Writers


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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Highlights
Michael Moye on his writing style
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on their writing process on I Love Lucy
Ellen M. Violett on the craft of writing adaptations for television
Horton Foote on his writing process, and using his own life for ideas
Terence Winter on rules for writing The Sopranos and the writers' room on the show
Earl Hamner on why he writes
Who talked about this profession

Alan Alda

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Alan Alda on writing the M*A*S*H episode "Dear Sigmund"
Alan Alda on winning an Emmy, and how some of your best writing work can come as a surprise

Kay Alden

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Kay Alden on the early writing process for The Young and the Restless
Kay Alden on how the writing process for The Young and the Restless has evolved
Kay Alden on where storylines originate from on The Young and the Restless and the influence of academic debate on her writing

Alan Ball

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Alan Ball on writing for and becoming co-executive producer on Cybill, being disheartened, and writing American Beauty
Alan Ball on channeling his anger from working on Cybill into writing American Beauty
Alan Ball on how he got the idea for American Beauty; on not having to have a "moment of shit" in it; on the joy of writing for different media
Alan Ball on writing and staffing writers for Six Feet Unde

William Bell

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William Bell on the challenges of writing for live soap operas
William Bell on changes in writing for soap operas over the years
William Bell on not being a proponent of ad-libbing in daytime
William Bell on his writing style
William Bell on his writing process for Days of Our Lives

Donald Bellisario

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Donald Bellisario on his decision to move to Los Angeles and become a writer
Donald Belisario on advice to aspiring writers

William Blinn

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William Blinn on advice he would give aspiring writers

Sam Bobrick

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Sam Bobrick on his writing partner Bill Idelson, and on the advantages of having a writing partner
Sam Bobrick on his writing process for pilots
Sam Bobrick on the craft of writing and his process
Sam Bobrick on what he likes about writing, and on writing plays
Sam Bobrick on advice to an aspiring writer and on how he'd like to be remembered

Steven Bochco

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Steven Bochco on Richard Levinson's advice to him about writing for an actor like Peter Falk

Joshua Brand

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Joshua Brand on writing the pilot for Northern Exposure, and on his writing process with writing partner John Falsey
Joshua Brand on his writing process
Joshua Brand on dealing with writers block and on the general process of writing
Joshua Brand on what he loves about writing
Joshua Brand on advice to an aspiring television writer, and on dealing with studio politics
Joshua Brand on getting the Writers Guild Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Writing Achievement with John Falsey, and on his feelings about the Writers Guild

James L. Brooks

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James L. Brooks on never thinking he could make a living as a writer
James L. Brooks on the best job in the world
James L. Brooks on writing

Alton Brown

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Alton Brown on writing scripts for Good Eats

Harvey Bullock

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Harvey Bullock on the process of writing scripts for The Andy Griffith Show
Harvey Bullock on his writing style 
Harvey Bullock on advice to aspiring writers and comedy writers

Allan Burns

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Allan Burns on deciding he wanted to be a television writer
Allan Burns on working on He & She and how it helped his writing
Allan Burns on advice to aspiring writer/producers

Sid Caesar

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Sid Caesar on his philosophy of keeping a creative flow during the writing process

Glenn Gordon Caron

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Glenn Gordon Caron on how he writes scripts
Glenn Gordon Caron on advice to aspiring writers

Dick Cavett

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Dick Cavett on writing for The Jack Paar Show aka The Tonight Show

Tucker Cawley

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Tucker Cawley on a typical production week for Everybody Loves Raymond and the process of writing scripts for the show
Tucker Cawley on advice to aspiring writers

Les Charles

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Les Charles on he and his brother, Glen Charles, deciding to become writing partners
Glen and Les Charles on the atmosphere in the writing room of Taxi
Glen and Les Charles on the writers' room on Cheers
Glen and Les Charles on their writing style
Glen and Les Charles on why Cheers was considered to have sophisticated writing

Glen Charles

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Glen Charles on beginning to write with his brother, Les
Glen and Les Charles on the atmosphere in the writing room of Taxi
Glen and Les Charles on the writers' room on Cheers
Glen and Les Charles on their writing style
Glen and Les Charles on why Cheers was considered to have sophisticated writing

David Chase

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David Chase on the writers problem of exposition and use of the "urban explainer" that he used on The Rockford Files
David Chase on how directing affected the way he writes "a camera can only do one thing at a time"
David Chase on his writing process; on what he looks for in a writer

Ron Clark

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Ron Clark on his writing process
Ron Clark on advice to an aspiring television writer

