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March 30, 2006



I'm a big Will & Grace fan and noticed that James Burrows directs just about every episode. I know most shows have 2 or 3 directors that will direct a large number of episodes, but I can't think of anyone else BUT James who has directed a W&G ep.I figured he must be a producer on the show to get hired so repeatedly, and of course he is.Though I hate to say it, I didn't know he was such a seminal director. Just looked up his credits...is there any show he hasn't worked on?How closely does a director have to work from the script? I know in TV writers are king, but if a director didn't like a line or a plot element, does s/he have any power to change it?

Ken Levine

Directors certainly can question any line or plot element and should if he feels it will help make the show better. It's just that some directors' objections are taken more seriously than other.


hi kenThanks for your thoughts on Cheers and the writing craft and all matters related to the crazy entertainment industry.Can I ask you something? I know James Burrows, as you said, is the mozart of sitcom directors. How does he work with the actors?how did he work with you on one of your scripts? and what did you learn from him as a writer?thanks!

Ken Levine

Andrew,Good question you posed. I will in a future post talk about Jimmy and just why he is the best.


Hey Ken,Since it's apparently all but arbitrary who gets hired to direct, hire me. I'm in L.A. now and I know that if I could just start at the top good things would happen from there.--Garrett

Ken Levine

The trouble is Garrett, I have to be running a show instead of just tivoing it.


Call me over when you watch it, I'll direct the slow motion baywatch style and fast forward through all the unecessary talk that's on T.V. these days.


Thanks for the info. Your blog is eye-opening and hilarious. Can't wait to hear more.

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    Ken Levine is an Emmy winning writer/director/producer/major league baseball announcer. In a career that has spanned over 30 years Ken has worked on MASH, CHEERS, FRASIER, THE SIMPSONS, WINGS, EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND, BECKER, DHARMA & GREG, and has co-created his own series including ALMOST PERFECT starring Nancy Travis. He and his partner wrote the feature VOLUNTEERS. Ken has also been the radio/TV play-by-play voice of the Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres.
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