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Drama Showrunner Roundtable: Ryan Murphy, Jenji Kohan, Ava DuVernay on Killing Off Characters, the Downside of Binge TV

Six TV masters — including David E. Kelley, Noah Hawley and Lisa Joy — reveal the risks and rewards of storytelling without a net: "It's a gut check: If you start thinking about whether it's appropriate for everyone, you're left with oatmeal."

Just as Westworld‘s co-creator Lisa Joy is revealing how much (or little) the actors in her sweeping HBO drama know about where their characters are headed, the power in the Hollywood soundstage where she and five other showrunners are gathered on this early April afternoon goes out. Queen Sugar showrunner Ava DuVernay, 44, leaps out of her chair, while the others — Noah Hawley, 50; Ryan Murphy, 52; Jenji Kohan, 47; and David E. Kelley, 61 — sit frozen in silence as a string of nearby lightbulbs shatter.

This story first appeared in a June standalone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.