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King, Michael Patrick (b. 1954)  
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After being fired, King decided to take a break from his career in television, and traveled extensively throughout Europe instead.

Upon his return, King was invited by openly gay writer and producer Darren Star to join him in the creation of a new show for HBO called Sex and the City (1998-2004). Star had previously produced such successful television series as Beverly Hills, 90210, and Melrose Place.

While living and working in New York, Star had become a fan of writer Candace Bushnell's weekly columns for the New York Observer, about her own dating experiences and those of her friends as single young women living in Manhattan, which were later anthologized in the 1996 book Sex and the City. Star thought the columns would make an interesting premise for a television show. What intrigued him, Star later recalled, "was the idea of a single woman in her thirties writing about relationships and using that column as a tool of self-discovery about her own life, sometimes even unbeknownst to herself."

In an interview, King said that Star had asked him to help make the show "funny."

"[Candace] Bushnell's version of those girls," King explained, "was really wicked and really sharp and accurate, but that couldn't be on television every week. We had to make them rounder and sillier and comic."

The two men wrote and produced the first twelve episodes of the show in early 1998, which were scheduled to air on HBO later that summer.

While awaiting the future--both critically and with the network--of Sex and the City, King joined the first-season staff as a consulting producer of a new gay-themed television show on NBC called Will & Grace (1998-2006).

Co-created by openly gay writer Max Mutchnick and his writing partner David Kohan, Will & Grace centered on the relationship between gay lawyer Will Truman (Eric McCormack) and his best friend, straight interior designer Grace Adler (Debra Messing). Serving as a comedic parody of the show's central relationship, the series also featured the self-centered gay character Jack McFarland (Sean Hayes) and the self-obsessed straight, married Karen Walker (Megan Mullally).

King described the style of the show's writing as "new millennium Noël Coward," explaining that Will & Grace had the "pedigree of an intellectual show, but ridiculously funny and silly."

King also said that he enjoyed "the opportunity to form this new show where there are gay characters and straight characters living in the same world, and no one was really a villain."

However, when Sex and the City premiered on HBO in June 1998 it became a hit for the network, and King left the staff of Will & Grace to return to the HBO show, joining Darren Star for its second season. Star left the series at the end of the third season to pursue other opportunities, making King the show's executive producer.

The series focused on Carrie (played by Sarah Jessica Parker), a lifestyle columnist, and her three best friends: Samantha, a publicist (Kim Cattrall), Miranda, a corporate lawyer (Cynthia Nixon), and Charlotte, an art gallery manager (Kristin Davis). The show, according to Star, "was meant to look at relationships and sexuality from the point of view of urban women in their thirties."

HBO, a premium cable network, offered Star, King and their creative team much more liberty to explore their characters' sexuality than they would be allowed on more mainstream shows on broadcast television. Consequently, Sex and the City garnered considerable attention for the libertine attitudes of its female characters and their frank and casual discussions about sex.

King has noted that one of the things that initially appealed to him about working on the show was the "lure" of "taking sex out of the shadows."

"I'm Irish Catholic," he explained, "so sex was the thing to not talk about. To be sexual in an Irish Catholic family is the great taboo. So, for me, the pent-up giddiness and waiting to burst that from all the years with the nuns and to actually be doing sexual stories at a point in my life where I was completely open about who I was, was really great."

Given that both King and Star were open about their (homo)sexuality, many critics suggested that Sex and the City was actually about four gay men, disguised by the show's creators for the sake of convention as four heterosexual women.

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