This is quite a milestone — the doyen of TV sitcom directors James Burrows will have 1,000 episodes of television under his belt. Burrows will reach the number on NBC’s midseason multi-camera comedy series Crowded, on which he serves as director and executive producer. His achievement is being celebrated today though he actually is directing his 999th episode tonight with Crowded, and the big 1,000 will tape next Tuesday. Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, festivities are being held today with a party following the taping, though there also will be a smaller celebration following the taping of the actual 1,000th episode next Tuesday. I hear the milestone also may be marked with an NBC special, eyed to air in January. If it comes to fruition, the special would be produced by Hazy Mills, the company behind Crowded whose partner is Will & Grace star Sean Hayes who worked with Burrows on the Emmy-winning NBC comedy.
Before tonight’s taping, Burrows’ long-time Director of Photography, award-winning cinematographer Gary Baum, and Panavision presented the director with a camera magazine like those used to hold film when sitcoms were still shot on film. It is engraved with the titles of every show Burrows has helmed. First on the list is Mary Tyler Moore –– a 1974 episode of the classic comedy marked Burrows’ directing debut. Burrows is probably best known for his work on Taxi, Cheers and spinoff Frasier as well as Will & Grace, which collectively earned him 10 Emmy Awards and four DGA Awards. He directed the pilots for all four series as well as for such other long-running comedies as The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men and Mike & Molly.
I hear a lot of Burrows collaborators and friends from the past four decades were invited and are expected to go to tonight’s party, organized by Burrows wife Debbie, and some of them also are attending the taping.