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Showrunner is a term originating in the United States television industry referring to the person who is responsible for the day-to-day operation of a television series. Such persons are usually credited as an executive producer.

The showrunner is at the opposite end of the staff hierarchy from runners, who are the most junior members of the production team and who function more like gofers, though sometimes showrunners are called runners for short. The term is also occasionally applied to people in the television industries of other countries.

The duties of a showrunner often combine those traditionally assigned to the writer, executive producer and script editor. In films, the director is in creative control of a production; in episodic television, the showrunner outranks the director.

Showrunner and fans

Sometimes TPTB (usually a group of people that includes more people than just the showrunner) and showrunner (a single person or a team of usually not more than two people) may refer to the same people, but usual the term TPTB may also refer to the production studio or executive(s) behind a showrunner. This is especially the case if the studio replaces a showrunner, a decision that usually does not sit well with fans because a change in the show runner usually almost every time leads to change in the quality of the product and the number of changes in showrunner may correlate with the decline of the quality (at least in the eyes of ans) of television show the more seasons are produced as fore exaple it could be witnessed for the show Dexter and other genre shows [1]. Some showrunners like Fred Freiberger were even considered as show killers, because shows were canceled after they came on board.

The popularity of a showrunner in the fandom may not only depend on the subjective quality of the written scripts and the satisfaction of the fans with story arcs and character development but also to what extend of the type and amount of engagement with the fandom and fans.

In some cases like for Bryan Fuller, Frank Spotnitz and Joss Whedon, the showrunner embraces all things fandom, in other cases like in Chris Carter there is almost no interaction with the fan base besides some appearances on Convention panels.

List of notable showrunners

Further Reading


  1. 11 Sci-Fi shows that floundered under replacement showrunners