Structure of TV Producing

Structure of TV Producing

I was asked about the structure of TV Producing and thought I would share –

The producers role in TV is different in many ways from film so let me focus on TV for this posting.


Executive Producer – creator/writer (Myself, Shonda Rhymes, David E Kelly, David Shore, JJ Abrams, Aaron Sorkin).

DUTIES – create show, write scripts (usually a minimum of 4 per season as well as rewrite all especially the first 2-3 years.) Over sees all aspects of development and production to set and maintain the style and look of the show from casting to hiring of directors, staff and administration, approving and signing off on all budgets. Meeting with the studio and network regarding notes (both writing and production). The development of all new stories and scripts (series arc or individual episodes).  Reviews all scripts and/or does all re write to maintain the original voice of the characters with in the series and well as the overall tone of the series. Over sees all post from editing and spotting to score, sound effects and final mix.

non writer EP (Jerry Brucheimer/ Ridley Scott/ Speilberg/ Marc Gordon) they have business clout, input when they want but not over the creator (or they shouldn’t), approvals for various creative aspects with the creator – (a film EP brings contacts – money – distribution and clout, he/she represent a business and marketing asset by the use of their celebrity/name value (brand value and name recognition) sometimes they may have the initial concept and will hire in the creator to co develop and then write it.

Co-Executive producers can be and usually are writers – write scripts (usually 4 scripts per season) over see development under EP in all areas of developing and writing episodic scripts and they often times will re write as much as EP as the EP moves to other shows.

Supervising Producers –  writing  – same as above to a lesser degree with their focus on what ever area of expertise they might bring to the table – research – technical advice (medicine, law, police work political experience in their past) Comes in to oversee casting, editing, music, mixes and various areas of post production.

Producers – writing and same as above but to a little lesser degree in the day to day responsibility> This is a great time to focus on a new skill set –  working with the editor, post responsibilities so you can really learn all the facts and what it takes to make a show.

Line producer – these are unusually non writing producers who handle the budget and day to day services needed to make the show gets what it needs when it needs it – over seeing everything from permits to sound stages, caterers, prop masters, stunt people and transportation, cameras and equipment and all the rest of the people that make a show happen – oh and make sure it stays on time and on budget. She or he works directly under the EP who has the final word.

Co-Producers  can be writers or head up a specific area of post production. As writer producers they work on the pre production developmental side and as non writer.producers on the post production side.

Hope this is a good glimpse into how I lay out a series team.