It takes a special breed of person to produce just ONE hit show, let alone a string of them over several decades. But for obvious reasons, television networks want each new series to be as much of a sure bet as possible. One of the best ways to ensure a hit is to work with producers who've created them in the past. The problem is, too often it seems like mega-producers get TOO MANY shows on the air, perhaps spreading themselves a bit too thin, and, if anything, become just as much of a crapshoot quality-wise as an untested young talent. So we say, take a break, you buncha billionaires! Let's get more untested fresh blood up in our TVs!
So if you were in charge of the universe, which mega-producer would you tell to take a break for a while? Here are at least six people who have no fewer than THREE shows currently airing (or coming up). Make no mistake, all of the people listed below are masters of the industry and respectively brilliant, but perhaps masters should concentrate doing a few things well and not bogarting primetime?
More or less the inspiration for this post just for the sheer number of series he'll be bringing to The CW—a network with only TEN hours a week to program, mind you—Josh Schwartz has in recent years begun to emphasize quantity over quality. Sorry, it just needs to be said. The O.C. was fantastic, Chuck had its charms, and then... well. Then he made more shows. A lot of them. Enough already?
Who could've predicted that one of the masterminds behind the Britney Spears film Crossroads would become one of the most powerful and prolific writer-producers in TV history? Well, Grey's Anatomy was a deserved hit (at first), but Rhimes' self-plagiarism at ABC started wearing thin a long time ago. Fortunately Scandal has turned into something of a treat, but there's a sizable contingent of viewers who MIIIIGHT have become fatigued by Rhimes' distinctive pretty-girl-sad-times style, you know?
Upcoming shows: Under the Gun (NBC pilot)
The best thing that can be said about Ryan Murphy is that he doesn't tend to repeat himself and for that reason he's undeniably made the TV landscape a better, more interesting place. But the most damning (and accurate) thing to say about him is that he has a crippling inability to quality-control. Whether it's how dramatically Glee or Nip/Tuck went from must-watch to must-avoid, there's definitely a consistency issue at Ryan Murphy Productions, and constantly generating NEW shows is not the best way mitigate it.
Obviously the kinds of shows Jerry Bruckheimer produces aren't the most creatively thrilling ones on television, so nobody's demanding originality here. No, Bruckheimer's shows are mostly mindless, expensive diversions for people who just want to kick back after work. And that's fine! But after a while they've just become interchangeable and the sheer number of them has made TV a worse, more boring place.
Upcoming Shows: Trooper (TNT pilot), Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives (NBC pilot)
Mark Burnett is in the franchise business. He doesn't just produce reality shows, he produces DOZENS OF SEASONS of reality shows. He's good at it (all the people on this list are brilliant businesspeople) but that doesn't mean we deserve the same old thing over and over. Even people who ASK for the same old thing over and over don't actually deserve it. Let's do better.
Upcoming Shows: Romancing the Globe (USA pilot), The Bible (History miniseries), The Job (CBS pilot)
I'm guessing Chuck Lorre already owns several castles by now? Sir, please go chill in one of them. We'll be fine.
Haha, sorry guys! But real-talk: J.J. Abrams is NOT the surefire bet a lot of us may have once considered him to be. Maybe he's just too scattered with his thriving film career, but it's time to accept that the Bad Robot brand is no longer synonymous with quality. Alcatraz? Undercovers? And don't get me started on his newest Event TV dud Revolution. Mr. Abrams, you are cordially invited to take some time off, regroup, and come back only when you have the time to actually make these concepts actually worth our while.
Upcoming Shows: Untitled Robot Cops Project (Fox pilot)
Your turn! Which producers or showrunners should take some time off?
POLL: WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING TV PRODUCERS
SHOULD TAKE A VACATION ALREADY?