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

Ann Biderman
Ann Biderman
 Jessica Chou

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.


Bates Motel (A&E)

Since the premiere of their Psycho prequel drama in March, co-showrunners Cuse and Ehrin have been taking turns heading north to the rainy Vancouver set of their series. But on this late September afternoon, they are -- shockingly -- in the same room at the same time tackling many tasks, including prepping a new script as well as doing on-camera interviews for a forthcoming featurette about Bates Motel for A&E.

"Our job keeps getting bigger and bigger," says Cuse following a 3:15 p.m. script meeting with Ehrin. "We are now brand managers, with responsibility for everything that falls under the moniker of Bates Motel, from T-shirts to Bates Lego houses." The duo, as well as their large writing staff, today also are navigating the team's busy schedule of script notes (4 p.m.), editing and, yes, even their own makeup session (4:30 p.m.) as they prep to film a writers roundtable video for A&E. The halls of their new office space (season one's digs were a few miles away in the Valley, in a smaller building) are appropriately lined with Alfred Hitchcock posters and Bates artwork in addition to an unruly amount of filming equipment cluttering the floor -- not for the series but for the on-air short.

Cuse admits he enjoys the chaos of this environment ("I liken it to doing a decathlon," he says), while his counterpart admits she'd rather keep a lower profile. "The biggest part of this job is communication, which I hate," says Ehrin with a laugh. "I'm a very internal person, and we are constantly having to communicate what's in the writers room from this group to that group. Thankfully, Carlton is really good at that stuff." -- L.G.

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