Producers


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

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About

Although the medium's technical complexity demands that any television program is a collective product involving many talents and decision makers, in American television it is the producer who frequently serves as the decisive figure in shaping a program. Producers assume direct responsibility for a show's overall quality and continued viability. Conventional wisdom in the industry consequently labels television "the producer's medium"--in contrast to film, where the director is frequently regarded as the key formative talent in the execution of movie.

In fact, producers' roles vary dramatically from show to show or organization to organization. Some highly successful producers, such as Quinn Martin and Aaron Spelling, are primarily business executives presiding over several programs. They may take an active role in conceiving new programs and pitching (presenting them for sale) to networks, but once a show is accepted they are likely to concentrate on budgets, contracts, and troubleshooting, handing over day-to-day production to their staffs, and exercising control only in a final review of episodes. Other producers are more intimately involved in the details of each episode, participating actively in screenwriting, set designs, casting and--like James Burrows--serving as a frequent director for their programs. Still others serve as enabling mid-managers who delegate crucial activities to directors, writers, and actors, but who choose such personnel carefully, and enforce critical standards, while working to insulate the creative staff from outside pressures. Many producers dispatch their duties within studio hierarchies, while others own independent companies, sometimes contracting space, equipment, and personnel from studios.

-Michael Saen

Highlights
Winifred Hervey on tips for being an Executive Producer
Garry Marshall on his advice to aspiring producers
Steven Bochco on the negotiations he had with Capital Cities/ABC executives regarding language and nudity on NYPD Blue
Larry Gelbart on the filming of the episode "The Interview" of M*A*S*H and why they kept the ending a secret from the cast
David E. Kelley on being the only producer in history to win Emmys for drama and comedy series in one year
Dick Wolf on the role of a producer
Who talked about this profession

Mary V. Ahern

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Mary V. Ahern on advice to an aspiring television producer, and on then-current shows she admires

William Asher

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William Asher on the role of the producer in television series

Bob Banner

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Bob Banner on his personal style as a producer
Bob Banner on duties of the producer in television 
Bob Banner on his advice to an aspiring television producer or director

Paris Barclay

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Paris Barclay on becoming a producer on NYPD Blue

Chuck Barris

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Chuck Barris on serving as a producer for The Dating Game
Chuck Barris on serving as a producer for The Dating Game and for The Newlywed Game
Chuck Barris on hosting and producing The Gong Show

Harve Bennett

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Harve Bennett on his advice to aspiring producers

Dick Berg

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Dick Berg on his producing style
Dick Berg on advice to aspiring producers

Rick Berman

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Rick Berman on advice to an aspiring producer
Rick Berman on his management style

Steven Bochco

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Steven Bochco on the responsibility of an executive producer

Vin Di Bona

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Vin Di Bona on advice to aspiring producers and show creators

Kevin Bright

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Kevin Bright on the difference between being a production manager and a producer
Kevin Bright on producing cable comedy specials in the 1980s and how the cable environment allowed him to create a niche for himself as a new kind of producer
Kevin Bright on working with comedians as a producer

Bernie Brillstein

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Bernie Brillstein on working with Brad Grey and being an independent producer

Mark Burnett

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Mark Burnett on pitching Survivor
Mark Burnett on his style of show

Allan Burns

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Allan Burns on producing several episodes of Room 222
Allan Burns on advice to aspiring writer/producers

Reuben Cannon

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Reuben Cannon on advice to aspiring producers

Marcy Carsey

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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

Gilbert Cates

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Gilbert Cates on producing The Academy Awards and selecting a host
Gilbert Cates on working with the networks and AMPAS for The Academy Awards
Gilbert Cates on where he is during the live show

Les Charles

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Glen and Les Charles on producing Phyllis and the last season of The Bob Newhart Show
Glen and Les Charles on being Executive Producers on Cheers

Glen Charles

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Glen and Les Charles on producing Phyllis and the last season of The Bob Newhart Show
Glen and Les Charles on being Executive Producers on Cheers