Hal Kanter with Emerson College

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Hal Kanter on realizing he had a gift for comedy writing
Hal Kanter on learning to write comedy from the greats
Hal Kanter on learning to write for different comedians' voices on radio
Hal Kanter on learning to structure jokes, and on working with Bob Hope
Hal Kanter on dealing with agents and managers, and the business end of show business
Hal Kanter on how humor has evolved over the years
Hal Kanter on advice to aspiring comedy writers

Charles Grodin with Emerson College

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Charles Grodin on considering his audience when writing

Andy Rooney with Emerson College

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Andy Rooney on discovering the use of humor as a device when writing
Andy Rooney on realizing that he was funny
Andy Rooney on his writing process
Andy Rooney on various aspects of using humor in his writing

Barbara Corday

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Barbara Corday on advice to aspiring television writers

David Crane

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on learning to write as they went along, and deciding not to be actors
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the success of their writing partnership
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on what appealed to them about writing
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on learning to write as they went along, and deciding not to be actors
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on advice to aspiring television writers
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the success of their writing partnership
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on what appealed to them about writing
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on advice to aspiring television writers

Bill Daily

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Bill Daily on writing for The Mike Douglas Show

Bill Dana

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Bill Dana on what writers made in the 1960s compared to today
Bill Dana on why he hated performing and loved being a writer
Bill Dana on writing for the voice of Don Adams and the birth of "would you believe" jokes
Bill Dana on writing the memorable sketch "The Question Man" with Don Hinkley and Leonard Stern on The Steve Allen Show, and his favorite, Chicken Teriyaki
Bill Dana on writing the parody "The Nutley-Hinkley-Butley-Winkley Report"
Bill Dana on writing for The Golden Girls, where the script was bible, versus other shows where the writers could adapt a script, such as his own Bill Dana Show on NBC
Bill Dana on advice to aspiring writers and comedians

Elias Davis

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on dealing with writer's block
Elias Davis and David Pollock on their collaborative process
Elias Davis and David Pollock on advice to an aspiring television writer
Elias Davis and David Pollock on dealing with writer's block

Madelyn Pugh Davis

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Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on their working style in their writing partnership
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on their writing process on I Love Lucy
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on scripting I Love Lucy's physical comedy
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on writing for Lucille Ball

Ossie Davis

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Ossie Davis on his advice to aspiring writers

Sam Denoff

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Sam Denoff on wanting to be writers, not producers, and the process of writing for The Steve Allen Show
Sam Denoff on learning a lesson from Carl Reiner: "the best comedy comes from reality"
Sam Denoff on bringing your home life into your work life as a writer
Sam Denoff on his writing partnership with Bill Persky
Sam Denoff on his advice to aspiring writers

Harlan Ellison

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Harlan Ellison on how he learned to write a script
Harlan Ellison on working with the Writers Guild of America
Harlan Ellison on writers not getting respect in Hollywood

Diane English

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Diane English on loving writing for television
Diane English on her writing process
Diane English on being flexible with writing so actors can bring their own magic to the piece
Diane English on her voice as a writer

Norman Felton

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Norman Felton on his big break writing plays

Tom Fontana

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Tom Fontana on the writing process of St. Elsewhere and becoming a producer on that show
Tom Fontana on coming up with script ideas for St. Elsewhere
Tom Fontana on constructing the stories for Homicide: Life on the Street
Tom Fontana on the darkness of his writing style

Dorothy Fontana

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Dorothy Fontana on being mentored in television writing by Samuel Peeples
Dorothy Fontana on the challenges of being a woman writer and using D.C. Fontana on her scripts so that she would be given a chance
Dorothy Fontana on her writing process and philosophy

Horton Foote

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Horton Foote on his writing process, and using his own life for ideas
Horton Foote on the importance of casting, and on the writer working with actors
Horton Foote on how he feels about directing as a writer
Horton Foote on writing for cable networks
Horton Foote on the importance of creating a mood or setting for a story

Ron Friedman

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Ron Friedman on making the transition from writing for variety shows to writing sitcoms
Ron Friedman on acting as a troubleshooter for shows, including A Year at the Top, and on writing for Barney Miller
Ron Friedman on making the transition from writing sitcoms to writing dramas
Ron Friedman on his writing process
Ron Friedman on dealing with writers block
Ron Friedman on how his process for writing drama differs from his process for writing comedy
Ron Friedman on joining the Writers Guild, and on how it benefits writers
Ron Friedman on what he enjoys about teaching writing
Ron Friedman on advice to aspiring writers, and on his children who are writers

