Television program creators

A television program creator is typically the person who pitches a new TV show idea and sees it through. There are numerous notable television program creators; this article includes a list of many of them.

Often, the creator is the writer of the pilot episode, or a director, or a producer. Sometimes it is a writer of the series' "bible", or writers' guidelines.[1] In the United States, a Writers Guild of America (WGA) screenwriting credit system governs credits. For example, the Writers Guild of America, West provides specifications for creator credits that govern its members.[2] The Producers Guild of America's corresponding code for producers defines "Executive Producer" and similar roles but not an explicit "Creator" role.[3][4]

Creator is a specific credit given explicitly in many shows. However, it has not always been a prominent, explicit credit. For example, Sydney Newman, the accepted creator of The Avengers (1961–69), was never given an explicit credit as creator; Newman never thought to ask for one.[5] The creator of a television show may retain rights to participate in profits, often to be paid by the production company as a percentage of fees that it receives from networks and distributors.[6] In 2014, for prime-time network TV shows, the WGA-required royalty to be paid to a writer with "created by" credit is approximately $1,000 per episode or higher.[7] Who merits creator credit is sometimes a matter of contention. In a 2013 legal case, a director sued a former writing partner for co-creator credit.[8]


Notable examples of creators include:

See also


  1. messageboard thread
  2. "Determining Separated Rights on a Television Series". Writers Guild of America.
  3. "Code of Credits – Television Series – Non-Fiction".
  4. "Code of Credits – Television Series – Comedy/Drama".
  5. In Newman's memoir, The Avengers and Me, Patrick Macnee interviewed Newman about his never receiving on-screen credit as creator of the series. Newman explained that he never sought on-screen credit on the series because during his previous tenure at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, such credits were not given, and he never thought to get one for The Avengers. Per: Patrick Macnee and Dave Rogers, The Avengers and Me (TV Books, 1998, ISBN 1575000598); republished in 2008 as The Avengers: The Inside Story (Titan Books, ISBN 1845766431)
  6. "Standard Deal Points When Selling Your Television Projects". TV Writers Vault. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  7. Dina Appleton. "The Ins and Outs of TV Series Writer Deals".
  8. C. Edwards (September 20, 2013). "Live-Action TV Director Sues "Johnny Test" Producer For Creator Credit". CartoonBrew.Com.
  9. British Film Institute screenonline database. Accessed 22 October 2007.
  10. "Estate of Play", The Guardian, 12 July 2008. Accessed 14 July 2008.
  11. "Thunderbirds". IMDB.
  12. "Supercar (TV series)". IMDB.
  13. Wiegand, David (February 16, 2014). "Star-Crossed so dopey, teens might not even like it". Observer-Reporter. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
  14. Nemeck, Larry (2003). Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-7434-5798-6.
  15. Erdmann, Terry J.; Block, Paula M. (2000-08-01). Deep Space Nine Companion. ISBN 978-0-671-50106-8.
  16. "Dispatch: Berman Celebrates Milestone". 2000-05-22. Retrieved 2009-04-11.
  17. 1 2 "Skins". IMDB.
  18. "Exclusive Interview: David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik, Creators of The Class". November 2, 2006. Retrieved January 26, 2011.
  19. "Biggest Sunday Ever on Showtime! Shameless, Episodes & Californication to Premiere January 9th". Showtime press release. September 22, 2010. Retrieved January 26, 2011.
  20. "Press Packs: Episodes". BBC. December 17, 2010. Retrieved January 26, 2011.
  21. "Dates". IMDB.
  22. 1 2 Denise Martin (2012-05-22). "Ryan Murphy Dissects Glee and American Horror Story, Addresses Fans and Critics".
  23. "The Simpsons". IMDB.
  24. Werts, Diane (September 18, 2006). "'The Class' gets an A for effort". Newsday. Retrieved October 18, 2007{{inconsistent citations}}
  25. International Movie Database:
  26. 1 2 "Modern Family". IMDB.
  27. ""Prisoner" Star Patrick McGoohan Dies". CBS News. January 14, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-15.
  28. "The Prisoner". IMDB.
  29. Note Sydney Newman apparently never received screen credit as the creator of The Avengers.
  30. "Doctor Who (1963–1989)". IMDB.
  31. "Bewitched". IMDB.
  32. Andreeva, Nellie. "ABC Greenlights 'S.H.I.E.L.D' Marvel Pilot, Joss Whedon To Co-Write & Possibly Direct". August 28, 2012. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  33. Kelly West (2010-12-18). "Interview: NBC's The Cape Creator Tom Wheeler".
  34. "Being Human". IMDB.
  35. Weiner, Allison Hope (May 23, 2005). "Case Closed". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 15, 2010.
  36. Bill Carter (August 11, 2003). "From Creator of 'C.S.I.,' Testimonials to Himself". New York Times.
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