Climbing The TV Writer Ladder


The path to being a produced TV writer is a peculiar one. Some writers can languish in the realms of writers assistant for years, while others can become a TV showrunner just as fast.

TV broadcast networks tend to have a more rigid structure, while the newer TV cable and streaming platforms are more fluid. They may not contain all the steps.

Here is a roughΒ pecking order of TV writing staff:

SHOWRUNNER / EXECUTIVE PRODUCER– is the CEO of a roughly $100 million operation. He/she hires writers, production staff, editors, deals with networks, advertisers and stakeholders. This is often the creator of the TV show, but also a senior writer/ supervising producer after the creator has moved onto other projects.

CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER – Is the Executive Producer’s wingman/woman.

SUPERVISING PRODUCER – Takes care of the daily production management of the TV show.

PRODUCER and CO-PRODUCER – Is responsible for a particular episode.

EXECUTIVE STORY EDITOR – Pitches stories to networks and deals with rewrites and story notes.

STORY EDITOR – Deals with writers to modify stories to the networks’ requirements.

STAFF WRITER – Is in the writers’ room and actually writes their assigned episodes.

WRITERS’ ASSISTANT – Types and distributes story notes arising in the writers room.

The best way for aspiring TV writers to break in is as a writers’ assistant. It is unlikely that a new writer will have their TV series commissioned without the backing of an established show runner. That said. this is Hollywood, so I relish the chance to be proven wrong.

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For in depth Film & TV script analysis visitΒ Script Firm.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. zscript says:

    Reblogged this on College and commented:
    Good to know!

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