Within the development and production of a TV show or miniseries, television producers perform a variety of important roles. While producers in film are usually studio executives who oversee the business side of making and distributing a film, television producers are usually much more involved with their show, and may even be the show’s creator or head writer.
Television, unlike film, is a fluid and fast-paced medium that tries to make the most of its talented employees. Television producers typically have a diverse range of experience, training, and expertise, and they may have multiple credits on a show. Some may have studied television or film production in college, while others may have started as assistants and worked their way up through the ranks of the studio world, using their networking skills to propel them to higher levels of responsibility.
An executive TV producer is frequently the show’s creator. As the creator of the series’ characters, plot, and future goals, the writer is given a great deal of power in the development and production process. Television producers who are also creators are frequently involved in casting the actors and selecting the crew for their shows. They’re also in charge of hiring new writers and assigning episode assignments, and they usually run the writers room.
On TV shows, where budget is a constant concern, line producers are extremely valuable. The primary responsibility of a line producer is to determine the cost of each show moment. If a writer writes, “Joe jumps through a window,” the line producer will figure out how much a stunt double costs, what protective gear is required, and how much time and money it will take to shoot the scene. While their work is demanding, producers who focus on the business side rather than the creative side may find it to be a lot of fun. Shows could easily go over budget every week if they didn’t have line producers.
Consulting producers are usually studio executives who don’t work on the show full-time but are credited for assisting in a critical, if not always consistent, capacity. Consulting producers can assist with everything from story development to casting to raising funds for a new show. A consulting producer is usually well-known within the studio and may work full-time on their own show, but they have expertise in a field that another series requires.
Unlike film, which is regarded as a director’s medium, television places a great deal of power in the hands of its writers. As television producers, writers are afforded a level of autonomy and protection that is uncommon in the film industry. Television was regarded as a poor substitute for film for much of the late twentieth century, and filmmakers mocked it. Television, on the other hand, has proven to be a realm of innovative free speech and exciting ideas, and is now regarded as an art form on par with traditional film. Many experts believe that becoming a television producer is the most rewarding job in the industry for creative people looking to exercise their talent and abilities.