BlindGossip – A showrunner is the person who is ultimately responsible for a television series. It may be the creator of the series, a producer, or the head writer. Emmy-winning comedy writer (and Major League Baseball announcer) Ken Levine shares this story about a showrunner with whom he once worked:
The showrunner on one particular series I worked on had maybe the filthiest mouth in Hollywood. Sailors and bikers would blush. But he was screamingly funny.
For late night rewrites we would have a writers assistant in the room taking down what was pitched. One night our normal assistant was sick so they got a temp to replace her. This new assistant (we’ll call her Prudy) didn’t know what hit her. After about an hour she finally spoke up. She said to the showrunner in a stern tone, “Can we just confine our comments to the script?”
There was a hush in the room. No one talks back to a showrunner like that. We braced ourselves for the explosion.
But it never came.
The showrunner took it in stride and good spirit. He said, “Alright, fine. Take this down”, and he began dictating.
“Fade in. Interior apartment – day. Fred enters. Fred says…”
At which point he let fly the raunchiest, filthiest, c-bomb laden, XXX, perverse stream-of-conscious monologue ever uttered. Needless to say, we were all dying.
When he was finished, careful not to leave out any depraved act or euphemism for sexual organ (he must’ve gone on for five minutes), he leaned back in his chair, clasped his hands behind his neck, took a beat, and said to the temp:
“Okay, now read that back to me.”