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Jeffrey Klarik and David Crane have no fear of burning bridges. In the 1990's Crane co-created Friends and Klarik produced Mad About You. Now, they've got the freedom to do whatever they want creatively. In their show Episodes, a co-production off the BBC and Showtime, they pull no punches making fun of the televison industry they know so well. They're also not shy in suggesting ways Showtime could show their series a little more love.

Photo: (L-R) David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik with Mircea Monroe, behind the scenes on Episodes. (Patrick Wymore/Showtime)

Hollywood News Banter 5 MIN

TV Guide magazine chief content officer Michael Schneider joins Kim Masters to discuss top entertainment news stories of the week.

  • Media stocks take a hit on Wall Street among investor fears that cord cutting will cut into profits. Viacom, already a troubled operation, was hit especially hard.
  • Sony's Tom Rothman announced a slate of 16 films going into 2019. Many of the films are reboots or sequels. The announcement was perhaps to take the focus off the tough summer Sony's enduring. After the bomb of Pixels, Ricky and the Flash comes out this weekend, and the reviews are already...underwhelming.
  • The cancellation of TLC's 19 Kids and Counting will cause $19 million and counting of damage to the network. Discovery Communications has taken charges of $24 million for the reality show's cancellation following a sexual abuse scandal involving the show's oldest son.
'Episodes' 5 MIN

In the 1990's, David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik hit the TV jackpot. Crane co-created Friends and Klarik co-produced Mad About You.

The two are partners -- in life and in writing -- and have mined their years of experience in television to create the Showtime comedy Episodes, a satire of Hollywood with Matt LeBlanc playing a version of himself, still trying to live down the legacy of Joey from Friends.

In Episodes, a co-production with the BBC, married British writing team Sean and Beverly, played by Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig, are asked to make an American version of their acclaimed TV comedy. Soon after landing in LA, they find that everything they love about their show is being transformed beyond recognition thanks to changes wrought by disingenuous network executives.

Ironically, because of the very limited production budget, the show is mostly shot in London, where Crane and Klarik have devised all sorts of tricks to make England look like California.

Despite critical acclaim, Emmy nominations and a renewal for a fifth season, the show has flown largely under the radar -- produced on shoestring budget and still awaiting that breakout moment. Crane and Klarik think this is partially because there's so much good content out there, but they're also not shy about saying they think Showtime could give them better placement and more money. Because the success of their earlier shows means they never have to work again, they've got no fear of burning bridges.

Matt LeBlanc playing Matt LeBlanc on Episodes

When ballots went out for Emmy nominations this year, Crane and Klarik decided to take their awards campaign into their own hands, running a hand-written, full-page ad in the Hollywood Reporter, reminding voters about their show. Their DIY approach worked, and the show got nominated again, both for Matt LeBlanc's performance and for Crane and Klarik for comedy writing.

David Crane, television writer and producer
Jeffrey Klarik, television producer and writer

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