Top 50 Power Showrunners 2011
NCIS and its spinoff NCIS: Los Angeles attract nearly 40 million viewers a week to CBS. If the franchise is the linchpin in CBS' procedural lineup, Brennan, who worked on NCIS with creator Don Bellisario for two years before creating NCIS: L.A., admits that giving the spinoff its own voice took a lot of heavy lifting. "There was a lot of pressure," he says. "It had to be a show that stood on its own. It couldn't ride the coattails of NCIS." Glasberg has been an executive producer on NCIS since 2009, and took over as showrunner this season. The series will hit its 200th episode in January. "With all these episodes behind you," says Glasberg, "you really have to be conscious of keeping things new and different." Brennan and Glasberg may navigate similar challenges, but they come from divergent backgrounds. Glasberg, 45, who is from Middletown, N.Y., in the Catskills, got an internship with film director Alan J. Pakula while he was an undergraduate at New York University, then got his start in TV writing animated children's series. Brennan, 54, began his writing career as a print and television journalist in his native Victoria, Australia. "You launch yourself into these things with a certain amount of ambition and hope, but you learn to have low expectations," says Brennan. "It's incredibly hard to break into showrunning, and then it's incredibly hard to be successful at it."