Television shows are led by a panel of producers. In scripted television, they are usually the writers. The person in charge of a TV show is called a showrunner, a job function of an executive producer who ultimately runs the show. Most showrunners have usually either created or developed the series, and in scripted TV, they are usually the head writer, another job function of an executive producer. Most producers attend writing team meetings but may have other roles on the show unrelated to writing scripts.
Below I provided a glossary of job functions used in television production.
Created By: The creator develops the original characters and initial story lines. They nearly always write the pilot episode of a series and usually take over as a showrunner and/or head writer while some creators no longer run the show and may have their production company produce it.
Developed By: Even if someone has developed a show or further conceived it from an original adaptation, this person usually does not receive such a title unless they have played a large part in further developing the characters and storyline. In most cases, the series developer is also the showrunner and head writer.
Executive Producer (EP): This title refers to various positions brought about by a television producer. They are either a distributor, showrunner, head writer, or an experienced producer on the writing team who have since moved up to a more authoritative role.
Showrunner (also known as Show runner): A job function of an executive producer, they are the series’ production leader. They put together a show, hire and fire crew and cast members, run the writer’s room, and collaborate with network executives. Showrunners are also on the set early to tell the director how they want each scene to be filmed before editing story-lines in the writer’s room. Some showrunners may supervise the director throughout most of its shooting.
Head Writer: A job function of an executive producer, they are usually, but not always, showrunners. They write the first and last episode of each season as well as the most vital ones. Head writers also assist showrunners in editing story-lines for different scripts alongside the other writers and producers.
Distributor: A job function of an executive producer, they may or may not be showrunners. They run a production company that produces the show and handle all of the marketing and financial budgets with the network and production managers.
Co-Executive Producer: This title refers to a crew member who attends writing team meetings and usually write scripts for episodes assigned by showrunner(s). They are second in command to the EPs and often times have moved up the hierarchy.
Supervising Producer/Producer/Co-Producer: These titles refers to a crew member’s level of experience on the writing team. They usually write episodes assigned by the showrunner(s).
Executive in Charge of Production (EIC): In charge of the production managers, they determine the financial budget for each episode and report to the showrunner and other EPs.
Unit Production Manager (UPM): They are second in command to the EIC and usually signs the budget contract. They report to the EIC, showrunner and other EPs.
Line Producer: They share similar roles to the EIC and UPM and are part of the production management team, determining budgets and collaborating with the showrunner and other EPs. They usually obtain the credit Produced By as well.
Post-Production Supervisor: They are the chief in command of the editorial team.
Produced By: Not to be confused with a producer, they are usually unaffiliated with the writing team; they handle physical facilities on-set, i.e., a rope scene.
Written By: The producer on the writing team who was assigned by the showrunner(s) to write the episode.
Directed By: The person who directed the episode assigned by the showrunner(s).
Executive Story Editor/Story Editor: Crew on the writing team who have not yet received a producer title. They usually write episodes assigned by the showrunner(s).
Staff Writer: Crew on the writing team who usually just started writing for television. They usually write episodes assigned by the showrunner(s).
Production Assistant (P.A.): They are staff entering into the business who just started working for a television show and are assistants to crew heads. They usually receive the credit “Assistant to…”.
For more information on television production or to register your own written television script, see the Writers Guild of America (WGA) website here: http://www.wga.org/.