For scripted television shows, the writing staff is paramount to its success. The writing team can range in sizes from four writers, all the way to twenty writers. Comedy shows, and talk shows often have bigger writers rooms than dramas. Here are the different levels of writers in TV:
SENIOR LEVEL WRITERS:
SHOWRUNNER: On the TV credits, the showrunner will receive an executive producer (EP) credit. Often times, he/she will be the last EP mentioned or he/she will get the “created by” credit. In TV world, the showrunner is king; unlike the film world where the director is king.
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER – These are usually upper level senior writers with lots of writing experience. They help the showrunner in running the writers’ room, and developing the series.
LOW LEVEL WRITERS:
STORY EDITOR – This title often given to the senior staff writer.
STAFF WRITER – Once the story is broken and laid out by the writers room and approved by the showrunner, often times the staff writer will be assigned to type up the first draft of the script.
WRITERS’ ASSISTANT – This person does not take part in the story creating process. Their job, for the most part, is to take notes while the writers are developing story, and conduct research for the writing staff.
WRITERS’ PA – Much like a production assistant, this person is in charge of small accounting issues, getting lunches and coffees for the writers along with other menial tasks.
Note: Non-writing producers will also receive these credits depending on their ownership of the project, seniority and level of involvement. For example, Jerry Bruckheimer is an executive producer of CSI even though he’s not a writer on the show.