Weinberger is one of television's most respected writer-producers
who, along with James L. Brooks, David Davis, Allan Burns, and Stan
Daniels, comprised the heart of the MTM creative team. Weinberger
has received numerous awards for his work, which includes a number
of successful and/or critically acclaimed series for both MTM and
his own John Charles Walters Company, of which he was a partner.
early TV experience includes writing for The Dean Martin Show,
where he was teamed with Stan Daniels, who eventually became Weinberger's
writing partner at MTM. Weinberger had also been a writer for Bob
Hope, traveling with him to Vietnam. In the late-1960s, Weinberger
wrote a screenplay about a divorced woman who struggled to make
it on her own. Although never produced, Mary Tyler Moore Show
creators James L. Brooks and Allan Burns saw a copy of the script
and hired Weinberger during the series' second season.
In addition to his Emmy-award winning work on The Mary Tyler
Moore Show, Weinberger, along with Daniels, created and produced
the MTM sitcoms Phyllis, Doc, and The Betty White Show.
In 1977, Weinberger, with Brooks, Davis, and Daniels, were wooed
away by Paramount, which was looking to finance other independent
production companies for ABC programming. The MTM alumni welcomed
the change, if only because the cozy MTM atmosphere was being gradually
replaced by a growing bureaucracy that hampered creativity. Brooks,
Davis, Daniels and Weinberger formed the John Charles Walters Company,
which produced its most famous sitcom, Taxi, in 1978.
In Taxi, Weinberger and the other members of the new creative
team were able to successfully echo the quality television that
had become synonymous with MTM. Much like an MTM show, Taxi
was a sophisticated example of humor derived from carefully-crafted
character exploration. Taxi also pursued the "work-place
as family" theme so prominent in the best of MTM sitcoms. Canceled
in 1982 by ABC, Taxi was picked up by NBC for a continuing
season. Thus, Weinberger helped deliver a second-generation of quality
television that extended into the 1980s.
In 1983, after NBC also canceled Taxi, Weinberger seemed
to take a giant step backward when he co-produced Mr. Smith,
a sitcom featuring a talking chimp for which Weinberger provided
the voice. This was not the first time Weinberger had used his voice-over
talents; the sigh in the John Charles Walters Company end credit
logo is Weinberger's, as well. In 1984, Weinberger was back on the
quality track when he co-wrote the Emmy-award winning pilot episode
for The Cosby Show. Weinberger's later production credits
also include the disappointing-yet-wildly successful series Amen,
as well as the critically acclaimed-yet-unpopular sitcom Dear John.
Attended Columbia University, New York City. Married: Carlene Watkins.
Writer for nightclub comedians; monologues for Johnny Carson, Bob
Hope in Vietnam, Dick Gregory in Mississippi, and for Dean Martin
specials; creator, writer, and producer of television comedy since
the 1970s, working with Stan Daniels for the early part of his career.
Recipient: nine Emmy Awards.
The Dean Martin Show (writer)
1972-77 Mary Tyler Moore Show (writer and producer)
1975-76 Doc (producer)
1975-77 Phyllis (writer and producer)
1977-78 The Betty White Show (producer)
1978-83 Taxi (creator, writer, and producer)
1983 Mr. Smith (creator and producer)
1989-91 Dear John (producer)
1984-92 The Cosby Show (co-creator and writer)
1986-91 Amen (creator and producer)
1989-91 Dear John (producer)
1991-92 Baby Talk (producer)
The Lonely Guy (co-writer)
Feuer, Jane, Paul Kerr, and Tise Vahimagi, editors. MTM: "Quality
Television." London: British Film Institute, 1984.
See also Amen; Cosby
Tyler Moore Show; Taxi