William Froug

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William Froug on writing his first play/production in college
William Froug on writing for radio
William Froug on teaching screenwriting at UCLA and his philosophy on screenwriting
William Froug on writing books on screenwriting

Lowell Ganz

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Lowell Ganz on his early writing partner Mark Rothman and their writing process on The Odd Couple
Lowell Ganz on working with Jack Klugman and Tony Randall on The Odd Couple
Lowell Ganz on his advice to young writers
Lowell Ganz on the key to his success in writing
Lowell Ganz on his and Babaloo Mandel's approach to writing pilots and various unsold pilots

Larry Gelbart

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Larry Gelbart on getting his first break while still in high school writing for Danny Thomas on the "Fanny Bryce Maxwell House Coffee Time" radio show, because his father convinced Thomas, who was a customer at his barbershop, that the teenager could write
Larry Gelbart on lessons he learned about when to ask for a raise, and the value of having fun with language
Larry Gelbart on the process and structure of writing Bob Hope's monologues
Larry Gelbart on the valuable lesson of writing with a beginning, middle, and end in mind for a sketch while working on the Red Buttons Show
Larry Gelbart on the rigorous schedule the writers had on Caesar's Hour
Larry Gelbart on the differences between writing for Broadway versus television; and the changes in the profession since TV's "Golden Age"
Larry Gelbart on the differences between television in the UK versus the US in the '60s
Larry Gelbart on his advice to writers: "maintain your identity as an artist"

Vince Gilligan

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Vince Gilligan on the advice he received from his mentor, Mark Johnson, to not move to Los Angeles at the beginning of his career, which he felt helped his writing style
Vince Gilligan on initially turned down a job as a television writer, but going back to it after hitting a spell of bad luck in the business
Vince Gilligan on the writers' room at The X-Files; on the first episode he wrote as a staff writer "Pusher"; on the writing process
Vince Gilligan on "Folie Aux Deux" - an X-Files  episode he wrote and how the visual element was incorporated into the show; on why the visual is as important as the dialogue
Vince Gilligan on how writers "break" a story

Gary David Goldberg

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Gary David Goldberg on the atmosphere of the writers' room on Family Ties
Gary David Goldberg on advice to aspiring television writers

Walon Green

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Walon Green on what makes a good writer
Walon Green on what he likes about writing
Walon Green on his writing process
Walon Green on never having had to deal with writers block, and on the importance of rewriting
Walon Green on rewriting other writers' work, and on having his own work rewritten by others
Walon Green on learning the format to write feature films
Walon Green on what it has meant to him over the years to be a member of the Writers Guild
Walon Green on advice to an aspiring writer

Everett Greenbaum

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Everett Greenbaum on the formula for a hit sitcom

Earl Hamner, Jr.

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Earl Hamner on working with Rod Serling and writing teleplays for The Twilight Zone
Earl Hamner on why he writes
Earl Hamner on being known as a homespun, folksy writer
Earl Hamner on his writing style

Dean Hargrove

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Dean Hargrove on learning to write for several different genres, and on writing for The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Dean Hargrove on the elements that make a great television character
Dean Hargrove on what he enjoys about writing
Dean Hargrove on his writing process and his routines
Dean Hargrove on advice to aspiring writers and producers

Paul Henning

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Paul Henning on getting a job at a Kansas City radio station and pursuing a career as a writer
Paul Henning on beginning to seriously consider a career in writing
Paul Henning on differences between writing for the radio and television versions of The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show  
Paul Henning on the writing process for the television version of The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show  
Paul Henning on his writing philosophy of placing characters above jokes

Buck Henry

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Buck Henry on the challenges of writing for The Garry Moore Show; on writing for someone else's voice
Buck Henry on the challenge of writing comedy about dark or difficult subject matter
Buck Henry on satire and the history of the satyr play - "nothing is sacred until somebody hurts you"; on what is off-limits to him
Buck Henry on why he enjoyed writing on Get Smart; on the different "voices" of comedy teams
Buck Henry on the myth of "pitching"; on identifying primarily as a writer but loving acting
Buck Henry on his advice to aspiring writers

Winifred Hervey

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Winifred Hervey on her writing strengths on Benson
Winifred Hervey on the difficulty of having her writing disregarded or thrown out
Winifred Hervey on the writers' room of The Golden Girls
Winifred Hervey on differences between writing for multi-camera and single camera shows
Winifred Hervey on her process for writing pilot episodes
Winifred Hervey on her writing process
Winifred Hervey on what she likes about writing
Winifred Hervey on advice to aspiring writers and producers

