1.22.2005

I want to be a producer...

This? New York Times article, even though it's about the movies, should answer the question, "Why are there so many producers at the start of The Simpsons?:

"Still, the call to glory can be powerful, as the academy learned in 1999, when a veritable crowd trooped onstage to claim statuettes for 'Shakespeare in Love,' which had five producers, prompting the current restrictions."

In other words, you can't get an Emmy to put on your shelf, or your Mom's shelf, unless you're a producer. It doesn't cost the studio anything to make someone a producer, so it's an easy demand to meet. (And I don't mean to single out The Simpsons. Every veteran sitcom is the same way; check out Raymond.)

FWIW, the hierarchy is:

Executive Producer
Co-Executive Producer
Supervising Producer
Producer
Co-Producer

then

Executive Story Editor
Story Editor

then

Staff Writer.

What sucks about being a staff writer is that you can't get paid for the scripts you write -- anything title above that and, according to the Guild agreement, your duties don't chiefly involve writing, so when you write a script you must get paid for it separately. If you're a staff writer, though, you're supposed to be writing. This is part of the delightful rich-get-richer nature of Hollywood.

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