In Raleigh back in August 1996, William Friday interviewed Andy Griffith on a local PBS station. They talked almost 10 minutes about TAGS then spent the rest of the time talking about Andy's Gospel CD (NOTE: Andy's favorite song on the CD is "Sweet Prospects"). Andy plans to release a Christmas CD this year containing 8 or 9 additional gospel songs, some Christmas Carols, and maybe even one of his favorite recordings (a story about a juggler that John Charles Nesmit did in December 1943).
Andy mentioned that TAGS was the "best time of my professional life", and that doing the show was so comfortable that it was like getting up in the mornings to go home! He said he and the cast got along great. He only remembered having one disagreement, and that was with Sheldon Leonard over the introduction of a new character to the show (sorry but he didn't mention details on which character).
Andy said they had the best comedy writers in town, and he just LOVED doing the show. The best part was when Andy talked about the differences (in his mind) between the B&W episodes and the color episodes. He said that it was never written in the scripts, but the look and feel of the B&W episodes was like a small town in the 1930's. When the color episodes started, things were very different. It was more like a regular sit com.
But most importantly, Don Knotts wasn't there. Andy was offered the chance to do the show for another 4 years, but in his words he "couldn't give it the care it needed".
By the way, Andy mentioned that he is going to do a guest appearance as Matlock on an upcoming episode of "Diagnosis Murder" with Dick Van Dyke. If the ratings are good from that show, he thinks he will do another Matlock movie or two.