Silvio Horta

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Silvio Horta on advice to aspiring writers
Silvio Horta on his writing process

Roy Huggins

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Roy Huggins on learning to write for the screen

David Isaacs

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Ken Levine and David Isaacs on their early collaborative writing process
Ken Levine and David Isaacs on how they collaborate
Ken Levine and David Isaacs on dealing with writers' block
Ken Levine and David Isaacs on The Writers Guild of America
Ken Levine and David Isaacs on writing for different genres
Ken Levine and David Isaacs on advice to aspiring writers

Seaman Jacobs

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Seaman Jacobs on being a freelance writer, and on writing with a partner
Seaman Jacobs on writing for Family Affair, and on the craft of writing for sitcoms
Seaman Jacobs on what makes a successful television comedy
Seaman Jacobs on his writing process with his partner

David Jacobs

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Writer/show creator David Jacobs on writing
David Jacobs on writing when he has something to write
David Jacobs on advice to young writers

Al Jean

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Al Jean on his writing process
Al Jean on advice for aspiring writers and for those who want to get into animation

George Clayton Johnson

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George Clayton Johnson on thinking he could be a writer - and starting to plot out "Ocean's Eleven"
George Clayton Johnson on an episode of The Twilight Zone he wrote ("Kick the Can") that was used in the film version directed by Steven Spielberg and caused some trouble with the Writers Guild
George Clayton Johnson on his process for writing episodic television

Irma Kalish

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Irma Kalish on the process of writing with her husband Rocky and how they divvied up responsibilities
Irma Kalish on writing for Popular Publications, a pulp magazine, and getting paid a penny a word in her early days as a writer
Irma Kalish on the difference between writing books versus writing for television
Rocky Kalish on writing for Martin & Lewis in their early radio career, as a boost to his career with wife Irma
Irma Kalish on writing sketch humor
Irma Kalish on how writing the All in the Family  episode dealing with cancer helped her friend, and impacted her feeling about her profession "you never know how many people you've touched"
Irma and Rocky Kalish on how they work together and how they determine what is funny
Rocky and Irma Kalish on tackling scripts with social import in the 1970s
Irma Kalish on her advice to aspiring writers

Rocky Kalish

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Irma and Rocky Kalish on how they work together and how they determine what is funny
Irma Kalish on the process of writing with her husband Rocky and how they divvied up responsibilities
Rocky Kalish on writing for Martin & Lewis in their early radio career, as a boost to his career with wife Irma
Irma Kalish on writing sketch humor
Irma Kalish on how writing the All in the Family  episode dealing with cancer helped her friend, and impacted her feeling about her profession "you never know how many people you've touched"
Rocky and Irma Kalish on tackling scripts with social import in the 1970s
Irma Kalish on her advice to aspiring writers

Lucille Kallen

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Lucille Kallen on the key to writing television comedy

Marta Kauffman

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Marta Kauffman on the importance of caring about the characters you write
Marta Kauffman on advice to someone wanting to start in television

David E. Kelley

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David E. Kelley on writing a lot of episodes of his shows himself (Chicago Hope and Picket Fences)
David E. Kelley on his writing process

Barry Kemp

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Barry Kemp on his role in the writing process on Taxi
Barry Kemp on the writing process for Newhart
Barry Kemp on his writing process
Barry Kemp on advice to aspiring writers

Michael Patrick King

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Michael Patrick King on starting to write plays - "One Act" and wanting to be a writer
Michael Patrick King on his rule - "Follow the Green lights"
Michael Patrick King on questioning oneself when you're creative
Michael Patrick King on turning in the very best version of his work
Michael Patrick King on the writers' room on Will & Grace
Michael Patrick King on the writers of Sex and the City
Michael Patrick King on the three layers of the writers' room of Sex and the City
Michael Patrick King on keeping the writing fresh on Sex and the City  and personal space in a writers' room
Michael Patrick King on advice for aspiring writers and producers 

Ernest Kinoy

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Ernest Kinoy on advice to aspiring writers

Arnie Kogen

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Arnie Kogen on his writing process
Arnie Kogen on what he likes about writing, and on writing in groups
Arnie Kogen on continuing to write for "Mad Magazine" and how he juggles it with his television work
Arnie Kogen on joining the Writers Guild and on his retirement
Arnie Kogen on advice to an aspiring writer

Rita Lakin

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Rita Lakin on her writing process, and on joining the Writers Guild
Rita Lakin on advice to aspiring writers

