"At the end of Season one of 'Cheers' there's a famous scene where Sam and Diane kiss for the first time. The audience went bananas - through the roof. I turned to David [Isaacs] and said, 'We've peaked.' Though there were some wonderful episodes for the next four seasons, I don't think we could ever match it."
About This Interview
In the one-hour, solo portion of his Archive interview, Ken Levine talks about his varied early interests, including cartooning, baseball, and radio, the latter of which led to a stint at the Los Angeles station KMPC. He discusses his unlikely later-life career as a baseball play-by-play announcer, first for Minor League teams and then for teams like the Baltimore Orioles and the Los Angeles Dodgers. He recalls directing many television shows, including Wings, Frasier, Everybody Loves Raymond, and LateLine, and details his directing style. He discusses his blog "By Ken Levine," talks of writing novels, and outlines teaching at USC. In the two-hour joint portion of their Archive interview, Ken Levine and David Isaacs recount how they met while in the military, and describe their early collaborative efforts, which culminated with the sale of a spec script to The Jeffersons. They detail their time writing for M*A*S*H and discuss the medical research for the show, writing for the various established characters, and penning specific episodes such as "Point of View," which garnered them an Emmy nomination. They touch on co-producing the short-lived sequel After MASH, and developing Cheers along with creators Glen and Les Charles. They describe the challenges of Cheers' first year, comment on winning an Emmy for the show, and discuss the chemistry between the characters of "Sam" and "Diane." Levine and Isaacs recount writing for the Cheers spin-off, Frasier, and talk of the challenges of making a supporting character the lead. They outline their collaborative process, how they deal with writers' block, and what they look for when assembling a writing staff. Stephen J. Abramson conducted the interview in a joint venture with The Writers Guild Foundation on September 29, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.