"I used television as a laboratory. I thought we should be experimental: to elevate television beyond what people were seeing with light, with music, with sound. Television today is in many cases more exciting than a lot of film. That's an outgrowth of the work that we were doing back then. Cable has allowed the doors to be blown off, but I think that's where it began."
About This Interview
In his three-hour Archive interview, Thomas Carter talks about his early years and his first roles as an actor on M*A*S*H, Good Times, and What's Happening!. He recalls getting cast on the CBS drama The White Shadow as "James 'Hollywood' Wayward" and convincing producer Bruce Paltrow to allow him to direct several episodes. He discusses his move away from acting into full-time directing and talks of directing several episodes of Hill Street Blues. He outlines directing a second pilot for the medical drama St. Elsewhere, and setting the tone of that show. Carter talks about directing the pilot of Miami Vice, and inventing the look and feel of the show, which Brandon Tartikoff had conceived as "MTV cops." He speaks of directing and producing the award-winning series Equal Justice as well as the acclaimed made-for-television movie Don King: Only in America and the miniseries A Year in the Life. He concludes by discussing race and the television industry, mentioning career highlights, and offering advice to aspiring television directors. Stephen J. Abramson conducted the interview on November 18, 2013 in Beverly Hills, CA.