James Burrows has directed 1,000 episodes of television, including some of the top shows of the past 40 years. No. 1 was a 1974 episode of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," a job he got through a letter to the star, with whom he'd worked on a 1960s Broadway flop. Burrows was praised for his handling of the cast, which led to jobs on other MTM-produced shows. He also directed three more episodes of "Mary Tyler Moore."
Burrows directed 11 episodes of the MTM-produced "Bob Newhart Show," including one of the all-time classics, "Over the River and Through the Woods," in which Bob, Jerry, Howard and Mr. Carlin get drunk on Thanksgiving and order some Chinese food.
The knockabout "Laverne & Shirley" was a broader style of comedy than the MTM-produced shows on Burrows' resume. The director helmed eight episodes of the popular 1970s series.
Burrows oversaw 75 of the 114 episodes of "Taxi," about the travails of a Manhattan cab company. Among them: "Reverend Jim: A Space Odyssey," in which the Rev. Jim took his driving test; and "Jim the Psychic," in which the drug-addled cabbie's predictions keep coming true.
Burrows was one of the producers of the long-running "Cheers," about the regulars at a Boston bar. The series ended up with 271 episodes in its 11 seasons; Burrows did 237 of them.
"NewsRadio," whose characters worked at a struggling New York radio station, had Burrows behind the camera for seven episodes.
"Caroline in the City" benefited from good time slots its first two seasons -- first following "Seinfeld" and then coming after "Frasier" -- and ran for four years overall. Burrows directed 21 of its 97 episodes.
Of all the series Burrows directed, he's most fond of "Will & Grace." The show, about two best friends and the wacky group of characters that surround them, ran eight seasons and 194 episodes -- and Burrows directed every single one. "It made me laugh every day of the week," he said.
"The Millers" ran only two seasons and 34 episodes, but the show was well reviewed and featured a solid cast, led by Will Arnett and Margo Martindale. Burrows directed all but two episodes.
"Mike & Molly" will end after this season, its sixth, has aired. Burrows, who was a producer of the show for two seasons, has directed 48 episodes and, according to the Internet Movie Database, is directing the finale as well.