Michael Chiklis

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Michael Chiklis on learning how to produce from The Shield's Executive Producer Scott Brazil

Dick Clark

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Dick Clark on the secret of producing live television shows
Dick Clark on his entrepreneurship
Dick Clark on producing awards shows
Dick Clark on the role of a producer

Bob Claver

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Bob Claver on advice to aspiring television producers

Joan Ganz Cooney

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Joan Ganz Cooney on becoming a producer at Channel 13 New York
Joan Ganz Cooney on her early days as a producer at Channel 13 New York
Joan Ganz Cooney on "volume producing" for Sesame Street
Joan Ganz Cooney on Dave Connell's role producing the math program, Square One TV

Ken Corday

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Ken Corday on becomong a producer for Days of Our Lives
Ken Corday on becoming an executive producer on Days of Our Lives' and his mother's death
Ken Corday on how his duties changed from producer to executive producer; on changes he made as executive producer
Ken Corday on advice to aspiring producers

Fred de Cordova

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Fred de Cordova on his duties as producer on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson

Pierre Cossette

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Pierre Cossette on what made him a successful television special producer
Pierre Cossette on his producing style
Pierre Cossette on advice to an aspiring producer

Douglas S. Cramer

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Douglas S. Cramer on advice to aspiring television producers

David Crane

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David Crane on advice to an aspiring television producer
David Crane on working with his life partner, Jeffrey Klarik

Sam Denoff

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Sam Denoff on becoming a producer of The Dick Van Dyke Show

Elise Doganieri

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Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster on advice to aspiring producers and the role of an executive producer

Dick Ebersol

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Dick Ebersol on the time slot that would become Saturday Night Live's  and getting the chance to produce late night
Dick Ebersol on the most interesting part of being a producer of Saturday Night Live
Dick Ebersol on John Madden hosting Saturday Night Live  and the scariest moment he's ever had as a producer

Ralph Edwards

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Ralph Edwards on the projects he chooses to produce
Ralph Edwards on shows that he produced and created
Ralph Edwards on his favorite shows that he produced

Linda Ellerbee

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Linda Ellerbee on what she enjoys about producing and executive producing

Irving Fein

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Irving Fein on being surprised and unprepared for his Emmy win for producing The Jack Benny Program

Norman Felton

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Norman Felton on his duties as a producer on Studio One

Betsy Fischer

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Betsy Fischer on her role as Executive Producer of Meet the Press

Michael J. Fox

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Michael J. Fox on being an Executive Producer on Spin City

Albert Freedman

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Albert Freedman on his duties as a producer on Twenty One - getting the best contestants and having the best questions

Harry Friedman

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Harry Friedman on advice to an aspiring producer

William Froug

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William Froug on learning to be a producer at Screen Gems

Arthur Gardner

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Arthur Gardner on his busy schedule producing feature films and television shows simultaneously, such as The Big Valley
Arthur Gardner on the legacy of his company, Levy-Gardner-Laven

Michael Gelman

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Michael Gelman on becoming an Executive Producer in his early 20s
Michael Gelman on advice to an aspiring producer

David Gerber

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David Gerber on his management style
David Gerber on advice to an aspiring producer
David Gerber on his sales ability

Lesli Linka Glatter

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Lesli Linka Glatter on what she learned about being a producing director from Thomas Schlamme on The West Wing, and on the experience of directing the show
Lesli Linka Glatter on advice to aspiring producers

Sharon Gless

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Cagney & Lacey executive producer Barney Rosenzweig on not being a "hyphenate," but on primarily being the producer of Cagney & Lacey
Cagney & Lacey executive producer Barney Rosenzweig on making last minute tweaks to the show
Barney Rosenzweig and Sharon Gless on developing the theme of alcoholism for "Christine Cagney" and her father on Cagney & Lacey

Leonard Goldberg

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Leonard Goldberg on the craft of being a producer and how he selects projects

Gary David Goldberg

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Gary David Goldberg on what he learned about being a producer from MTM's The Tony Randall Show that he later applied on Family Ties

Robert Halmi, Sr.

