25 Industry Insiders Who Changed Television

James L. Brooks

Creator: The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Taxi
Producer: The Simpsons

By the 1980s, James L. Brooks was already a legend. As a co-creator and writer on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Taxi, Brooks had earned his spot in TV history. He was lured back to the box from feature films when Tracey Ullman couldn't find a producer for her show. On the recommendation of a friend, he brought a young cartoonist named Matt Groening to do shorts as part of Ullman's program. This led to Fox offering Groening a chance to make The Simpsons as half-hour stand alone show.

Brooks stayed on as producer and negotiated what may ultimately be remembered as the most important contractual stipulation in television history: The Simpsons would be produced with no network interference whatsoever.

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