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Top 50 Power Showrunners 2011

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    Drama
    Neil Jordan
    Neil Jordan
    The Borgias (Showtime)

    The Oscar-winning Irishman (The Crying Game) is likely the only entrant on this list who'd never even heard the word "showrunner" before his current gig. "I hadn't a clue what it meant!" says Jordan. "Now I see it's all about maintaining a consistent tone and getting directors to see things the way you do." And determination, too. Jordan, 61, was hellbent for 11 years to tell the story of Rodrigo Borgia, "the Godfather in the Vatican." After DreamWorks commissioned the original script for a film, then didn't want it, he tried several times to reboot it with the likes of Colin Farrell, Christina Ricci, Scarlett Johansson, Viggo Mortensen and Ewan McGregor -- until about two years ago, when Stacey Snider had a conversation with Steven Spielberg and suggested making it into a TV series. Jordan's small-screen spin for Borgias' debut fetched the best ratings for any Showtime drama in seven years, beating even the best season of the network's other costumed hit, The Tudors, while also scoring two Emmys. The 2012 season looks to top the first on the scandal scale as Jordan promises his characters are going to get nasty. "They'll be downright evil," he says. "The viewer will be complicit in all sorts of bad, fun things."

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