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Robert Halmi, Sr. on being a hands-on producer
Robert Halmi, Sr. on his casting process as a producer and how he creates his own drawings to envision the look of a project he's working on
Robert Halmi, Sr. on hiring writers as producer

Dwight Hemion

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Dwight Hemion and Gary Smith on working together as producing partners and on coming up with ideas
Dwight Hemion and Gary Smith on dealing with pressure when working on a project
Dwight Hemion and Gary Smith on dealing with performers like Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr.
Dwight Hemion and Gary Smith on choosing projects to work on and on their production company
Dwight Hemion and Gary Smith on the importance of Gary's art design background, and on their communication with each other
Gary Smith and Dwight Hemion on the atmosphere on the set of their productions and how they collaborate on set
Gary Smith and Dwight Hemion on the elements of a successful producing and directing partnership and on why theirs worked
Gary Smith and Dwight Hemion on staffing their projects
Gary Smith and Dwight Hemion on keeping their collaborations fresh
Dwight Hemion and Gary Smith on working together as producing partners and on coming up with ideas
Dwight Hemion and Gary Smith on dealing with pressure when working on a project
Dwight Hemion and Gary Smith on dealing with performers like Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr.
Dwight Hemion and Gary Smith on choosing projects to work on and on their production company
Dwight Hemion and Gary Smith on the importance of Gary's art design background, and on their communication with each other
Gary Smith and Dwight Hemion on the atmosphere on the set of their productions and how they collaborate on set
Gary Smith and Dwight Hemion on the elements of a successful producing and directing partnership and on why theirs worked
Gary Smith and Dwight Hemion on staffing their projects
Gary Smith and Dwight Hemion on keeping their collaborations fresh

Sherman Hemsley

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Sherman Hemsley on Norman Lear working with the actors during the cast "readings" on The Jeffersons

Paul Henning

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Paul Henning on wanting to become a producer

Danette Herman

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Danette Herman on advice to aspiring talent executives

Winifred Hervey

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Winifred Hervey on her role as Executive Producer of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Winifred Hervey on tips for being an Executive Producer
Winifred Hervey on advice to aspiring writers and producers

Ron Howard

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Ron Howard on financing his own TV movies in the early 1980s, and learning valuable lessons of fiscal responsibility

David Jacobs

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David Jacobs on what he learned from producer/executive Lee Rich and how he applied it to show running

Robert Justman

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Robert Justman on advice to aspiring producers and ADs

David E. Kelley

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David E. Kelley on his producing style on Picket Fences and now
David E. Kelley on being the only producer in history to win Emmys for drama and comedy series in one year

Susan Lacy

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Susan Lacy on the feeling of being in the edit room for the "a-ha!" moments; such as "Reaching for the Note" from the American Masters' on Leonard Bernstein

Perry Lafferty

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Perry Lafferty on the difference between working in live television and working in prerecorded or filmed television, and on the live episode of ER

Rita Lakin

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Rita Lakin on what makes a good producer, and on what she enjoyed about producing

Angela Lansbury

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Angela Lansbury on the similarities between housekeeping and producing

Glen A. Larson

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Glen A. Larson on how he became a producer of It Takes a Thief
Glen A. Larson on his philosophy of survival in the television industry
Glen A. Larson on what he expects from television executives as a producer

Peter Lassally

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Peter Lassally on his day-to-day responsibilities as a producer and dealing with talent on The Tonight Show
Peter Lassally on advice to aspiring producers

Sheldon Leonard

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Sheldon Leonard on his role as a Producer
Producer Sheldon Leonard gives an example of network script notes on I Spy

Richard Lewis

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Richard Lewis on the differences between producing for radio and producing for television
Richard Lewis on the deals that get made between networks and studios and on producing the series Checkmate
Richard Lewis on the key to making a sucessful series and on what represents the best of television

