“I said to Tom Fontana, ‘Here is a million dollars. Go shoot 20 minutes and tell me what you think. Go back to your idea and just do what you want. He brought us back something that he thought was very interesting. We had done a couple of prison documentaries before ‘Oz’ that I thought were fascinating. Tom had a real point of view about rehabilitation versus retribution, questions of ‘What is the way to go?’ I thought that the rise in crime and the pressures on the penal system in this country seemed to be an interesting debate.”

Sex and the City

“I knew so many women in their 30s who had careers, who seemingly had it all, but the thing that they were still looking for was that meaningful relationship in their life. For me it was a question of — 30 years after the rise of the real feminist movement — what has really changed for women? Are they better off, are they worse off? What is the new dilemma? I wasn’t really seeing that on television. We certainly hadn’t done anything like that. We had underserved the female audience. To me that was a great way to look at something that was a vital question in a lot of people’s lives. Candice Bushnell and the columns in her book had such a great point of view.”

Curb Your Enthusiasm

“Larry David came in and wanted to film his return to standup and film a documentary around it. He wanted to do a special. The more he did, the less the special was about standup than it was about the making of the act. Of course, Larry had a clause in his contract that said if he didn’t like it he could buy it back from us. But (senior VP) Carolyn Strauss and I said, ‘There is a series here.’ ” I said, ‘Larry, I think there is a series here.’ He said, ‘You know it is funny, I think there is a series here too.’ So we did it. How often do you get a chance to work with Larry?”

The Sopranos

“A lot of people ask me ‘What is that show about?’ It is about a guy who is turning 40, who has inherited a business from his dad, and is trying to bring it into the modern era. He has an overbearing mama. He has been married for a while, and, while he loves his wife, he is having an affair. He has two teenage kids. He is depressed and is starting to see a therapist because he is searching for the meaning of his own life. The only difference between him and everyone I know is that he is the Don of New Jersey.”

Dennis Miller

“There were interesting entries in latenight. We wanted to make an entry into the talkshow world. Dennis was a guy who put it all out there. He always has a point of view. He was prolific and funny and smart. Unafraid to say what is on his mind. There was a perfect little half-hour show that really showcased his talent. It was funny. It felt like the perfect entry. And people forget we actually won our first series Emmy with Dennis’ show.”