"The reason I stayed away from movies is they take it away from the producer and it's all about the director. In TV, it's still about producers. Although that's beginning to soften up. Except in my case."
About This Interview
In his three-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, David Gerber (1923-2010) talks about his start in television working as a television supervisor and as a packager at Famous Artists Agency. He describes becoming familiar with network and agency executives and the importance of making those vital career connections. He details his tenure as Senior Vice President of Television at General Artists Corporation (GAC), working with such television luminaries as Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. He describes his move to 20th Century Fox where he worked as Vice President in charge of television packaging. He recalls working with producer Irwin Allen on his many science-fiction series. Gerber relates how he became affiliated with Columbia Pictures Television, and then became President (and explains how he suggested that the name of the division be changed from "Screen Gems" to "Columbia Pictures Television"). He recounts the creation, issues covered, and production of the 1970s drama series Police Story. He speaks in detail about spin-off series Police Woman and the highly-rated miniseries Beulah Land (and the controversy surrounding its production). He talks about becoming the President of MGM Television and discusses the series he oversaw including thirtysomething (and his initial excitement over the pilot script and fight to get the series financed) and In the Heat of the Night (and working with star Carroll O'Connor). B-roll consists of stills from Born Free, Police Story, Nanny and the Professor, The Adventures of Sinbad, and The Lost Batallion. Karen Herman conducted the interview on September 13, 2006 in Bel Air, CA.