"I think I'm always trying to walk that tightrope between comedy and drama. I think you can't have one without the other. I try to keep my writing as grounded in reality as possible, try to keep one foot in the dramatic world and one foot in the comedy world, because I think they really enhance each other. It's tough to do. It requires perfect pitch sometimes, and I don't always have it, obviously, but that's what I try to do, and I think it has made my work a little different from other people's."
About This Interview
In her two-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Diane English discusses her upbringing in Buffalo, New York, where she first worked as an English and drama teacher before moving to New York City to pursue a career in playwriting. She describes how she instead landed her first industry job at public television station WNET, and began writing for the small screen --penning PBS' first television movie, The Lathe of Heaven. English outlines her first forays into half-hour comedies as a writer for Foley Square and for My Sister Sam, and speaks at length on the creation and production of her hit series, Murphy Brown. She divulges which actress she asked to play "Murphy Brown" before Candice Bergen won the role, and sheds light on the infamous debate on single-motherhood sparked by then Vice President, Dan Quayle. She chronicles the formation of her production company, Shukovsky/English, with husband Joel Shukovsky, and details her film and television work (The Women, Love & War, Ink) since Murphy Brown went off the air. Jenni Matz conducted the interview in a joint venture with The American Comedy Archives (at Emerson College) in North Hollywood, CA on February 8, 2007.