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Top 50 Power Showrunners 2011

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THR's fourth annual list shines a spotlight on the 50 most influential -- and valuable -- creative chiefs writing, producing and redefining television.


For better or worse, 2011 will go down as the Year of the Showrunner. It all began with Chuck Lorre becoming a household name for all the wrong reasons. Then there was Mad Men's Matthew Weiner making waves during the showrunner's painful, prolonged negotiations with the network he put on the map. The summer saw film auteur Frank Darabont make a stormy exit from his AMC smash hit The Walking Dead and then be replaced by The Shield veteran Glen Mazzara. But the news wasn't all negative. Emmy night awarded comedy kings Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd more gold for Modern Family, and that Mad Men guy earned a redemptive trophy for his collection. Plus, the fall saw the return of such established veterans as Howard Gordon (Homeland), Michael Patrick King (2 Broke Girls) and Neal Baer (A Gifted Man), proving that reinvention is a showrunner's most powerful tool. Here, THR profiles the men and women who make TV's toughest gig look damn good.

METHODOLOGY: Selections for The Hollywood Reporter's fourth annual list of the top showrunners are based on the following criteria: 

1. Direct responsibility for the day-to-day creative output of a scripted TV show that has aired for at least one full season (unless he or she also had another show on the air). 
2. How prolific the showrunner is: Those with more shows on the air were more likely to be included. 
3. Nielsen ratings, especially relative to other shows on the same network. 
4. Emmy attention and critical praise. 
 Professionalism and reputation among studio and network executives.

Profiles written by Tim Appelo, Lesley Goldberg, Marisa Guthrie, Philiana Ng, Lacey Rose and Stacey Wilson


  1. Salim and Mara Brock Akil

    The Game (BET)read more

  2. Carter Bays and Craig Thomas

    How I Met Your Mother (CBS)read more

  3. Jenny Bicks

    The Big C (Showtime)read more

  4. Liz Brixius and Linda Wallem

    Nurse Jackie (Showtime)read more

  5. Louis C.K.

    Louie (FX)read more

  6. Tina Fey and Robert Carlock

    30 Rock (NBC)read more

  7. Greg Garcia

    Raising Hope (Fox)read more

  8. Dan Harmon

    Community (NBC)read more

  9. Al Jean

    The Simpsons (Fox)read more

  10. Bill Lawrence

    Cougartown (ABC)read more

  11. Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd

    Modern Family (ABC)read more

  12. Paul Lieberstein

    The Office (NBC)read more

  13. Team Lorre

    Chuck Lorre and Lee Aronsohn, Two and a Half Men; Bill Prady, The Bi...read more

  14. Seth MacFarlane

    Family Guy (Fox)read more

  15. Suzanne Martin

    Hot in Cleveland (TV Land)read more

  16. Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton and Charlie Day

    It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FX)read more

  17. Trey Parker and Matt Stone

    South Park (Comedy Central)read more

  18. Tyler Perry

    House of Payne, Meet the Browns (TBS)read more

  19. Mike Schur

    Parks and Recreation (NBC)read more

  20. David Zuckerman

    Wilfred (FX)read more

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