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Top 50 Power Showrunners 2011

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    Drama
    Graham Yost
    Michael Becker/FOX
    Graham Yost
    Justified (FX)

    Yost was surrounded by TV growing up in Toronto, with his dad hosting a popular series about movies for 25 years. However, he ultimately broke into writing on his own, working for Soap Opera Digest and Hey Dude, Nickelodeon's first scripted show, and then on Full House -- but quit "four days before they fired me ...they hated me." One day later, his feature script for Speed sold to Paramount. Yost's action films, which also include Hard Rain and Broken Arrow, had grossed a half-billion dollars when Tom Hanks gave him TV cred by hiring him as a writer on Band of Brothers and as a writer/director/executive producer of The Pacific. Yost used that clout to make Justified, one of the best Elmore Leonard adaptations since Get Shorty. It was the second-most-watched debut in FX history (after The Shield), second-season ratings were up 16 percent, and it also scored four Emmy noms and a win for Margo Martindale. Yost, 52, defines his approach in 10 simple words: "Treat characters with dignity and have a sense of humor."

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