Glen A. Larson

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Glen A. Larson on utilizing "predicament humor" in his writing
Glen A. Larson on his learning process at Universal Television
Glen A. Larson on mentoring other writers
Glen A. Larson on the writing process for Battlestar Galactica
Glen A. Larson on advice to aspiring writers

Norman Lear

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Norman Lear on the rigorous schedule writers had in the Golden Age of Television and on his personal life at the time

Stan Lee

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Stan Lee on his signature, "As told by Stan Lee"
Stan Lee on the ease and fun of comic book writing
Stan Lee on writing

David Lee

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David Lee on becoming a producer for Cheers  in 1985 and the writing process on Cheers
David Lee on advice to aspiring writers

Ken Levine

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Ken Levine and David Isaacs on their early collaborative writing process
Ken Levine and David Isaacs on how they collaborate 
Ken Levine and David Isaacs on dealing with writers' block
Ken Levine and David Isaacs on The Writers Guild of America 
Ken Levine and David Isaacs on writing for different genres 
Ken Levine and David Isaacs on advice to aspiring writers

Barry Levinson

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Barry Levinson on what he liked about writing sketch comedy
Barry Levinson on his writing process

Steve Levitan

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Steve Levitan on the moment he considered writing for sitcoms, and making the connections that got him a job in the industry
Steve Levitan on the writers' room at Wings

William Link

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William Link on his writing style 

Christopher Lloyd

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Christopher Lloyd on the writing process and competitive environment on The Golden Girls, his first job as a writer in television
Christopher Lloyd on the format of writing The Golden Girls and situational comedy in six scenes
Christopher Lloyd on writing for the different characters on The Golden Girls; on writing for older women
Christopher Lloyd on the lessons learned on The Golden Girls; the importance of having vulnerability in characters
Christopher Lloyd on the highly intellectual aspect of a show like Frasier and why it worked to take that risk; on giving credit to the intelligence of your audience; a "10%" joke
Christopher Lloyd on the writing process on Frasier; trying not to sacrifice storytelling for a good joke
Christopher Lloyd on returning to Frasier for the last season; the satisfaction of writing the final episode
Christopher Lloyd on his approach to working with actors
Christopher Lloyd on being proud to have won five Emmys for Frasier.
Christopher Lloyd on advice to aspiring writers 

Chuck Lorre

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Chuck Lorre on writing for Roseanne
Chuck Lorre on writing for My Two Dads, originally called Who's Dad?
Chuck Lorre on the writers room on Grace Under Fire 
Chuck Lorre on the benefits of collaborating with other writers
Chuck Lorre on his advice to writers starting out

William H. Macy

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William H. Macy on his writing process with his writing partner Steven Schachter
William H. Macy on the Shameless episode, "Can I Have a Mother," which he wrote with Steven Schachter, and what he saw in the writers room

Loring Mandel

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Loring Mandel on adjusting his style of writing to the material
Loring Mandel on his writing process
Loring Mandel on subjects he's drawn to writing about, and on the politics of his work
Loring Mandel on advice to aspiring television writers

Abby Mann

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Abby Mann on his writing process
Abby Mann on the themes in his work
Abby Mann on advice to aspiring television writers, and on how he'd like to be remembered

Sonia Manzano

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Sonia Manzano on writing for children on Sesame Street
Sonia Manzano on her advice to writers

Ann Marcus

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Ann Marcus on how writing for television has changed
Ann Marcus on the process of writing for soap operas
Ann Marcus on the difference between writing a daytime and night-time serial
Ann Marcus on advice to aspiring writers

Garry Marshall

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Garry Marshall on his early literary writing influences
Garry Marshall on tailoring writing for the star of a show
Garry Marshall on comedy writing from life experience
Garry Marshall on the differences between the fictional writers on The Dick Van Dyke Show and the actual ones
Garry Marshall on the advice Milt Josefsberg gave him about the financial rewards for writing for a Lucille Ball show
Garry Marshall on Tony Randall and Jack Klugman's professionalism raising the bar for his sitcom writing

Richard Matheson

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Richard Matheson on his writing schedule, on outling, on rewriting, and on reading aloud his scripts
Writer Richard Matheson on creating suspense and fear in his work
Richard Matheson on his advice to aspiring writers

David Milch

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David Milch on the process of writing for Hill Street Blues
David Milch on his writing process
David Milch on the key to creating a series
David Milch on advice to aspiring television writers

Paul Monash

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Paul Monash on how he got work as a freelance writer in the 1950s, and on the challenge of writing for live television
Paul Monash on his writing style, and on his writing process
Paul Monash on working with an agent, and on taking on the role of producer
Paul Monash on advice to aspiring television writers

