In the US TV industry, the writers have all the power. They run the shows, answering directly to the studios and networks. Not so much in the UK where the writer is kicked to one side and cut out of most decision making.
All that is changing with the rise of the streamers. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Peacock and the rest all want writers at the heart of their new shows. Because they’re buying a creative vision and they know the best person to fix problems or move everything forward is the creative visionary, right?
This weekend I attended the Introduction to Showrunning Seminar organised by the Writers Guild. The one the WGA runs in LA is attended by every writer getting their hands on a show for network, cable and streaming, but this is the first time one has been run in the UK.
Learned a massive amount. Some great speakers who knew the ins and outs of this hugely demanding, but equally rewarding job. The writer manages everything, from scripts to casting to hiring directors and DPs to the final edit.
The audience was packed with every TV writer you’ve ever heard of, which gives you some idea of how important showrunning is viewed.
And I can’t express how good it was to hear writers talking about taking control.