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Showrunners 2012: 'Game of Thrones'' D.B. Weiss and David Benioff

D.B. Weiss and David Benioff

Which scribes would the duo like to add to their writer's room? "Robert Bolt or Dalton Trumbo. Are they available?"

From their obsessive rituals (Peppermint Patties! Oatmeal! Bruce Springsteen!) to the parts of their jobs they hate most (killing characters off, dealing with agents), TV's most influential writer-producers featured on The Hollywood Reporter's annual list of the Top 50 Showrunners come clean about the people, things and quirky habits that keep them -- and their shows -- alive. 

D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, Game of Thrones (HBO)

The show that inspired me to write:
Benioff/Weiss: Although television was a huge part of our lives, obviously, movies probably played a larger role in that choice. But if we're talking about the TV shows that made us want to be TV writers, it's that run of HBO classics: The Sopranos, Deadwood, The Wire.There were other great TV dramas before The Sopranos, but David Chase showed how ambitious a series could be; he took the big canvas eighty-odd hours provided and created an indelible work of American art.

THR's Top 50 Showrunners 2012 -- the Complete List

My TV mentor:
Benioff/Weiss: Carolyn Strauss. When we started doing this, we'd never worked in television before. She stared at us with her hitman eyes when we went in topitch HBO, but she bought it in spite of the fact that we'd never worked intelevision before. And when she came on board as a producer, she revealed herself to be one of the warmest, smartest and most generous people we've ever met. She held our hands through the trial by fire that was season one, and has been at our side ever since, saving us from ourselves, giving us lessons from the secret playbook that produced the television shows that made us want to get into television.

My proudest accomplishment this year:
Benioff/Weiss: Honestly, just getting through season two with all the material we wanted and needed so well shot and acted. It's an enormous logistical challenge, producing the show on even the most generous TV schedule, and there were times when we thought one more gale force wind blowing our sets into the sea would sink the ship. But we made it through, and we're very happy with the result. Now we get to spend our days wondering who or what will get blown into the sea this year.

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The aspect of my job as showrunner that I’d rather delegate:
Benioff/Weiss: Anything that happens before 8 a.m.

My preferred method for breaking through writers' block:
Benioff/Weiss: Fiber.

If I could add any one writer to my staff, it would be:
Benioff/Weiss: Robert Bolt or Dalton Trumbo. Are they available?

The three things I need in order to write:
Benioff/Weiss: Three hours in a row would be nice.