Producers


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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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
01:54
Garry Marshall on his advice to aspiring producers
01:56
Steven Bochco on the negotiations he had with Capital Cities/ABC executives regarding language and nudity on NYPD Blue
06:01
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
08:14
David E. Kelley on being the only producer in history to win Emmys for drama and comedy series in one year
04:12
Dick Wolf on the role of a producer
05:08
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
01:28

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
02:46
Bob Banner on duties of the producer in television 
02:25
Bob Banner on his advice to an aspiring television producer or director
01:46

Paris Barclay

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Paris Barclay on becoming a producer on NYPD Blue
01:18

Chuck Barris

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Chuck Barris on serving as a producer for The Dating Game
00:51
Chuck Barris on serving as a producer for The Dating Game and for The Newlywed Game
00:41
Chuck Barris on hosting and producing The Gong Show
02:14

Harve Bennett

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Harve Bennett on his advice to aspiring producers
00:51

Dick Berg

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Dick Berg on his producing style
01:25
Dick Berg on advice to aspiring producers
00:40

Rick Berman

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Rick Berman on advice to an aspiring producer
01:29
Rick Berman on his management style
01:42

Steven Bochco

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Steven Bochco on the responsibility of an executive producer
01:08

Vin Di Bona

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Vin Di Bona on advice to aspiring producers and show creators
03:20

Kevin Bright

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Kevin Bright on the difference between being a production manager and a producer
00:40
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
02:27
Kevin Bright on working with comedians as a producer
03:49

Bernie Brillstein

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Bernie Brillstein on working with Brad Grey and being an independent producer
06:32

Mark Burnett

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Mark Burnett on pitching Survivor
07:11
Mark Burnett on his style of show
00:57

Allan Burns

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Allan Burns on producing several episodes of Room 222
00:36
Allan Burns on advice to aspiring writer/producers
01:10

Reuben Cannon

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Reuben Cannon on advice to aspiring producers
01:11

Marcy Carsey

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Marcy Carsey on leaving ABC in 1980
01:50
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

Gilbert Cates

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Gilbert Cates on producing The Academy Awards and selecting a host
09:20
Gilbert Cates on working with the networks and AMPAS for The Academy Awards
02:20
Gilbert Cates on where he is during the live show
02:30

Glen Charles

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Glen and Les Charles on producing Phyllis and the last season of The Bob Newhart Show
01:38
Glen and Les Charles on being Executive Producers on Cheers
00:46

Les Charles

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Glen and Les Charles on producing Phyllis and the last season of The Bob Newhart Show
01:38
Glen and Les Charles on being Executive Producers on Cheers
00:46

Michael Chiklis

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Michael Chiklis on learning how to produce from The Shield's Executive Producer Scott Brazil
02:30

Dick Clark

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Dick Clark on the secret of producing live television shows
01:54
Dick Clark on his entrepreneurship
01:34
Dick Clark on producing awards shows
06:16
Dick Clark on the role of a producer
02:40

Bob Claver

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Bob Claver on advice to aspiring television producers
00:52

Joan Ganz Cooney

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Joan Ganz Cooney on becoming a producer at Channel 13 New York
03:48
Joan Ganz Cooney on her early days as a producer at Channel 13 New York
01:17
Joan Ganz Cooney on "volume producing" for Sesame Street
00:36
Joan Ganz Cooney on Dave Connell's role producing the math program, Square One TV
04:04

Ken Corday

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Ken Corday on becomong a producer for Days of Our Lives
02:53
Ken Corday on becoming an executive producer on Days of Our Lives' and his mother's death
01:28
Ken Corday on how his duties changed from producer to executive producer; on changes he made as executive producer
02:03
Ken Corday on advice to aspiring producers
00:59

Fred de Cordova

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Fred de Cordova on his duties as producer on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
02:49

Pierre Cossette

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Pierre Cossette on what made him a successful television special producer
01:32
Pierre Cossette on his producing style
04:20
Pierre Cossette on advice to an aspiring producer
00:50

Douglas S. Cramer

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Douglas S. Cramer on advice to aspiring television producers
01:25

Sam Denoff

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Sam Denoff on becoming a producer of The Dick Van Dyke Show
00:36

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
03:57
Dick Ebersol on the most interesting part of being a producer of Saturday Night Live
01:17
Dick Ebersol on John Madden hosting Saturday Night Live  and the scariest moment he's ever had as a producer
03:39

Ralph Edwards

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Ralph Edwards on the projects he chooses to produce
00:32
Ralph Edwards on shows that he produced and created
04:24
Ralph Edwards on his favorite shows that he produced

Irving Fein

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Irving Fein on being surprised and unprepared for his Emmy win for producing The Jack Benny Program
01:24

Norman Felton

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Norman Felton on his duties as a producer on Studio One
00:37

Betsy Fischer

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Betsy Fischer on her role as Executive Producer of Meet the Press
01:25

