Trailer: The Brains Behind Lost, House, Fringe and Other Shows Dish in Documentary

Want a peek into the lives of television’s best showrunners? Better yet, are you ready to find out once and for all what exactly a showrunner is? Well, a new documentary has been made just for you and aptly titled Showrunners.

This buzzy new flick, set to bow in 2012, features in-depth interviews with countless executive producers and writers from some of television’s biggest shows, including Lost‘s Damon Lindelof, House‘s David Shore, and Sons of Anarchy‘s Kurt Sutter — to name a few.

Each showrunner (as they’re so affectionately called in the biz) shares an inside look at what it entails to successfully shepherd a series in today’s TV landscape, one that thrives on social media outreach and forever faces a possible one-and-done shot at adequate ratings.

Additional EPs taking part in the project include Fringe‘s Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman, One Tree Hill‘s Mark Schwahn, Battlestar Galactica‘s David Eick, Spartacus‘ Steven S. DeKnight and The Good Wife‘s Michelle King.

Take a peek at the rarely-seen glamorous life of a TV boss in the trailer below, and fill us in on your thoughts in the comments:

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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23 Comments
  1. Steven says:

    Given that I want to work in television this movie is a must see for me!

  2. Sourabh says:

    Is this the same one released a little earlier where towards the end when Lindelof says something about destiny, the ‘Showrunners’ title card pops up with the Lost sound effect?

  3. mawhi says:

    I love that the trailer uses music from The Social Network. I don’t know why. That’s all.

  4. Erin says:

    I want. To watch this. Right. Now. kthanks!

    I would watch anything that talks about LOST and involves an interview with Damon Lindelof. He is one of my favorite people ever and an awesome person to listen to. What would make it even better is if it was him and Carlton Cuse. Then it would be an epic interview.

  5. devon says:

    after watching this I can’t help but think that perhaps the reason that women aren’t seen positively enough in the media is that there are few women who are also show runners. it’s disheartening to say the least. I would almost even settle for someone who, for the most part, wrote women well and effectively, like Sorkin -his HBO show can’t come soon enough.

    • Lisa says:

      Agreed 100% Devon.

    • NickC says:

      IMO LOST and Lindelof wrote some of the Best female characters in tv history…just sayin..i get the rest of your point.

    • amelia says:

      Shonda Rhimes…enough said

      • Lex says:

        I love Shonda Rhimes even though I no longer watch her shows, because she’s a minority and a woman in such a competitive field. (Plus Hollywood is pretty racist.) She’s definitely the exception, not the rule, but it makes her a good role model. I also really respect that she’s fully dedicated to her storylines. I don’t even like her stories anymore, and she gets a lot of crap from the public for them (some of it deserved), but she’s always said again and again that she is making a show that she wants to watch, and that she’s telling the story the way she believes is right. A lot of the industry is so much about sacrificing what you believe is good storytelling for the sake of pleasing viewers, so I really respect her for that.

    • Becka says:

      It really says a lot that 1- they showed one white male showrunner after another- WITHOUT A SINGLE EXCEPTION!! – no apologies, no awareness, and then as if that’s not bad enough, all the first comments don’t mention it, ppl didn’t even pick up on that! I mean, is it THAT BAD in that field or is this some sort of in-your-face from the boys who wanna rule?

  6. Lex says:

    This seems pretty cool!

  7. Ella says:

    If only they could rope in Joss Whedon, my life would be complete.
    He and David Shore could bond over how FOX is full of [swearword]s

    • sashay says:

      Yes, I was thinking that Joss should be there. I hope that it has interviews with more than a few showrunners. This is definitely a movie that I want to see.

  8. Scarlett says:

    No female writers featured in this show?

  9. AJ says:

    lol, Mark Schwann WOULD know about scripts that aren’t great.

  10. D. Marie says:

    Don’t networks have confidentiality agreements on shows (and their staff) under contract? I mean, I’m all over seeing this because who wouldn’t want to know what goes on behind the scenes. But could this stir up potential lawsuits or something? I could see networks pitching a fit over this.

  11. Des Doyle says:

    Hi D.Marie,

    My name is Des Doyle and I’m the director of the Showrunners documentary. In relation to your point about networks “pitching a fit over this” the exact opposite has been the case for us. The networks for the shows we’ve covered to date have been very supportive of us because they understand what we’re trying to do.

    We are not trying to do anything salacious or negative about the business of making television. We are merely trying to document what it means to be a showrunner and what the job involves. We have actively sought out people from the networks to include in the film to give a balanced portrayal of the world of television production and apart from Michael Wright featured in the trailer we have other executives who we will be filming with.

    Nothing that anyone says in this film is any way defamatory or in any way involves divulging privileged information. That is not my aim or intent with this film. And I think the fact that we have received overwhelming support from so many people in the industry here is testament to that.

    • This is such a great concept for a documentary. I can see why it’s been well-received, and I love the shooting style, too. However, I did want to echo Devon’s sentiments above, regarding the lack of female representation in the film.

      Considering the number of people who probably just didn’t get back to you in time for production, I’m sure there were at least a couple women who were pursued for interviews. Based on your experience, what do you think are the prevailing reasons for so few female showrunners in the industry? Looking forward to your response. You can also hit me up on Twitter @WriterWarrior. :)

  12. Samantha says:

    Seriously, where can I watch/have this? Is there a DVD that I can buy? Theatres, tv, somewhere?

  13. Aimee says:

    I find the business of what goes behind the scenes of Fringe really interesting. The showrunners are also very open about connecting with fans of the show. It makes it more than just a television show; it’s an experience in art.

  14. Carrie says:

    I am in school now with plans to go to LA next year and I’m trying to be a showrunner! For years I have told people that’s what I want to do and then have to explain that it’s pretty much an EP/CP. I’m also a woman which I know will make it difficult (especially if I don’t want to follow in the high heeled footsteps of Shonda Rhimes.. not that she’s bad, but what about women making TV for more than just other women?) I’m so excited about this documentary. In 2012 I’ll be in LA so maybe I’ll get to meet these EP’s in person :-P And PS I agree about Joss not being there… I feel like he has a lot to say usually :-P

  15. John says:

    I’m sick of everything being compared to lost, it’s not the second coming of tv shows

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