many on the hollywood reporter’s list are synonymous with their show’s creation and vision. these days, most savvy tv fans know a showrunner is the person in charge of the daily operations of a show, having both producing and writing responsibilities. so where did the term come from, and when did people start using it? the rise of the term “showrunner” tracks with the rise of writers in television. throughout the ’50s and ’60s, studios controlled all facets of production, from conception onward. writers were mostly contract workers and did not generally participate in crafting the vision of the show. this system broke down in the late 1970s with the mary tyler moore show. at the same time, audiences began to expect richer characters and plotlines. as writers became more critical to keeping shows on air, they were given more production responsibilities.
soon, studios even allowed writers to create new shows—and then to stay on to shape the shows they envisioned. “you needed to know who the person to blame is, and who has the ultimate authority,” says alex epstein, author of crafty tv writing. variety started using “showrunner” to describe producers in 1992. the new york times explained showrunning to a mass audience in a 1995 profile of john wells, the then-showrunner of e.r. a skeptical publicist asked the times, “who are the viewers most interested in? some guy who types and sits in his office 80 hours a week, or the good-looking men and women who appear on their television sets every week?” as it turns out, for some, it was the former. there was worship in the air,” emily nussbaum has written, describing the rise of the “interactive showrunner” in new york magazine earlier this year. hence the proliferation of profiles and interviews of the people who call the shots behind the scenes. join slate plus to continue reading, and you’ll get unlimited access to all our work—and support slate’s independent journalism. slate is published by the slate group, a graham holdings company.
“showrunner” became natural shorthand for the person who literally runs the show. variety started using “showrunner” to describe producers in 1992. the new york times explained showrunning to a mass audience in a 1995 profile of john wells, the then-showrunner of e.r. a showrunner is the leading producer of a television series. they are the term showrunner was created to identify the producer who holds a producer’s credit, including the leading actors, who often did no more than say the writers’ lines. most posters responding to that thread agree they first started hearing the term in the past 10 to 20, showrunner salary, showrunner salary, showrunner vs director, showrunner synonym, animation showrunner. by the late 1980s, television had become a \u201cwriter\’s medium\u201d and the industry needed a title for the person who had the final say on creative decisions, differentiating them from the other producers. thus, the term showrunner was born, used by variety in 1992.
we find only a few scattered instances of the term (along with show-runner and show runner) from before 2000, and it did the term show runner was created to identify the producer who held ultimate management and creative authority for the he says: ‘i’m slightly embarrassed by the term showrunner, it seems the term didn’t exist but the job did. “when i started out with cardiac arrest in 1994, i probably had exactly the, list of showrunners, showrunner tv show, how to become a showrunner, showrunner jobs
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