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Top 50 Power Showrunners 2011

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    Drama
    Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk
    Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk
    Glee (Fox), American Horror Story (FX)

    As a child wrestling with undiagnosed dyslexia, Falchuk found himself drawn to television while other kids his age buried themselves in books. "I had a hard time reading, so I was always drawn to anything visual because it was my opportunity to connect with stuff," he says. "I spent way too much time watching TV." Falchuk remembers sneaking the black-and-white television from his kitchen into his bedroom to watch everything from Looney Tunes to televangelists and later getting hooked on such 1980s staples as Dallas, Cheers and Magnum, P.I. But a career in television was never considered by the Boston-bred Falchuk, 40, whose family was full of doctors, until a move to study at the American Film Institute broadened his future. He landed his first Hollywood job writing on the syndicated sci-fi show Earth: Final Conflict in 2001 and two years later scored a gig on Nip/Tuck, Murphy's plastic-surgery drama on FX, spawning one of the industry's most lucrative partnerships. For his part, Indianapolis native Murphy, 45, started as an entertainment journalist before segueing into TV with the short-lived WB series Popular. Today, the two co-run Glee and this month added FX's American Horror Story to their drama resume. Says Falchuk of balancing the demands of both shows: "We're lucky. Ryan has the stamina and the creative abilities of 10 people, so it's like there are 11 of us."

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