Executive Producer - How much influence

Discussion in 'Now Playing - TV Show Talk' started by Steveknj, Jan 11, 2011.

  1. Steveknj

    Steveknj Lost in New Joisey TCF Club

    58,434
    5,274
    Mar 10, 2003
    New Jersey

    Advertisements

    So I see quite a bit of this on TV (and movies):

    "From the Executive Producer of <show> comes <new show name>"

    So how much influence does an executive producer actually have on a show? I would think that an EP (I'm too lazy to keep typing executive producer :) ) would look for shows that will make him money, not necessarily shows that are similarly themed to the point that I would like everything an EP might produce. Now, if it's from the CREATORS of a show I like, or the writing team, then I could see that influencing my decision on what I might watch. Jerry Bruckheimer is a perfect example. He's EP of shows like CSI, but he's also EP of The Amazing Race....two completely different types of shows. I like TAR but can't stand CSI. So why would I even care that Bruckheimer is the EP of either of him enough for it to influence my decision to watch something he is involved in?

    I think it's just an advertising gimmick.
     
  2. Frylock

    Frylock Well-Known Member

    7,621
    411
    Feb 13, 2002
    Just West...
    Chuck Lorre posted a vanity card about what the different titles mean.
     
  3. cheesesteak

    cheesesteak Meh. TCF Club

    39,087
    6,181
    Jul 24, 2003
    15 mins...
    I've watched shows that list about twelve different flavors of producers in the credits.

    I watch an old show like Mission: Impossible and it just lists a creator, a producer, a director and a writer in the credits.
     
  4. Steveknj

    Steveknj Lost in New Joisey TCF Club

    58,434
    5,274
    Mar 10, 2003
    New Jersey
    But why would it matter to ME who the EP is or anyone else, except perhaps the actors and writers of the show. This just seems a gimmick to me by the networks and studios to link something "familiar" to a new show or movie. It's not like the EP created the premise of the show or even had a whole lot to do with it. I think one of the perfect examples might be Undercovers. I think JJ Abrams was the EP for this, but really the show had very little to do with other shows he did. I "think" with Lost and Fringe, he actually had something to do with the creation of those shows. I'm not sure he did with Undercovers.
     
  5. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

    25,662
    673
    Apr 9, 2001
    sunnyvale

    Advertisements

    [citation given]

    http://www.chucklorre.com/index-2hm.php?p=207
     
  6. JYoung

    JYoung Series 3

    31,447
    1,478
    Jan 16, 2002
    Los Angeles
    It really depends in what capacity they are getting an Executive Producer credit.

    An Executive Producer can be the guy who runs the writing room (informally called "the showrunner") and defines how the stories shape up and the direction the series will take (Damon Lindelof, Carleton Cuse, Joss Whedon, Michael Pillar).

    He (or she) can also be the guy that's in charge of the shooting schedules, production budgets, contracts, supplies, etc (Rick Berman).

    They can be the one that created enough of the show or hold the rights (Fran and Kaz Kuzui) or simply front the money through their production company (sometimes Abrahms or Sandra Bullock or Hugh Jackman).

    Or they can be an actor who gets the title as an additional perk or some extra salary (Tom Welling).

    The key is to find out who the showrunner is and what he's worked on before.
     
  7. LoadStar

    LoadStar LOAD"*",8,1

    40,571
    3,241
    Jul 24, 2001
    Milwaukee, WI
    I don't think it's completely a gimmick. Most of the time, knowing a show's EP does give you at least a basic level of expectations going in, and generally you would be right. For example: if I were to say "by executive producer Shonda Rhimes" you would generally expect a series much like "Grey's Anatomy," and in the case of the new show "Off The Map," you'd be right.

    I think even with Bruckheimer, when he is the EP on the show, you do get a very similar production style, even if the type of show is completely different. As Wikipedia puts it, "Jerry Bruckheimer is the creator of a method of television production dubbed 'The Bruckheimer Method'. In this method of production seemingly boring shots can be turned into full action and suspense with the use of overly dramatic music and fast cuts and camera moves." It's something that holds true whether it's his reality stuff or his scripted television, or even many of his movies.

    I would liken it a lot to going to a franchised restaurant. You might not be familiar with that specific location or who runs it, but because of the brand name, you have a basic level of expectation going in. Occasionally you'll find a bad location, but overall most of the locations will be pretty similar.
     
  8. LoadStar

    LoadStar LOAD"*",8,1

    40,571
    3,241
    Jul 24, 2001
    Milwaukee, WI
    Excellent points, all.

    My only rebuttal is that if a show is actively promoting who the executive producer is, it's generally going to fall under the first of those categories. I don't think a network would ever promote a series' EP if it's only an actor perk, a rights issue, or something like that.
     
  9. jschuur

    jschuur TV-holic, improving

    2,278
    0
    Nov 27, 2002
    London, UK
    I think the title you're looking for is the 'show runner'. They may often be the executive producer, but for shows like ER, with 3 screens full of them, there'll still only be one show runner (although that name wonÂ’t be on the credits).
     
  10. JYoung

    JYoung Series 3

    31,447
    1,478
    Jan 16, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Most of the time I would agree.
    But I seem to remember that when the George Lopez Show first went on the air, there was some hype that Sandra Bullock was an executive producer.
     
