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Old 08-11-2020, 05:35 AM   #1
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Question Who are the very worst TV showrunners ever

For those who don't exactly know what a showrunner is, they are people who have overall creative authority and management responsibility for a television program.

More specifically, a showrunner is usually the creator and/or executive producer of a television series responsible for the day-to-day running of the creative side (often the writers' room) of the production. This also may include things like casting, set and costume approval, table reads, run-thrus, re-writes, etc.

With that out of the way, who are the worst television heads in your opinion?
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Old 08-11-2020, 11:35 AM   #2
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Before I give you my list of the worst showrunners of all time, I think it's only fair that I should also include the best, although back in the 50s and 60s when they were at their peak, showrunners went by different names. I'm still going to include them because I feel they deserve to be recognized no matter what they were called or how you choose to refer to them.


THE BEST

1. Sheldon Leonard/Danny Thomas - Make Room For Daddy, The Andy Griffith Show, Dick Van Dyke Show, Gomer Pyle USMC, I Spy

2. Garry Marshall - The Odd Couple, Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Mork & Mindy.

3. Paul Henning - The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, Petticoat Junction

4. Chuck Lorre - The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, Young Sheldon, Mom, Dharma and Greg


The Worst

1. Jeff Franklin - Full House, Fuller House, Hangin' With Mr Cooper, Malcolm and Eddie

2. Miller/Boyett - Family Matters, Full House, Fuller House, Hogan Family, Perfect Strangers, Step By Step, Meego, Two of a Kind
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Old 08-11-2020, 10:10 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Sal View Post
Before I give you my list of the worst showrunners of all time, I think it's only fair that I should also include the best, although back in the 50s and 60s when they were at their peak, showrunners went by different names. I'm still going to include them because I feel they deserve to be recognized no matter what they were called or how you choose to refer to them.


THE BEST

1. Sheldon Leonard/Danny Thomas - Make Room For Daddy, The Andy Griffith Show, Dick Van Dyke Show, Gomer Pyle USMC, I Spy

2. Garry Marshall - The Odd Couple, Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Mork & Mindy.

3. Paul Henning - The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, Petticoat Junction

4. Chuck Lorre - The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, Young Sheldon, Mom, Dharma and Greg
While Sheldon Leonard and Danny Thomas were executive producers on all of those shows mentioned in #1 above, they weren’t the showrunners for some of them. Aaron Ruben was the showrunner for the B&W seasons of “Andy Griffith” and for “Gomer Pyle”. Bob Ross was the showrunner for the color years of “Andy Griffith”. Carl Reiner was the showrunner for “Dick Van Dyke”.

Paul Henning was the executive producer of “Green Acres”, but Jay Sommers was the showrunner.
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Old 08-12-2020, 12:05 AM   #4
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I think Carsey-Werner (Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner) may be up there in the worst category; if only for giving their marquee stars way too much influence and power on-set and allowing terrible and abusive behavior from those stars to go unchecked. Between Cybill Shepherd reportedly being a witch to her co-stars to Roseanne reportedly being a tyrant and Brett Butler's well documented issues on-set, they seemed to either have no control over their sets or just blatantly ignored the problems on-set.
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Old 08-12-2020, 02:39 AM   #5
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I agree with Sal: Jeff Franklin and Miller-Boyett were horrible. When you look at their shows there's a common thread to most or even all of them: the continuity was terrible, the writing was not always great, and major cast members are written out, never to be seen or heard from again.
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Old 08-12-2020, 02:43 AM   #6
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I think Carsey-Werner (Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner) may be up there in the worst category; if only for giving their marquee stars way too much influence and power on-set and allowing terrible and abusive behavior from those stars to go unchecked. Between Cybill Shepherd reportedly being a witch to her co-stars to Roseanne reportedly being a tyrant and Brett Butler's well documented issues on-set, they seemed to either have no control over their sets or just blatantly ignored the problems on-set.
In retrospect, there does seem to be that common problem with the Carsey-Warner shows.

I have heard that Roseanne so despised Marcy Carsey and the feeling was so mutual that Carsey permanently vacated the set, and Roseanne still modeled the detestable character of neighbor "Kathy Bowman" on Carsey.
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Old 08-15-2020, 06:37 AM   #7
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Best and Worst Showrunner Switches

11 Sci-Fi shows that floundered under replacement showrunners
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Old 08-15-2020, 10:46 AM   #8
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Good point on Carsey-Werner. They just didn’t care, as long as the money kept rolling in. They weren’t the showrunners of their series, though. They funded the series, developed the concepts, and matched writer/producers with actors, and had executive producer credits. But they were weren’t credited as creators of their series, and they generally delegated showrunning duties to the series creators. So you had Matt Williams as showrunner of Roseanne, Chuck Lorre as showrunner of Grace Under Fire and Cybill, and so on.

Grace Under Fire had five showrunners in five seasons - and CW always backed Brett Butler whenever there was a dispute between actor and showrunner. Roseanne also went through showrunners quickly, with showrunner changes in the middle of season 1 and at the beginning of seasons 3, 5, 6, 8, and 9.

It may seem like I’m splitting hairs, but a showrunner is a producer with specific duties - running the whole show; supervising the writers; hiring the actors; budgetary responsibility, etc. There may be multiple executive producers per series but not all are showrunners - some have some creative input and some may just have a financial interest because they own the production company. Maybe this thread would be better titled as “worst producers”.