Garrett Morris

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Garrett Morris on working as a writer and performer on Saturday Night Live

Tad Mosel

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Tad Mosel on finding his writing style and on his influences 
Tad Mosel on writing an adaptation as opposed to writing an original piece
Tad Mosel on how the technological advances in camera work affected writing for television and on the challenges of writing to accommodate costume changes
Tad Mosel on writing to commercial breaks for live television and on adapting "A Death in the Family" for the stage
Tad Mosel on his writing process
Tad Mosel on working in Hollywood as opposed to working in New York
Tad Mosel on the pressures of writing and performing for live television and the decline of live television

Michael Moye

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Michael Moye on the writing process for Good Times
Michael Moye on the writing process for The Jeffersons
Michael Moye on rules for writing characters on The Jeffersons
Michael Moye on a change in the writing process on The Jeffersons
Michael Moye on his writing style
Michael Moye on advice to aspiring TV writers

Thad Mumford

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Thad Mumford on what he likes about writing
Thad Mumford on his advice to aspiring writers and on how he'd like to be remembered

Agnes Nixon

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Agnes Nixon on using her own experiences and dreams as material for her soap opera writing
Agnes Nixon on how the process of writing soap operas evolved throughout her career

Bill Nye

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Bill Nye on the writing and editing on Bill Nye, the Science Guy

Carroll O'Connor

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Carroll O'Connor on how his experience as an actor informed his dialogue writing

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 collaborating with his writing/producing partner Saul Turteltaub
Bernie Orenstein on his writing process when writing a novel or play
Bernie Orenstein on the process of writing for television
Bernie Orenstein on the process of writing for television
Bernie Orenstein on his writing process when writing a novel or play
Bernie Orenstein on advice for aspiring writers

Gail Parent

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Gail Parent on what made her a good television writer
Gail Parent on advice to aspiring television writers

Bill Persky

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Bill Persky on getting started as a writer for television, and the story of the 10 pounds of comedy material
Bill Persky on his favorite comedy joke, which he wrote for The Steve Allen Show, about Ben Casey
Bill Persky on the limitations of writing and why he wanted to be a director

David Pollock

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on their collaborative process
Elias Davis and David Pollock on dealing with writer's block
Elias Davis and David Pollock on advice to an aspiring television writer

Abraham Polonsky

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Abraham Polonsky on advice to aspiring writers, on his dislike of the internet, and on his mother

Carl Reiner

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

Del Reisman

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Del Reisman on the craft of writing episodic television
Del Reisman on finding material as story editor for Playhouse 90, and on the duties of the story editor
Del Reisman on the process of editing scripts
Del Reisman on advice to aspiring writers
Del Reisman on how he would like to be remembered

Larry Rhine

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Larry Rhine on having writing partners, and on writing for Here's Lucy
Larry Rhine on advice to aspiring television writers

Andy Rooney

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Andy Rooney on making changes to his writing style when he started working for Arthur Godfrey

Phil Rosenthal

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Phil Rosenthal on transitioning from acting to writing and his first job as staff writer on
Phil Rosenthal on the 3 most important things about writing sitcom scripts that he learned from Alan Kirschenbaum
Phil Rosenthal on the writer's room of Everybody Loves Raymond and the dynamic between male and female writers

Stanley Ralph Ross

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Stanley Ralph Ross on his career as a freelance writer
Stanley Ralph Ross on writing pilots
Stanley Ralph Ross on deciding to leave shows after he writes the pilot
Stanley Ralph Ross on advice to aspiring writers

Mark Rothman

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Mark Rothman on his good instincts as a writer
Mark Rothman on advice to aspiring writers

Aaron Ruben

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Aaron Ruben on Sheldon Leonard's "seminars" which were held with The Andy Griffith Show writers

Stanley Rubin

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Stanley Rubin on writing his first screenplay and working with Marshall Grant
Stanley Rubin on joining the Screenwriter's Guild and helping to negotiate the first minimum basic agreement

Sol Saks

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Sol Saks on breaking into comedy writing, during the radio days
Sol Saks on noticing that on My Favorite Husband he was distracted from the set so he wouldn't interfere with production regarding changes in the script
Writer Sol Saks on his philosophy of comedy writing and writing in general
Radio and TV writer Sol Saks (Duffy's Tavern, Bewitched) on not believing in writer's block
Writer Sol Saks on learning his first (amusing) lesson— in the 8th grade— on how writers are treated

Jay Sandrich

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Jay Sandrich on a favorite episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show that presented a difficult writing challenge