Chuck Lorre

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Chuck Lorre on balancing producing/creating three shows at once

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

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Julia Louis-Dreyfus on her role as a Producer on Veep

Sam Lovullo

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Sam Lovullo on advice to aspiring producers

A.C. Lyles

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A.C. Lyles on advice to an aspiring producer
A.C. Lyles on advice for aspiring producers

Nancy Malone

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Nancy Malone on the role of a Producer

Martin Manulis

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Martin Manulis on the logistics of live television in the 1950s
Martin Manulis on the importance of casting and on troubleshooting as a producer
Martin Manulis on his philosophy as a television producer

Garry Marshall

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Garry Marshall on realizing the increased importance of casting while producing The Odd Couple
Producer Garry Marshall on the most important thing he learned in TV
Garry Marshall on his advice to aspiring producers

Kent McCray

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Kent McCray on cultivating relationships and figuring out the dynamics of his crew
Kent McCray on hiring and firing his crews
Kent McCray on making his crews comfortable by giving them individual hotel rooms
Kent McCray on how he communicates with his crew to get what he wants from them

Lee Mendelson

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Lee Mendelson on advice to aspiring television producers and animators

Burt Metcalfe

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Burt Metcalfe on the writing and producing process for M*A*S*H
Burt Metcalfe on what makes a good television producer

Don Mischer

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Don Mischer on producing specials and building rapport with stars
Don Mischer on directing/producing a music/variety special
Don Mischer on the technological advances that enhance production
Don Mischer on the secret of his success as a producer and advice to aspiring producers

Paul Monash

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Paul Monash on working with an agent, and on taking on the role of producer
Paul Monash on being a producer
Paul Monash on how producing feature films and television was different

E. Roger Muir

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E. Roger Muir on advice to an aspiring producer

Bertram van Munster

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Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster on advice to aspiring producers and the role of an executive producer

Jonathan Murray

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Jonathan Murray on starting to produce documentaries
Jonathan Murray on his involvement in editing The Real World
Jonathan Murray on the biggest challenges to producing The Real World
Jonathan Murray on hiring staff for reality shows
Jonathan Murray on being inducted into the Television Hall of Fame

Gareth Neame

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Gareth Neame on advice to aspiring producers

Leonard Nimoy

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Leonard Nimoy on producer Norman Felton, who let Nimoy shadow director Joseph Sargent on The Man From U.N.C.L.E. to learn how to direct for television

Bernie Orenstein

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Bernie Orenstein on he and Saul Turteltaub's responsibilities as producers of That Girl and what they looked for in staff writers
Bernie Orenstein on advice for aspiring producers

Jeff Probst

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Jeff Probst on his role as Survivor's showrunner and Executive Producer

Marian Rees

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Marian Rees on starting her own production company
Marian Rees on executive producing Miss All-American Beauty
Marian Rees on producing "Love Is Never Silent" for Hallmark Hall of Fame
Marian Rees on the politics at PBS regarding Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection  and public reaction to the series
Marian Rees on the challenges facing independent producers and how distribution has changed
Marian Rees on advice to aspiring female television producers

Carl Reiner

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Carl Reiner on being head writer and producer on The Dick Van Dyke Show
Carl Reiner on producing The Dick Van Dyke Show

Del Reisman

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Del Reisman on the experience of producing The Untouchables, and on working with Robert Stack as "Elliott Ness"

Lee Rich

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Lee Rich on forming Mirisch-Rich Productions
Lee Rich on the role of producer versus that of advertising executive
Lee Rich on forming the production company Lorimar
Lee Rich on being an executive producer at Lorimar
Lee Rich on his management style at Lorimar

Meta Rosenberg

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Meta Rosenberg on advice to an aspiring television producer and succeeding in the industry as a woman

