I was just interviewed by SLATE for an article about the origins of the word "showrunner." Google Books traces the word back to 1991, and my friend Lee Goldberg things it goes back to at least 1988. But it doesn't seem to go back any further than that. Nor does anyone seem to have consciously coined it.
It's a funny title, because it isn't a credit. You don't get a "showrunner" credit, you get an exec producer credit, and so do some other people who aren't the showrunner. That's like Head Writer, for which the actual credit can be anything from Exec Story Editor to Supervising Producer.
Does anyone know any lore about the origins of "showrunner"?
Labels: glossary, showrunner
I agree with Lee that it goes back at least to 1988; I know we used it to refer to the Showrunner on Jake & The Fatman when I was there in 1990 and it wasn't a brand new term then. It makes sense that it would take a few years to show up in a book.
By the way, in 1993 I coined the term Script Coordinator to describe the job I was doing, and found it propagated so quickly that I wondered if it had in fact already been coined -- got any info on the first use of that title?
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