Glass
01:41

Jonathan Winters

View Interview Page
Winifred Hervey on writing for Robin Williams and Jonathan Winters on Mork & Mindy
01:12

Paul Junger Witt

View Person Page
Winifred Hervey on working with Paul Junger Witt and Tony Thomas on Benson
00:48

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