What Does a Television Producer Do?

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If you read the credits before or after an episode of your favorite television show, you may notice that a lot of the people who work on the program have the word “producer” as part of their job titles. You may wonder what exactly that means. When you see someone like David Guilllod listed as the producer on a television show, it usually means that the individual performed an overseeing role over the production, made financial decisions, and/or contributed to writing content. The role of a producer can vary depending on the type of program. For example, the producer duties on a fictional program will be somewhat different from what they would be on a news program, reality show, etc.

Hierarchy of Television Producers

There are usually many different producers credited on each television episode, and each has unique duties. For example, a post-production producer is in charge of matters like dubbing or editing that take place after primary photography has wrapped. A line producer handles logistics and hires production staff, while someone who is credited merely as “producer” has probably been heavily involved in the writing process.

The producers on a television program are arranged in a hierarchy, with each ascending level having more responsibility. The two top levels of this arrangement are the executive producer and the co-executive producer. The executive producer, also known as the showrunner, is the ultimate authority. If television production were analogous to a corporation, the executive producer would be the CEO, while the co-executive producer performs a function similar to that of the chief operating officer of a corporation.

Duties of Television Producers

Television producers also have different duties based on the stage a production is in. For example, in the early stages, a producer may be engaged in securing rights to creative works, such as books, for adaptation, and/or seeking project ideas and scripts. A producer is frequently responsible for hiring writers, directors, onscreen talent, and crew.

Once a show goes into production, it often falls to the producer to supervise the entire project. This means organizing production schedules, holding regular meetings with director(s), being involved in the writing process, and ensuring that the production complies with any applicable health and safety regulations.

Finally, a television producer often has financial duties as well. First, it is necessary to secure funding for a project, and subsequently to keep the production on budget.

Qualities of a successful television producer include creativity, mathematical aptitude, and strong organizational skills.

Talent as Television Producers

“Talent” refers to people involved in the creative process of making a television show. Actors are examples of on-screen talent, and writers are examples of off-screen talent. Each may also take on a producing credit. An actor that also holds a producer credit gains a great deal of influence over the creative process. However, when a writer holds a producer credit, it is more often than not a technicality due to restrictions on screenwriting credits imposed by the Writers Guild of America. If this is the case, the credit “produced by” may be used to differentiate between the person who performed producer duties in a traditional sense and the writer credited as producer.

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