Here's one of those Friday Questions worth an entire post. As always, if I can't find an appropriate picture I put up one of Natalie Wood.
I'd be interested to know what the difference is between the different
writing credits you see on a show; you have your staff writers, story
editors, creative consultants (which I think you described once in a
post as authorities doing basically nothing) etc etc , could they all be
Here's the short answer: they're all
bullshit. At least in half-hour comedy. There's actually only one
meaningful title and that is "Show runner" and it's also the only title you’ll never see.
if you created and ran a show you got a coveted Producer credit.
Everybody else had to settle for Story Editor or (for the newbies) Staff
Only producers were entitled to Emmys if their show won
Best Comedy. And along with the prestige (chicks dig dem producers),
the titles helped establish pay grades.
So everyone wanted in on that action. (And by everyone I mean ME.)
The show runners were promoted to the made-up title of Executive Producer and Story Editors became Producers.
writing staffs grew. More bogus titles were needed. That led to
Co-Executive Producer, Supervising Producer, Co-Producer, Executive
Story Editor, Executive Script Consultant.
And then there were
the punch-up guys, writers who helped out once or twice a week, usually
on re-write nights. The spiffy title of Creative Consultant was dreamed
up for them. But even they started getting into the act. There are
now Consulting Producers. Soon there will be Consulting Executive
Producers, Consulting Supervising Producers, Consulting Co-Supervising
Co-Executive Story Producers.
And now you also have the
non-writing producers and managers who take ersatz producer credits.
general, the Executive Producer is the show runner and his second in
command is the Co-Executive Producer. Everyone else is just on staff.
They do the same job they did when they were Script Captains or
Executive Story Wage Slaves.
The only exception to this producer
alphabet soup is the “Produced by” credit. That always goes to the
person who is in charge of the production, hiring crews, supervising
post production, and overseeing budgets. In other words, unlike
everyone else who has the credit, this person actually PRODUCES the