Showrunners Moving in Front of Camera as Hosts of Their Own Shows

Showrunners Dan Harmon, Larry Wilmore, Phil
Courtesy of PBS/Comedy Central/NBC

Stardust has fallen on showrunners. A-listers like Shonda Rhimes, Vince Gilligan, Ryan Murphy, Carlton Cuse and Kurt Sutter have become celebrities in their own right thanks to the emergence of superfans of all things TV. Larry David ranks as the trailblazer of the trend with his transition from “Seinfeld” boss to “Curb Your Enthusiasm” star.

But the new batch of showrunner-fronted shows is sure giving plenty of hard-working exec producers inspiration. Veteran comedy writer Ken Levine recently did a stretch as a host for TCM. He let it be known via his By Ken Levine blog that he’s ready to take meetings. “I could host a talk show, a game show … debate politicians and idiots … or do whatever it is that Kelly Ripa does,” Levine quipped.

Here are a few more showrunners who are breaking the fourth wall and getting their own shows.

Dan Harmon (Community)

Host of “Great Minds,” a pilot for IFC that features comedians playing historical figures; star of “HarmonQuest,” a 10-episode series order from NBCUniversal’s Seeso comedy streaming service featuring Harmon and friends in a “Dungeons & Dragons”-esque fantasy.

Larry Wilmore  (The Bernie Mac Show) 

Wilmore has long balanced on- and off-camera gigs as a comedy showrunner, author and “Daily Show” contributor. He was a natural choice to succeed Stephen Colbert in the post-“Daily Show” slot as host of Comedy Central’s “The Nightly Show.”

Phil Rosenthal (Everybody Loves Raymond)

Rosenthal hosts PBS’ “I’ll Have What Phil’s Having,” a travelogue that sends him on a quest for culinary delights in cities around the world. “I’m like Anthony Bourdain if he was afraid of everything,” the self-deprecating foodie host has said.

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  1. BigCarl Prod says:

    The Larry D analogy is a stretch. He replaced Seinfeld characters with a fresh team—taking over the ‘George’ role. that was essentially him anyway. If ONLY he’d take a look around—Season 9 and 10 of Curb Your Enthusiasm are there for the taking/maiking.

  2. Harmonquest should be great, their D&D sessions on Harmontown are hilarious

  3. Anonymous says:

    Name one who is successful at it.

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