James Burrows

TV Titans

If bigscreen screenwriters don’t get the respect they deserve, then TV sitcom directors are afforded even less. Unless your name is James Burrows.

Whenever a comedy is fortunate enough to get to the pilot stage, the first call made is to Burrows, whose association with a show gives it an immediate stamp of quality and legitimacy.

As both a helmer and producer, he’s won six Emmys — “Taxi,” “Cheers” and “Will & Grace” — and has helped define the comedy ensemble. Other successful shows that he helped structure — thanks to his innate ability in knowing how to get the most out of each joke — date back to “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and include “The Bob Newhart Show,” “Night Court,” “Friends,” “Frasier,” “3rd Rock From the Sun,” “Wings” and today’s most-watched comedy, “Two and a Half Men.”

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