Top 50 Power Showrunners 2011
He writes. He directs. He edits. He produces. And he plays himself (well, a version of himself) on FX's groundbreaking original comedy. So it's no wonder that come Emmy night, Louis C.K. was exhausted. "I really enjoyed being a nominee," he said at the Governors Ball. "But I'm really glad it's over." You can't blame him. His one-man-band comedy event made history this year by earning FX's first lead comedy actor nomination (and a writing nom, too) and making Louis C.K. the only showrunner on this list to personally assume all major facets of the production cycle. Success for Louis C.K. has come after hard-fought rounds in the comedy ring, beginning as a staff writer for David Letterman in the early 1990s and including a failed sitcom on HBO (unfortunately titled Lucky Louie) and so-so success as a screenwriter for such films as his friend Chris Rock's I Think I Love My Wife. But he balks at inevitable comparisons to his HBO counterpart-in-angst, Larry David. "It may seem that way, but I don't ad-lib like Larry does," says the D.C. native, 44 -- his real surname is Szekely, of Hungarian origin -- of Louie's so-real-it-hurts verite style. "I actually shoot the show very cinematically and precisely."