Michael J. Fox

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Michael J. Fox on being an Executive Producer on Spin City
01:46

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
04:29

Harry Friedman

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Harry Friedman on advice to an aspiring producer
01:27

William Froug

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William Froug on learning to be a producer at Screen Gems
03:12

Arthur Gardner

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Arthur Gardner on his busy schedule producing feature films and television shows simultaneously, such as The Big Valley
00:47
Arthur Gardner on the legacy of his company, Levy-Gardner-Laven
01:52

Michael Gelman

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Michael Gelman on becoming an Executive Producer in his early 20s
02:52
Michael Gelman on advice to an aspiring producer
03:08

David Gerber

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David Gerber on his management style
05:55
David Gerber on advice to an aspiring producer
04:17
David Gerber on his sales ability
01:46

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
00:40
Cagney & Lacey executive producer Barney Rosenzweig on making last minute tweaks to the show
02:09
Barney Rosenzweig and Sharon Gless on developing the theme of alcoholism for "Christine Cagney" and her father on Cagney & Lacey
05:36

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
05:57

Leonard Goldberg

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Leonard Goldberg on the craft of being a producer and how he selects projects
07:04

Robert Halmi, Sr.

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Robert Halmi, Sr. on being a hands-on producer
00:39
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
03:46
Robert Halmi, Sr. on hiring writers as producer
01:21

Sherman Hemsley

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Sherman Hemsley on Norman Lear working with the actors during the cast "readings" on The Jeffersons
00:43

Paul Henning

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Paul Henning on wanting to become a producer
09:19

Danette Herman

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Danette Herman on advice to aspiring talent executives
01:30

Winifred Hervey

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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

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
01:52

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
01:40

Robert Justman

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Robert Justman on advice to aspiring producers and ADs
01:12

David E. Kelley

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David E. Kelley on his producing style on Picket Fences and now
04:31
David E. Kelley on being the only producer in history to win Emmys for drama and comedy series in one year
04:12

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
03:02

Rita Lakin

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Rita Lakin on what makes a good producer, and on what she enjoyed about producing
03:16

Angela Lansbury

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Angela Lansbury on the similarities between housekeeping and producing
02:44

Glen A. Larson

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Glen A. Larson on how he became a producer of It Takes a Thief
02:05
Glen A. Larson on his philosophy of survival in the television industry
06:05
Glen A. Larson on what he expects from television executives as a producer
03:20

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
07:46
Peter Lassally on advice to aspiring producers
02:36

Sheldon Leonard

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Sheldon Leonard on his role as a Producer
10:09
Producer Sheldon Leonard gives an example of network script notes on I Spy
01:02

Richard Lewis

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Richard Lewis on the differences between producing for radio and producing for television
02:23
Richard Lewis on the deals that get made between networks and studios and on producing the series Checkmate
06:11
Richard Lewis on the key to making a sucessful series and on what represents the best of television
01:57

Chuck Lorre

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Chuck Lorre on balancing producing/creating three shows at once
01:53

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

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Julia Louis-Dreyfus on her role as a Producer on Veep
00:53

Sam Lovullo

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Sam Lovullo on advice to aspiring producers
01:40

Nancy Malone

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Nancy Malone on the role of a Producer
01:23

Martin Manulis

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Martin Manulis on the logistics of live television in the 1950s
01:13
Martin Manulis on the importance of casting and on troubleshooting as a producer
08:07
Martin Manulis on his philosophy as a television producer
04:04

Garry Marshall

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Garry Marshall on realizing the increased importance of casting while producing The Odd Couple
02:25
Producer Garry Marshall on the most important thing he learned in TV
02:04
Garry Marshall on his advice to aspiring producers
01:56

Kent McCray

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Kent McCray on cultivating relationships and figuring out the dynamics of his crew
02:23
Kent McCray on hiring and firing his crews
03:07
Kent McCray on making his crews comfortable by giving them individual hotel rooms
05:09
Kent McCray on how he communicates with his crew to get what he wants from them
04:26

Lee Mendelson

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Lee Mendelson on advice to aspiring television producers and animators
02:29

Burt Metcalfe

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Burt Metcalfe on the writing and producing process for M*A*S*H
02:27
Burt Metcalfe on what makes a good television producer
02:19

Don Mischer

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Don Mischer on producing specials and building rapport with stars
02:37
Don Mischer on directing/producing a music/variety special
01:23
Don Mischer on the technological advances that enhance production
01:49
Don Mischer on the secret of his success as a producer and advice to aspiring producers
09:44

Paul Monash

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Paul Monash on working with an agent, and on taking on the role of producer
05:10
Paul Monash on being a producer
02:19
Paul Monash on how producing feature films and television was different
04:04

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
02:28
Jonathan Murray on his involvement in editing The Real World
04:45
Jonathan Murray on the biggest challenges to producing The Real World
01:28
Jonathan Murray on hiring staff for reality shows
03:19
Jonathan Murray on being inducted into the Television Hall of Fame
01:13

