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Showrunners quietly head back to work

Many of TV’s top showrunners headed back to the office this week, resuming their non-writing chores (such as editing, supervising post production, etc.). One studio exec said “more than half” of his series’ showrunners were back at work, both on the comedy and drama side. 

Fueling the return: The revived talks between the Writers’ Guild and AMPTP. That follows through on an arrangement proposed by many showrunners earlier this month, in which the multi-hyphenates agreed to return to work only if the studios agreed to return to the negotiating table.

The united front by TV’s showrunners to halt their work forced several series to stop production sooner than expected, and is seen by many as having helped the WGA’s cause — serving as a catalyst to jumpstart talks.

With those negotiations back on, several showrunners were itching to return to work to finish off already written and produced episodes that nonetheless needed some supervision before completion. Also convincing some showrunners to return: The round of legal letters sent out to many showrunners warning them that by withholding their producing duties, they were in breach of contract.

Some exec producers had already returned to work to oversee non-writing production, including “Lost’s” Carlton Cuse. Many more hit the office following the Thanksgiving holiday. But most of the returning showrunners are hoping to stay under the radar to avoid the appearance of picket crossing.

“I wouldn’t disagree with your statement,” said one showrunner — who we’ll keep anonymous — when asked if they’d returned to work. “Generally I’m trying to keep a low profile.”

— Michael Schneider

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