Top 50 Power Showrunners 2011
The showrunner of TV Land's first ever scripted series grew up in Boston and wanted to be a journalist because of what she'd seen on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. "All of those really well-written shows in the late 1970s were really formative," says Martin, who credits her second-grade teacher for pushing her to be a writer. "I wrote a story and she asked me to stay after class. She said, 'I never tell people what to do with their lives, but you should be a writer,' " says Martin, 49. "I was 7, so naturally I took it as a fact." In 1994, Martin's husband, Jeff, then a writer for David Letterman and The Simpsons, hooked her up with a writing gig on a comedy pilot called The Good Life. "I asked him to let me try it. I said, 'If I'm terrible, I'll know it and walk away, and it won't be an issue for our marriage,' " says Martin. "It turns out I wasn't terrible!" From there, she went on to work as a writer on ABC's Ellen and won a pair of Emmys as part of the writing staff on NBC's Frasier. These days, Martin admits to still "being in awe" walking around the Cleveland set, where she rubs elbows with star and Emmy nominee Betty White. Says Martin: "To be working with Betty, who was on Mary Tyler Moore, and then to have Mary guest-star last season … it's amazing to see life come full-circle."