Gareth Neame

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Gareth Neame on advice to aspiring producers
01:20

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
01:24

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
03:43
Bernie Orenstein on advice for aspiring producers
00:44

Jeff Probst

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Jeff Probst on his role as Survivor's showrunner and Executive Producer
02:06

Marian Rees

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Marian Rees on starting her own production company
05:36
Marian Rees on executive producing Miss All-American Beauty
05:07
Marian Rees on producing "Love Is Never Silent" for Hallmark Hall of Fame
16:28
Marian Rees on the politics at PBS regarding Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection  and public reaction to the series
10:43
Marian Rees on the challenges facing independent producers and how distribution has changed
07:58
Marian Rees on advice to aspiring female television producers
05:39

Carl Reiner

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Carl Reiner on being head writer and producer on The Dick Van Dyke Show
01:30
Carl Reiner on producing The Dick Van Dyke Show
12:02

Lee Rich

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Lee Rich on forming Mirisch-Rich Productions
01:29
Lee Rich on the role of producer versus that of advertising executive
00:32
Lee Rich on forming the production company Lorimar
04:30
Lee Rich on being an executive producer at Lorimar
01:59
Lee Rich on his management style at Lorimar
01:10

Meta Rosenberg

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Meta Rosenberg on advice to an aspiring television producer and succeeding in the industry as a woman
02:21

Barney Rosenzweig

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Barney Rosenzweig on wanting to become a producer and leave publicity at MGM
00:47
Barney Rosenzweig on advice to aspiring producers and how the business has changed
01:37
Barney Rosenzweig on advice to aspiring producers and how the business has changed
01:37
Barney Rosenzweig on not being a "hyphenate," but on primarily being the producer of Cagney & Lacey
00:40
Barney Rosenzweig on making last minute tweaks to the show
02:09
Barney Rosenzweig and Sharon Gless on developing the theme of alcoholism for "Christine Cagney" and her father on Cagney & Lacey
05:36

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
01:49
Stanley Rubin on advice to an aspiring producer
02:55

Marlene Sanders

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Marlene Sanders on her role as Associate Producer on Night Beat; on doing bookings for the show
01:55

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
00:45

Bob Schiller

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Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf on advice to aspiring producers
00:49

Thomas Schlamme

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Thomas Schlamme on his role as executive producer on The West Wing
02:13

George Schlatter

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George Schlatter on booking and producing The Dinah Shore Chevy Show
08:20
George Schlatter on the process of producing Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In
02:49
George Schlatter on the craft of producing
08:33

Jack Shea

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Jack Shea on his role as a producer on The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour
02:10

Sidney Sheldon

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Sidney Sheldon on how he became a producer at MGM
01:16
Sidney Sheldon on advice to aspiring television writers and producers
01:08

John Singleton

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John Singleton on producing "Hustle and Flow"
01:52

Aaron Spelling

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Aaron Spelling on what it takes to be a good producer
04:33

George Sunga

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George Sunga on his role as a Producer on All in the Family
05:12
George Sunga on the key to effective production management and his advice to aspiring television producers
02:50

Marlo Thomas

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Marlo Thomas on her advice to aspiring producers
00:57

Tony Thomas

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Tony Thomas on forming Witt-Thomas Productions
05:10
Tony Thomas on his day-to-day production duties on Soap
02:13
Tony Thomas on advice to aspiring producers
01:50

Stanford Tischler

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Stanford Tischler on the role of an associate producer
00:29

Saul Turteltaub

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Saul Turteltaub on how he and his partner Bernie Orenstein divided the responsiblities of producing That Girl
02:35
Saul Turteltaub on advice to aspiring producers
00:49

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
03:19

Bob Weiskopf

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Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf on advice to aspiring producers
00:49

Tom Werner

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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

Ellen Wheeler

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Ellen Wheeler on her duties as a line producer on Guiding Light
04:07
Ellen Wheeler on the day-to-day production of Guiding Light
12:12
Ellen Wheeler on advice to aspiring daytime producers
01:13

Dan Wilcox

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Dan Wilcox on how being a writer impacted his producing style
01:32

Larry Wilmore

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Larry Wilmore on considering himself to be primarily a producer, and on his kinship with stand-up comedy
01:38
Larry Wilmore on what he enjoys about writing and producing
01:59

Henry Winkler

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Henry Winkler on an important lesson he learned from Garry Marshall about respect on the set
02:02
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
00:44

Dick Wolf

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Dick Wolf on the role of a producer
05:08

Perry Wolff

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Perry Wolff on Standards and Practices he applies to television documentaries
04:05
Perry Wolff on his greatest achievement and his advice to aspiring television documentary filmmakers 
02:24

Frederic Ziv

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Frederic Ziv on syndicating his first program as an independent producer
03:08

Jeff Zucker

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Jeff Zucker on why Today  was such a good fit for him as a Producer
01:42
Jeff Zucker on advice to aspiring television producers and executives
00:20