The job of a showrunner seems to be the most vague-yet-obvious in all of TV. The name gives away that they run a show, but the meaning of that is impossible to figure out for anyone unwilling to do even the most cursory research. We see it as being similar to the job of a sea captain. They spin their little wheel to point the ship in a certain direction, and then they yell at everyone on deck to do the rest of the work. Actually, that metaphor doesn’t sound too bad, but let’s get on with the news before we waste any more time on it.
According to two separate reports from Deadline, both Showtime’s Ray Donovan and Fox’s The Following have lost their showrunners recently. The Following’s Jennifer Johnson stepped down on her own so she could “focus on development,” and she’ll be replaced by an Avengers-style team-up of former writers Brett Mahoney and Alexi Hawley, as well as director Marcos Siega. Rather than sharing the showrunner title, they’ve all been promoted to the rank of executive producer, which grants them each a new parking space and 900 experience points. Interestingly, Johnson has only been the showrunner since June, having taken the job after creator Kevin Williamson left to work on his new show, Stalker.
Over at Showtime, Deadline says the network chose not to renew Ray Donovan creator/showrunner Ann Biderman’s contract, citing “financial reasons” as the cause. Executive producer David Hollander is apparently in talks to take over for her, though Biderman will remain with the show as a “creative consultant.” This situation seems a little similar to what happened on Community—with the show’s creator being offered a token consultant position as a replacement for the showrunner job—but we don’t think Biderman ever complained about Liev Schreiber in front of a podcast audience, so maybe this isn’t like Community at all.