After Yale, Burrows returned to California where he became employed as a diagolgue coach on O.K. Crackerby!, a television show staring Burl Ives and created by Burrow's father, Abe.
Burrows' style is best known for his comic timing, complex blocking for actors, and incorporating more sophisticated lighting in television studio shoots. He is also credited for expanding the typical multi-camera television shoot from three to four cameras.
Additionally, by 2012 Burrows had directed over 50 pilots for television shows.
Burrows has had cameo appearances in several of the shows for which he has directed. He also appears as a television director named Jimmy in the 2005 HBO series The Comeback. Burrows played himself on the series. An episode of Scrubs, "My Life in Four Cameras", had a character named Charles James in honor of Cheers creators Burrows and Glen and Les Charles.