10 Power Showrunners: A Day in the Life, From Carlton Cuse to Jenji Kohan

10:00 AM PST 10/16/2013 by Edited by Stacey Wilson
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Jessica Chou
Ann Biderman

A voyeur's look through the bleary eyes of TV's busiest movers and shakers -- Ann Biderman, Jason Katims, Hart Hanson and Stephen Nathan, Scott M. Gimple, Armando Iannucci, Greg Berlanti, Kerry Ehrin, Jeff and Jackie Schaffer and Terence Winter.

ARMANDO IANNUCCI

Veep (HBO)

Iannucci and his six-person writing staff are having a blast hashing out the final arc of Veep's upcoming season. It's a process, he says, that works largely because of his core professional tenet. "I don't recruit assholes," says a laughing Iannucci of his all-British team, which on this early October afternoon in urban London is delving into the sixth, seventh and eighth episodes of the political comedy's third season.

The mood is communal and intimate, as scripts are passed around the (very small) room and Iannucci places very detailed notes on each one. At this stage of the writing process, drafts are "very lengthy," but that will change after the brilliant Veep cast sinks its collective teeth into them. "We always make sure to have 15 alternative gags," says Iannucci. "People think the show is largely improvised, but it's not. It's just that the cast is good; they make it feel that way."

The Scottish-born married father of three says it's not as tricky as it sounds to maintain control of a series that shoots in Maryland in two-week blocks, sometimes rehearses in Los Angeles and bases its writers room here in London at Goldcrest Films. (The single-camera comedy also is edited and postproduced here.) And why isn't there a single American scribe present to help pen a series about a bumbling vice president of the United States? "I promise, I don't have a ban on hiring Americans!" says Iannucci. "It's just that all of these writers already knew me. But I do require them to check their egos at the door." -- S.W.

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