Last edited by TV Guy; 08-16-2020 at 11:39 AM.
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Old 08-21-2020, 01:18 AM   #10
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I think that it's time to add Greg Spottiswoode to the list:
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Five of seven writers from the first season of the CBS legal drama have departed -- three of whom were the show's three highest-ranking writers of color -- over their disputes with showrunner Greg Spottiswood over the show's handling of race and gender. "All Rise is loosely based on a 2005 nonfiction book, Courtroom 302, about a white male judge in Cook County, Ill," explains The New York Times' Nicole Sperling. " In an effort to make it of the moment, Mr. Spottiswood, a white writer-producer, changed the main character to a Black woman (played by Simone Missick). For CBS, a network that had been criticized for a prime-time lineup that lacked diversity, All Rise was a key part of a new wave of programming meant to better reflect the American population." Shernold Edwards, a Black woman who has been a writer-producer on Fox’s Sleepy Hollow and other shows, said she had left All Rise in November after disagreements with Spottiswood. “We had to do so much behind the scenes to keep these scripts from being racist and offensive,” she told Sperling. Former Revenge showrunner Sunil Nayer, who is Indian-American, also said he left after disputes with Spottiswood. Nayer complained that All Rise's storylines didn't accurately reflect Black people and other people of color. Nayar, who was an executive producer on All Rise, said Spottiswood seemed more interested in having him make public appearances rather than give him duties that lived up to his job title. “It became clear to me, when I left the show, that I was only there because I’m the brown guy,” Nayar said. “Greg hired me to be his brown guy.” Warner Bros. said in a statement that Spottiswood, from the beginning, had “insisted on having a co-show runner to serve as a trusted and valued partner to promote diverse storytelling with the series.” adding: “The truth is, the intended partnership we all hoped for did not materialize.” Following complaints, Warner Bros.' human resource department reviewed Spottiswood's leadership and decided to keep him and add a Black female corporate coach to advise him. “When it appeared the writers’ room was struggling to function as effectively as it should, I recognized that I needed to change how I was working,” Spottiswood said in a statement. “I voluntarily sought management training and leadership coaching.” Meanwhile, while CBS had no comment, Warner Bros. said in a statement: “As soon as we became aware of concerns in the ‘All Rise’ writers’ room, we took steps to conduct a review of the work environment. While the studio identified areas for improvement, the findings did not reveal conduct that would warrant removing series creator Greg Spottiswood from the executive producer role.”
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Old 08-23-2020, 06:14 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by factsoflife View Post
I think Carsey-Werner (Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner) may be up there in the worst category; if only for giving their marquee stars way too much influence and power on-set and allowing terrible and abusive behavior from those stars to go unchecked. Between Cybill Shepherd reportedly being a witch to her co-stars to Roseanne reportedly being a tyrant and Brett Butler's well documented issues on-set, they seemed to either have no control over their sets or just blatantly ignored the problems on-set.
Don't forget that Carsey-Werner also helped produce The Cosby Show, if we're going to talk about problematic sitcom stars.
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Old 08-23-2020, 06:24 AM   #12
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I agree with Sal: Jeff Franklin and Miller-Boyett were horrible. When you look at their shows there's a common thread to most or even all of them: the continuity was terrible, the writing was not always great, and major cast members are written out, never to be seen or heard from again.
On Full House alone, Jesse's surname went from Cochran to Katsopolis, they changed mothers/parents, he graduated school with Erika Eleniak and then he's taking night school so he can graduate in later seasons, etc. And to borrow from TV Tropes:
Quote:
Season Five's 1/3rd mark sees the birth of Nicky and Alexander, Becky's twins and the joint Cousin Oliver of the series. The remainder of the season, and a chunk of Six, has quite a few copied-and-pasted plots from Season One, when Michelle was a newborn baby. In addition, the writers' complete lack of interest in continuity becomes clear with a two-part Season Finale in which Jesse is struggling to get a recording contract and doubting his skills as a musician...despite the fourth season finale being about him getting a contract in the first place!
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Old 08-24-2020, 04:41 AM   #13
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Reading this recent Reddit post, I'm reminded of David Peckinpah and the job that he did on Sliders after taking over for creator Tracy Torme come the third season.

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Throughout Season 3, the SLIDERS confronted horror movie villains, dragons, Mad Max photocopies, intelligent talking flames and deathtraps. David Peckinpah commissioned these episodes. The average Season 3 script was an unedited, unrefined mess with characters not being given names or introductions ("Rules of the Game"), nonsensical exposition ("The Dream Masters"), clumsily considered world-building ("Electric Twister Acid Test"), witless exposition (Elston Diggs), and a startling lack of imagination and ideas ("Desert Storm") -- all of which were David Peckinpah's responsibility as showrunner.

Peckinpah's stewardship of SLIDERS was so lax that poor safety standards got actor Ken Steadman killed on the set of "Desert Storm." Peckinpah's oversight of SLIDERS was so vacant that the first 13 episodes overspent the season-long budget so badly that the back nine were operating under severe cost restrictions. In Season 4, Peckinpah used SLIDERS to express violent sexual fantasies towards Sabrina Lloyd and curtailed a season-long arc in order to annoy his story editor, Marc Scott Zicree. In Season 5, Peckinpah bought a pitch for "Easy Slider" in order to give his mistress (not his wife) stuntwork for an episode.

David Peckinpah clearly did not care about SLIDERS and was grossly incompetent.
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Old 08-24-2020, 08:48 AM   #14
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Reading this recent Reddit post, I'm reminded of David Peckinpah and the job that he did on Sliders after taking over for creator Tracy Torme come the third season.
I LOVE SLiders but I HATE what David Peckinah did with the series. He was someone who simply didn't care about the show he was running. And it showed.
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Old 08-24-2020, 02:48 PM   #15
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On what shows did the lead actor or actress also serve as show runner?
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