Emmy Round Table

Show runners: Creating authenticity and balance in the work

Show runners take pains to create authenticity in stories on marriage, crime and even a transitioning parent

In the third and final excerpt of this year’s Emmy Roundtable, a conversation with television show runners, the group talked about reactions to social media, fan engagement and authenticity in writing.

The conversation included some of the most distinguished show runners in television: Mark Duplass (co-creator with his brother, Jay, of HBO’s “Togetherness”), Peter Gould (co-creator with Vince Gilligan of AMC’s “Better Call Saul”), Robert King (co-creator with his wife, Michelle, of CBS’ “The Good Wife”),  John Ridley (ABC’s “American Crime”) and Jill Soloway (Amazon’s “Transparent”). 

The group agreed that social media can positively and negatively affect production. Knowing the audience’s opinions, thoughts and feelings lets the creators know if the show is taking the right, or sometimes wrong, direction. At the same time, this knowledge can lead creators to mold their show to fit the audience's attitude -- making it feel like the show is “dancing to random music,” as Gould phrased it.

The show runners added that authenticity, along with social media, affects a show’s development. Whether it’s spending time with people similar to their characters or acting as if they are in fact their characters, these creators do extensive research in order to accurately produce their television series.

Take a look at the video above and check back for other excerpts of their hourlong conversation.

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