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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. Alan Ball

    True Blood (HBO)read more

  2. Carol Mendelsohn (original), Ann Donahue (Miami) and Pam Veasey (NY)

    Team CSI (CBS) read more

  3. Steven S. DeKnight

    Spartacus (Starz)read more

  4. Vince Gilligan

    Breaking Bad (AMC)read more

  5. Brenda Hampton

    The Secret Life of the American Teenager (ABC Family)read more

  6. Hart Hanson

    Bones, The Finder (Fox)read more

  7. Bruno Heller

    The Mentalist (CBS)read more

  8. Neil Jordan

    The Borgias (Showtime)read more

  9. Jason Katims

    Parenthood (NBC)read more

  10. Michelle King and Robert King

    The Good Wife (CBS)read more

  11. Peter Lenkov

    Hawaii Five-0 (CBS)read more

  12. Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk

    Glee (Fox), American Horror Story (FX)read more

  13. Shane Brennan (LA) and Gary Glasberg (Original)

    Team NCIS (CBS)read more

  14. Matt Nix

    Burn Notice (USA)read more

  15. Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman

    Fringe (Fox)read more

  16. Shonda Rhimes

    Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, Scandal (ABC)read more

  17. Michael Rauch and Andrew Lenchewski

    Royal Pains (USA)read more

  18. Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage

    Gossip Girl, Hart of Dixie (CW), Chuck (NBC)read more

  19. David Shore and Katie Jacobs

    House (Fox)read more

  20. Craig Silverstein

    Nikita (CW) read more

  21. David Simon

    Treme (HBO)read more

  22. Veena Sud

    The Killing (AMC)read more

  23. Kurt Sutter

    Sons of Anarchy (FX)read more

  24. Janet Tamaro

    Rizzoli & Isles (TNT)read more

  25. Matthew Weiner

    Mad Men (AMC)read more

  26. D.B. Weiss and David Benioff

    Game of Thrones (HBO)read more

  27. John Wells

    Shameless (Showtime)read more

  28. Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec

    The Vampire Diaries (CW)read more

  29. Terence Winter

    Boardwalk Empire (HBO)read more

  30. Graham Yost

    Justified (FX)read more

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