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TV Writing Job Titles -- What are they and what do they mean?

Ever watch the credits over your favorite TV show? You see things like Story Editor, Co-Executive Producer, Staff Writer, right? What the hell do those things mean?

The answer is... nothing.

There is a hierarchy in the TV writers' room going from Staff Writer at the bottom to Executive Producer at the top. And there are a lot of positions along the way.

And titles do mean wildly different incomes and status for the writer.

But, other than the showrunner, who is usually the Executive Producer, in terms of your role and duties, they don't really mean anything.

I'll dive in a little deeper, but first let's go through what the TV writing job titles are...

TV Writing Job Titles

From the bottom on up to the top, this is the hierarchy of jobs in a writers' room.

And I'm going to split them up into what are considered lower-level writers, mid-level writers, and upper-level writers:

Lower-level writers:

  • Staff Writer

  • Story Editor

  • Executive Story Editor

Mid-level writers:

  • Co-Producer

  • Producer

  • Supervising Producer

Upper-level writers:

  • Co-Executive Producer

  • Executive Producer

What are the differences?

The main differences lie in the top of the list and the bottom of the list.

A Staff Writer is usually a first-time writer. Not that they haven't written anything before. They may have written hundreds of things. But this is usually their first job in a writers' room.

Sometimes Staff Writers have to repeat the position twice or several times. Regardless, this is someone at the start of their career.

Now, we're going to skip the Story Editor jobs, which, I know, they sound so specific they must mean something, right? They don't. They are just a writer who has been around for a second year on the same show or has their second job.

And let's move right along to the mid-level writers.

Again, no real difference here. The mid-level writers have more experience in the room and are making far more money. But in terms of job duties, it's all the same.

The real difference comes when we make it to Co-Executive Producer.

These are really seasoned writers and are sometimes called on to run a room if the showrunner's not there or to oversee things on set.

But other than those duties, they are just another writer in the room.

Now the real difference is in the Executive Producer role. You'll notice there are likely many Executive Producer credits on any TV show.

And that title can mean wildly different things, from somebody being the one who's found the material the show is based on, or the line producer on the show, or they're the manager of an actor on the show.

But one of those EPs is the showrunner, and that's who we're concerned with for this article.

The showrunner is the head writer and the boss of the entire show. Every decision runs up to the top and this is the top.

They run the writers' room and approve and oversee every other aspect of the show.

The line producer oversees the logistics and operations of the production. But the showrunner oversees all creative aspects.

How do you rise the ranks?

Consistently getting staffed, or getting a job, in writers' rooms will help you move up. Whenever you're hired for a TV show, you negotiate your pay and your title.

And the more jobs you've had, whether those shows were successful or not, the higher a title you can demand.

There are other times when a lower-level or first time writer may sell a TV show and automatically be made an EP. They may also be teamed up with a seasoned showrunner, who may also be an EP of the show.

But if you're brand new to the industry and are looking for your start, I've written some tips here for how to get your first job and start meeting people.

You can also sign up below for my cheat sheet - 7 ways to get your first job in entertainment.


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I'm Anton, a TV writer and author of Breaking Into TV Writing, a book about the business of TV writing and how to get your foot in the door.


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