101 Best Written TV Series

Aired: CBS, 1967-1978 (1979 on ABC)

The kind of beloved series that television executives abandoned long ago comedy-variety, with an infectiously multi-talented comedian as host, aided by a small band of merry pranksters, Burnett's show was part of the era that also included Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, The Flip Wilson Show, and The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. The show was loose-feeling, if not strictly loose, featuring a down-to-earth star and an ensemble of regulars, who seemed to be having so much fun they couldn't resist breaking character and laughing during sketches (see Korman, Harvey). The writers' room was a mixture of established gag men (Gene Perret, Roger Beatty, Arnie Kogen, and Gary Belkin, among them) and younger voices including the future filmmaker Barry Levinson, Tom Patchett (creator of Alf), and Jay Tarses, author of numerous off-beat sitcoms, including The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd.

Credited Writers

Bill Angelos
Art Baer
Roger Beatty
Gary Belkin
Stan Burns
Dick Clair
Tim Conway
Elias Davis
Rudy DeLuca
Hal Goldman
Hal Goodman
Al Gordon
Barry Harman
Stan Hart
Rick Hawkins
Robert Hilliard
Don Hinkley
Bob Illes
Ray Jessel
Ben Joelson
Arthur Julian
Bo Kaprall
Larry Klein
Woody Kling
Arnie Kogen
Buz Kohan
Barry Levinson
Mike Marmer
Jenna McMahon
Jack Mendelsohn
Gene Moss
Gail Parent
Tom Patchett
Gene Perret
David Pollock
Pat Proft
Bill Richmond
Arnie Rosen
Liz Sage
Bob Schiller
Larry Siegel
Franelle Silver
Ed Simmons
Kenny Solms
Jim Stein
Burt Styler
Adele Styler
Jay Tarses
James Thurman
Saul Turtletaub
Paul Wayne
Bob Weiskopf