Barney Rosenzweig

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Barney Rosenzweig on wanting to become a producer and leave publicity at MGM
Barney Rosenzweig on advice to aspiring producers and how the business has changed
Barney Rosenzweig on advice to aspiring producers and how the business has changed
Barney Rosenzweig on not being a "hyphenate," but on primarily being the producer of Cagney & Lacey
Barney Rosenzweig on making last minute tweaks to the show
Barney Rosenzweig and Sharon Gless on developing the theme of alcoholism for "Christine Cagney" and her father on Cagney & Lacey

Aaron Ruben

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Aaron Ruben on the multi-faceted skills of a good producer, what makes a good story "is a good story"

Stanley Rubin

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Stanley Rubin on producing General Electric Theater
Stanley Rubin on advice to an aspiring producer

Marlene Sanders

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Marlene Sanders on her role as Associate Producer on Night Beat; on doing bookings for the show

Jay Sandrich

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Jay Sandrich on producing the first season of Get Smart only to decide he preferred directing, and leaving the show

Bob Schiller

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Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf on advice to aspiring producers

Thomas Schlamme

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Thomas Schlamme on his role as executive producer on The West Wing

George Schlatter

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George Schlatter on booking and producing The Dinah Shore Chevy Show
George Schlatter on the process of producing Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In
George Schlatter on the craft of producing

William Self

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William Self on his retirement from CBS, and on forming a production company with Glenn Close

Jack Shea

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Jack Shea on his role as a producer on The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour

Sidney Sheldon

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Sidney Sheldon on how he became a producer at MGM
Sidney Sheldon on advice to aspiring television writers and producers

John Singleton

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John Singleton on producing "Hustle and Flow"

Gary Smith

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Gary Smith on how he comes to produce projects, including tributes and awards shows
Gary Smith on advice to aspiring producers

Aaron Spelling

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Aaron Spelling on what it takes to be a good producer

George Sunga

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George Sunga on his role as a Producer on All in the Family
George Sunga on the key to effective production management and his advice to aspiring television producers

Tony Thomas

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Tony Thomas on forming Witt-Thomas Productions
Tony Thomas on his day-to-day production duties on Soap
Tony Thomas on advice to aspiring producers

Marlo Thomas

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Marlo Thomas on her advice to aspiring producers

Stanford Tischler

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Stanford Tischler on the role of an associate producer

Saul Turteltaub

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Saul Turteltaub on how he and his partner Bernie Orenstein divided the responsiblities of producing That Girl
Saul Turteltaub on advice to aspiring producers

Keenen Ivory Wayans

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Keenen Ivory Wayans on his movie "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka" and how the battles with the film production helped changed his career

Bob Weiskopf

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Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf on advice to aspiring producers

Tom Werner

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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

Ellen Wheeler

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Ellen Wheeler on her duties as a line producer on Guiding Light
Ellen Wheeler on the day-to-day production of Guiding Light
Ellen Wheeler on advice to aspiring daytime producers

Dan Wilcox

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Dan Wilcox on how being a writer impacted his producing style

Larry Wilmore

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Larry Wilmore on considering himself to be primarily a producer, and on his kinship with stand-up comedy
Larry Wilmore on what he enjoys about writing and producing

Henry Winkler

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Henry Winkler on an important lesson he learned from Garry Marshall about respect on the set
Henry Winkler on advice to aspiring actors and producers "you have to need to act"; and you must train, and you must be passionate about your work

Dick Wolf

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Dick Wolf on the role of a producer

Perry Wolff

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Perry Wolff on Standards and Practices he applies to television documentaries
Perry Wolff on his greatest achievement and his advice to aspiring television documentary filmmakers 

Lauren Zalaznick

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Lauren Zalaznick on her decision to become a producer
Lauren Zalaznick on what makes a good producing team

Frederic Ziv

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Frederic Ziv on syndicating his first program as an independent producer

Jeff Zucker

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Jeff Zucker on why Today  was such a good fit for him as a Producer
Jeff Zucker on advice to aspiring television producers and executives