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Showrunner

Showrunner is an informal term for a person who both runs the day-to-day operations of a television show and guides the show creatively. Showrunners are often credited as executive producers, though they tend to have more authority than the other credited executive producers (and most shows have several executive producers performing different duties).

A showrunner might write and direct some episodes of the show, but most showrunner-run shows employ additional writers and directors to help bring the showrunner’s vision to life.  The Sopranos creator and showrunner David Chase, for example, was credited as writer on around 30 of the show’s 86 episodes and as director on only two (the first and the last), but he was responsible for the show’s tone and trajectory throughout its run.

Showrunner is a new word. We find only a few scattered instances of the term (along with show-runner and show runner) from before 2000, and it did not become prevalent until the late 00s. The one-word, unhyphenated form is even newer, having first made its way into editorially meticulous publications only around 2010.


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Spell-check still says showrunner is wrong (at least, ours does). Don’t listen to it.

Examples

That’s the theory that showrunner Scott Buck has been floating today in his post-finale interviews. [AV Club]

Created by first-time showrunner April Blair, … the hourlong series centers on stylish high school outsider Jane Quimby. [Hollywood Reporter]

To produce the series, the network paired Mr. Hornsby with Adam Chase, a showrunner who worked on “Friends” for several seasons. [New York Times]

It could have long ago fallen off its initial promise, but showrunner extraordinaire Vince Gilligan would never let that happen. [Variety]

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