From McFarland, a new book chronicling Stephen J. Cannell’s productions is being released today, written by Jon Abbott (author of a 2006 book on Irwin Allen’s productions). Stephen Cannell was responsible for many television hits strating in the 1970s, and won the Emmy Award for The Rockford Files. Cannell was interviewed by the Archive on June 23, 2004.
Cannell talked about the challenges of battling dyslexia and using his innate storytelling ability to break into the television business. He described his work with Jack Webb on the series Adam-12 for which he served as head writer/ story editor. He discussed his continued work in series television as a creator/ producer, on such series as Toma. Baretta, Baa-Baa Blacksheep, and one of the biggest hits of the 1970s, The Rockford Files. For Rockford, he talked about creating the series, selling it to the network, and working with series star James Garner. He spoke in great detail about his hit series of the 1980s and 90s, which included The Greatest American Hero, The A-Team, 21 Jump Street, Wiseguy, and The Commish. Throughout the interview, Cannell spoke about his approach to storytelling and characterization as well as the processes involved in producing a series for television.