Bob Schiller

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Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf on plotting scenes backwards on I Love Lucy
Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf on the writing process on I Love Lucy
Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf on the writing process on I Love Lucy and a typical workweek
Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf on writing Lucille Ball's physical comedy into the scripts of I Love Lucy
Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf on the writing process on Maude and Norman Lear's involvement with the writing
Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf on winning the WGA's Paddy Chayefsky Award for Television Achievement
Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf on their writing style and discipline, on why they've had a successful writing partnership
Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf on advice to aspiring comedy writers
Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf on why their writing has held up over the years

Lew Schneider

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Lew Schneider on coming up with storylines for Everybody Loves Raymond, and working with producer Phil Rosenthal
Lew Schneider on the process of writing Everybody Loves Raymond, and on a typical workweek on the show
Lew Schneider on advice to an aspiring television writer

Sherwood Schwartz

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Sherwood Schwartz on the writer's, director's and producer's role in a production
Sherwood Schwartz on his approach to storytelling

Lorenzo Semple, Jr.

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Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on advice to aspiring television writers

Esther Shapiro

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on advice to aspiring television writers

Richard Shapiro

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Richard Shapiro on his goals as a writer
Richard Shapiro on the challenges of being a freelance TV writer
Richard Shapiro on defining himself as a writer
Richard and Esther Shapiro on their pitching style
Richard and Esther Shapiro on advice to aspiring television writers

Mel Shavelson

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Mel Shavelson on advice to aspiring writers

David Shaw

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David Shaw on the process of writing scripts for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
David Shaw on advice to aspiring writers and his proudest career achievement

Sidney Sheldon

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Sidney Sheldon on why he loves writing more than directing
Sidney Sheldon on his process for writing novels
Sidney Sheldon on differences between writing for film and television and writing novels
Sidney Sheldon on his writing process
Sidney Sheldon on advice to aspiring television writers

David Shore

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David Shore on coming up with story ideas
David Shore on the advice he would give to young writers

Treva Silverman

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Treva Silverman on the development of the characters on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Treva Silverman on writing for great actors like the ones on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Treva Silverman on advice to aspiring comedy writers

Sam Simon

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Sam Simon on his advice to aspiring writers

John Singleton

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John Singleton on writing "Boyz N the Hood"
John Singleton on his writing process
John Singleton on what he likes about writing
John Singleton on writing for film and television, and feeling it's the same, especially as television becomes more cinematic

Darren Star

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Darren Star on trusting your own instincts as a writer and not allowing the audience to influence your choices
Darren Star on what he likes about writing
Darren Star on his writing process
Darren Star on advice to aspiring writers

Ben Starr

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Ben Starr on his love of writing
Ben Starr on his writing routine
Ben Starr on advice to aspiring television writers

Leonard Stern

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Leonard Stern on his advice to aspiring writers- keep writing!

Jeremy Stevens

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Jeremy Stevens on the writing process on Everybody Loves Raymond
Jeremy Stevens on the writers' room at Everybody Loves Raymond
Jeremy Stevens on using situations from his life on Everybody Loves Raymond

Norman Stiles

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Norman Stiles on the early process of writing for Sesame Street
Norman Stiles on writing for the actors on Sesame Street
Norman Stiles on writing for the ensemble of Sesame Street
Norman Stiles on collaborating with the writers on Sesame Street as head writer of the show and what he looked for in a writer
Norman Stiles on keeping his writing for Sesame Street fresh over several decades
Norman Stiles on the craft of writing 

Howard Storm

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Howard Storm on the challenges of writing for an established character like All in the Family's Archie Bunker

J. Michael Straczynski

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J. Michael Straczynski on the secret of his writing

Mel Tolkin

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Mel Tolkin on how writing sketches differed from writing a sitcom like The Danny Thomas Show
Mel Tolkin on teaching comedy writing at UCLA, and on the then-current state of television comedy
Mel Tolkin on the benefits of writing with a partner, and on the best of television

Saul Turteltaub

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Saul Turteltaub on working with his writing partner Bernie Orenstein
Saul Turteltaub on the craft of writing: "You don't write the first page unless you know the last page"
Saul Turteltaub on writing on a typewriter, and his partner Bernie Orenstein getting a computer long before he did
Saul Turteltaub on what he likes about writing
Saul Turteltaub on advice to aspiring writers

Bruce Vilanch

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Bruce Vilanch on staying topical with his writing for the Academy Awards shows
Bruce Vilanch on honing his comedic talents in writing; on advice to aspiring writers