  11. Rob Helmerichs

    Rob Helmerichs I am Groot! TCF Club

    58,471
    15,039
    Oct 17, 2000
    Minneapolis
    Yeah, the way I like to describe it is that the Executive Producer is the guy who came up with the idea, spent years developing it, worked his butt off to land a production deal, and now spends 90 hours a week supervising every aspect of the production; or the guy who played golf with that guy one Sunday and introduced him to somebody at the network; or somebody in between.

    In other words, it means so many things that it really doesn't end up meaning anything.
     
  12. Anubys

    Anubys All About Footwork

    30,577
    1,512
    Jul 16, 2004
    Fairfax...
    to expand on that: Chuck Lorre is the EP of 2 shows, I think (big bang and 2.5 men) while David Arquette (not sure about the spelling) is an EP of Cougar Town...

    I doubt David has even been on the set of Cougar Town...
     
  13. JYoung

    JYoung Series 3

    31,447
    1,478
    Jan 16, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I file that under "star perk" in that he was married to the star.

    But Glen A. Larson got an Executive Producer credit for the 2010 version of "Knight Rider" and I'm pretty sure he never even spent 10 seconds working on that show.

    But since he created the original version, he got the credit and a check for every episode.

    (He also gets a check for every new Battlestar Galactica, Caprica, and Blood and Chrome episode as he created the original.)
     
  14. That Don Guy

    That Don Guy Now with more GB

    3,462
    118
    Mar 13, 2003
    Benicia, CA
    The organization that gives out the Emmy awards actually had to add a rule saying that a producer with a "vanity" credit who does not have anything to do with the production of the show does not get an Emmy if the show wins for Comedy/Drama Series.

    Also, there was the "recreation of the last scene from Titanic" (that's how the Creative Arts MC put it) one year when The Simpsons won the Animated Program Emmy, as each episode has something like 20 producers, all of which really do have something to do with the show (mainly, they're staff writers, each of which "tweaks" each script), after which the Emmy types added another rule for animated shows: "no more than 14 producers, 3 writers, and 4 directors" are eligible per program.

    -- Don
     
  15. DevdogAZ

    DevdogAZ Give 'em Hell, Devils

    59,063
    4,497
    Apr 16, 2003
    Arizona
    Lorre is currently the EP of three shows. Mike and Molly is also his. However, I would imagine that he doesn't have a ton of day-to-day involvment in any of them any more. They're all very successful and he's wildly rich, so he probably has people who run stuff for him and he just shows up to each set on occassion.

    As for David Arquette, I'm sure he was very familiar with the set of Cougar Town last year when he and Courteney were still together, but he's probably persona non grata at this point.
     
  16. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

    25,662
    673
    Apr 9, 2001
    sunnyvale
    ..and if he was, he isn't anymore!!!
     
  17. Steveknj

    Steveknj Lost in New Joisey TCF Club

    58,434
    5,274
    Mar 10, 2003
    New Jersey
    So really, the EP could be anything. So how, as the discerning viewer are we supposed to know that so and so actually had input into the show or it's just a vanity thing that the studio is using to drum up viewers? If I like a JJ Abrams produced show, but in reality he has nothing to do with it, then I would feel like I've been duped. Of course that's what 75&#37; of advertising is anyway, so I should expect nothing different. I'm thinking....on a show where there are MANY EPs, that the name ones probably have nothing to do with the day to day activities, and probably very little to do with it's creation except perhaps kick in some bucks. To me, it just seems the term EP is just thrown around too loosely.

    I guess it's no different than a corporation I used to work for that had something like 2000 VPs, most of whom were really lower and middle management types.
     
  18. DevdogAZ

    DevdogAZ Give 'em Hell, Devils

    59,063
    4,497
    Apr 16, 2003
    Arizona
    Here's a perfect example from a column yesterday written by Alan Sepinwall:

    JJ Abrams is often involved in these shows early on. His name opens doors and helps get things greenlighted. But rarely does he stick around and work on the show after that. IIRC, he didn't have anything to do with LOST after the pilot episode, but his name was in the credits for every episode.

    As for the ads that the networks try to cram down our throats, touting a new show from the EP of some other show, don't let the network marketing people sway you. If you think you might be interested in a show, find an early review from a critic you trust and see what they have to say. Or go ahead and watch the first hour and decide for yourself. But don't believe any of the spin about "from the creator of" or anything like that. Every show is different (for good reason), so you have to evaluate each show on its own merits.
     
  19. MikeAndrews

    MikeAndrews Registered abuser

    14,222
    2
    Jan 17, 2002
    Northern...
    Elmore Leonard is listed as Executive Producer of "Justified" and several of the movies based on his novels. He said he doesn't do anything - Maybe visit the set once and say hello.
     
  20. Steveknj

    Steveknj Lost in New Joisey TCF Club

    58,434
    5,274
    Mar 10, 2003
    New Jersey
    Oh, I don't, I just find them incredibly annoying, especially when the show really has nothing to do with other stuff that the person has done. It insults my intelligence as viewer.
     

Share This Page

spam firewall

Advertisements