Tip #1100: What is a Showrunner?

… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1100: What is a Showrunner?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The showrunner is the lead producer of a show from concept to marketing.

(Image courtesy of Vince Gilligan.)

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This article, written by Jourdan Aldredge, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This is a summary.

Take a look at the day-to-day of the all-important television or streaming program showrunner. What can you can learn from this multifaceted role? The show-runner is the lead producer on a film or video project who oversees every element of the project’s creation, from the initial pitch to the final edits and marketing.

Jourdan divides the roles of a showrunner into five categories — development, pre-production, production, post-production, and marketing. Let’s take a look at each.

  • Development: While not always the case, more often than not a showrunner is the one who comes up with the initial idea or inspiration for a program and begins the process of pitching it around and fleshing it out. Whether it’s to Hollywood producers, studio heads, or local television, the showrunner spends months — if not years — in development just trying to get the concept green-lit.
  • Pre-Production: Once the project is tapped to move forward, the showrunner begins to put together a core crew — including writers, director(s), cast and crew, and a group of fellow producers that will oversee everything from budgets to contracts to scripts and shooting schedules.
  • Production: Again, not every showrunner’s role will be the same. Some might be more hands off on the actual production, but there are plenty of examples of showrunners who also serve as directors or remain close to the day to day of production. With so much invested already, a showrunner makes sure production goes as smoothly — and correctly — as possible.
  • Post-Production: Depending on how a program is being shot and released, the post-production process could overlap with production. This requires a steady hand, as the showrunner guides individual episodes along toward broadcast/release while still keeping an eye on the rest of the season. Additionally, a showrunner’s post-production duties involve managing specialists like narrative editors and color experts while keeping tabs on things like sound design and graphics/VFX.
  • Marketing: Finally, the role of a showrunner doesn’t end once a program goes live. Instead, it takes on a new life of its own, as a showrunner would be highly invested in making sure the program is favorably reviewed and heavily marketed in order to finds its audience. From viral campaigns to television spots, a showrunner would work with their marketing team to do everything they can to help their show take off.


The article, linked above has several videos with showrunners talking about their work, as well as a variety of links that go deeper into this subject.

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