Ellen M. Violett

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Ellen M. Violett on the craft of writing adaptations for television
Ellen M. Violett on the craft of adapting works for television
Ellen M. Violett on what she likes about writing for television
Ellen M. Violett on advice to aspiring television writers

Matthew Weiner

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Matthew Weiner on his ability to remember dialogue and moments vividly, which he later used in writing for television shows like Mad Men
Matthew Weiner on knowing when to stop rewriting 
Matthew Weiner on not wanting to use repetition in the dialogue of Mad Men
Matthew Weiner on the writers' room on Mad Men; on taking risks

Bob Weiskopf

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Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf on plotting scenes backwards on I Love Lucy
Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf on the writing process on I Love Lucy
Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf on the writing process on I Love Lucy and a typical workweek
Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf on writing Lucille Ball's physical comedy into the scripts of I Love Lucy
Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf on the writing process on Maude and Norman Lear's involvement with the writing
Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf on winning the WGA's Paddy Chayefsky Award for Television Achievement
Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf on their writing style and discipline, on why they've had a successful writing partnership
Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf on advice to aspiring comedy writers
Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf on why their writing has held up over the years

John Wells

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John Wells on crafting the stories of China Beach using real life stories from veterans 
John Wells on the writing of ER and the use of real medical terminology in the scripts
John Wells on his writing process
John Wells on how writing for television differs from writing for feature film
John Wells on advice to aspiring writers
John Wells on the writing of ER and the use of real medical terminology in the scripts

Dan Wilcox

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Dan Wilcox on the writing process on Captain Kangaroo
Dan Wilcox on the writing process of Sesame Street
Dan Wilcox on writing the characters of Captain Kangaroo
Dan Wilcox on his writing process and dealing with writers block
Dan Wilcox on what he likes about writing and advice to an aspiring writer

Larry Wilmore

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Larry Wilmore on dealing with pilot season
Larry Wilmore on writing for Sister, Sister for showrunner Sy Rosen, and on learning to write for a sitcom
Larry Wilmore on his writing and editing process

Terence Winter

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Terence Winter on wanting to become a sitcom writer
Terence Winter on rules for writing The Sopranos and the writers' room on the show
Terence Winter on directing and writing The Sopranos episode - "Walk Like a Man"
Terence Winter on working with the other writers on The Sopranos
Terence Winter on advice to an aspiring writer

Alan Zweibel

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Alan Zweibel on writing comedy for other voices, including Larry David's
Alan Zweibel on writing the character "Roseanne Roseannadanna" with Gilda Radner for Saturday Night Live, and on their writing process
Alan Zweibel on his writing process
Alan Zweibel on writing things for hire and writing things for himself
Alan Zweibel on the process of pitching a project
Alan Zweibel on what he likes about collaborating with other writers
Alan Zweibel on winning his life achievement award from the Writers Guild
Alan Zweibel on advice to an aspiring television writer
Alan Zweibel on how his writing process varies for different media
Alan Zweibel on what he likes about being a writer
About

A commonplace in the television industry is that "it all begins with the script." In part, this notion recognizes the centrality of writers in the early days of live television, when authors such as Reginald Rose, Paddy Chayevsky and Rod Serling established the medium as an arena for the exploration of character, psychology, and moral complexity in close intimate settings. With the television industry's move to Hollywood in the 1950s, and its increasing reliance on filmed, formulaic, studio factory productions, writers were often reduced to "hack" status, churning out familiar material that was almost interchangeable across genres. This week's western could be reformatted for next week's crime drama. This view oversimplifies, of course, and ignores extraordinary work in television series such as Naked City, The Defenders, Route 66 and others. But it does capture conventional assumptions and expectations.

In the 1970s, with the rise of socially conscious situation comedy often identified with producer Norman Lear and the "quality" comedies associated with MTM Productions, writers once again moved to positions of prominence. Lear himself was a writer-producer, one of the many "hyphenates" who would follow into positions of authority and control. And Grant Tinker, head of MTM, sought out strong writers and encouraged them to create new shows--and new types of shows--for television. Indeed, the legacy of MTM stands strong in today's television industry. Names such as James Brooks, Alan Burns, Steven Bochco, David Milch, and others can trace their careers to that company.

At the present time almost every major producer in American television is also a writer. Writers oversee series development and production, create new programs, and see to the coordination and conceptual coherence of series in progress. Their skills are highly valued and, for the very successful few, extremely highly rewarded. Never the less, the role of the writer is affected by many other issues, and despite new respect and prominence, remains a complex, often conflicted position within the television industry.

-Cheryl Harris