The Austin Chronicle

ATX Television Festival Says Cheers to James Burrows

By Richard Whittaker, November 11, 2022, 1:00pm, Picture in Picture

Sometimes you want to be where everybody knows your name: if you're TV legend James Burrows, that everywhere, but his name will be on everyone's lips at next year's ATX Television Festival when he receives the Achievement in Television eXcellence award.

Burrows is one of the most prolific TV sitcom directors of all time, starting in 1974 with an episode of Robert Dreyfuss vehicle Friends and Lovers. Since then, he's directed over 1,000 episodes of TV, winning 11 Emmys on the way, and there's barely an American sitcom that hasn't benefited from Burrow's direction and writing: The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, Laverne & Shirley, Newsradio, Caroline in the City, Friends, Mike & Molly, 75 episodes of Taxi and 246 episodes of Will & Grace. But he will always be synonymous with one series: Cheers, the story of the denizens of a Boston bar, the show he cocreated and for which he directed 237 episodes. During the festival, he'll be in conversation with co-creators Les and Glen Charles about the show that changed comedy and became a legitimate international success.

Jennifer Morgan, ATX Television Director of Programming, said, “James Burrows’ imprint on TV as a medium is unparalleled, and his impact on so many TV fans' lives - including our own - cannot be overstated. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to celebrate his indelible career and the joy his work continues to bring to the industry and viewers alike.”

Burrows will join a prestigious list of prior recipients of the Achievement in Television eXcellence award, including James L. Brooks (coincidentally, creator of Friends and Lovers, Norman Lear (for whom Burrows directed the 2019 Live in Front of a Studio Audience revival of Lear's All in the Family), and legendary producer Marcy Carsey (for whom Burrows directed seven episodes of the US remake of British sitcom Men Behaving Badly).

If you're in the mood for something a little darker, ATX has announced some counterprogramming with a special conversation with the creators and producers of SHOWTIME's DGA-, Emmy-, Golden Globe-, Peabody-, and WGA-winning Cold War thriller, Homeland. The festival has already confirmed creators/executive producers Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon, and director/executive producer Lesli Linka Glatter will attend, with more guests to be confirmed.

The festival is now also accepting submissions its the annual Pitch Competition. Got a script or idea? This is your chance to get it in front of industry professionals. Submissions are being accepted through Jan. 29, 2023, via

ATX Television Festival runs June 1-4, 2022. Tickets and details at

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