Director James Burrows on Makin’ His Way in the World Today

Director James Burrows is practically synonymous with popular television comedies. Burrows got his start in television under the tutelage of Jay Sandrich on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, went on to direct episodes of The Bob Newhart Show, co-created Cheers with Les and Glen Charles (and directed almost all of the series’ episodes), directed episodes of Taxi, Friends, Frasier, and the entire series run of Will & Grace.

Burrows stated that one of the biggest laughs he’s ever seen on television occurred when he was directing Friends:

Watch James Burrows’ full interview here to hear his tales of Taxi, Cheers, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and other TV favorites.

About this interview:

In his three-and-a-half hour Archive interview, James Burrows discusses his early years working as a stage manger under his father, playwright/director Abe Burrows, and outlines his years directing for the stage in regional theater. He recalls his break into television directing, working at MTM Productions on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and describes directing Fay, The Bob Newhart Show, Laverne & Shirley, and Phyllis. He details working with the cast and creative team behind Taxi, and directing the majority of the series’ episodes. Burrows chronicles the eleven-year run of Cheers, which he co-created with Glen & Les Charles, and for which he directed nearly every episode.  As one of the pre-eminent directors of sitcom pilots, Burrows shares what he looks for in selecting a pilot and explains what drew him to directing the pilot episodes of Night Court, NewsRadio, and 3rd Rock From the Sun. He talks of working on the early seasons of Frasier, Friends, and Caroline in the City, and speaks of the joy of being the sole director of the hit series, Will & Grace. Gary Rutkowski conducted the interview on December 17, 2003 in Los Angeles, CA.

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