Who’s Running the Show? Television’s Writer-Producers

Showrunners have a huge impact on television shows and how everything happens, hence the name showrunner. In fact, a showrunner outranks the television show director in all respects. What does a showrunner do? That is a good question! An article in The Hollywood Reporter The Top 50 Showrunners of 2012 gives a great breakdown of what the best showrunners do, and how their strategies lead to some of the best shows on television!

The Hollywood Reporter article discusses how a showrunner has direct responsibility for the day-to-day creative output of a scripted TV show that has aired for at least one full season. The showrunner also has to think about the show’s Nielsen ratings, especially relative to other shows on the same network, and to Emmy attention and critical praise. 

New GirlThe New Girl airs on FOX on Tuesday’s at 8pm. The showrunners discussed changes in casting, beginning with the pilot episode. In the pilot, there was a character named Coach who was the third roommate. In the next episode, however, he was replaced by a new character named Winston. The show changed as a result.

For the AMC hit The Walking Dead, a previous showrunner, Glen Marazza, wanted to make some major changes to the show, by killing off the infant child of a main character. The network did not like that idea, nor did the show’s producers, and he was soon released from the show. The new showrunner Scott Gimple, has done a great job in pleasing the network, the producers and the audience, which continues to grow.

Walking Dead

Showrunners are literally running the show. They take care of all aspects of the show and work to make that show successful. What are your favorite shows, and what do you know about who’s actually running the show?

– Sammy Kaster

3 thoughts on “Who’s Running the Show? Television’s Writer-Producers

  1. Show runners are getting more and more attention in the media these days due to the popularity of shows and the transparency of the makings of each show. The two shows you mentioned are excellent examples of show runners being mentioned in the media on how their actions influence the show. Another example of a show runner in the media is NBC’s Community show runner, Dan Harmon. Since being re-hired for the shows 5th season, he has constantly been in the news for his negative comments on season four, the season he was not a part of.

  2. I found this interesting, as you never really think of a showrunner being a big part of the production of a show; People usually think it’s all the producer and the director. My favorite show personally is How I Met Your Mother and I found it interesting that in 2012, they actually had two showrunners, Carter Bays and Craig Thomas. I will be sad to these this series end this year!

  3. Until this article I’ve really had no education of show runners so I thought it was interesting to see the problem/solution behind the New Girl series. I watch this show on a regular basis and I thought it was always odd how they had Coach in the first couple episodes and then just dramatically- he disappeared. There really was no story line for his exit nor a farewell. I always found that a bit strange. But, now to see that the show runners had a decision to make involving this show- I would agree that the show changed dramatically- in a positive light. Overall, I think that the show runners are not given enough credit throughout the entire production process and I think you see that as you brought up, in the shows such as New Girl and How I met your Mother.

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