A television program creator is the person who developed a significant part of a TV show's format, concept, characters, and pilot script. They have sequel rights to the material as well.

Often, the creator is also the showrunner or a producer. Sometimes it is a writer of the series bible, or writers' guidelines.[1][unreliable source?] In the United States, a Writers Guild of America (WGA) screenwriting credit system governs credits. For example, the Writers Guild of America West provides specifications for creator credits that govern its members.[2] The Producers Guild of America's corresponding code for producers defines "Executive Producer" and similar roles but not an explicit "Creator" role.[3][4][failed verification]

Creator is a specific credit given explicitly in many shows. However, it has not always been a prominent, explicit credit. For example, Sydney Newman, the accepted creator of The Avengers (1961–69), was never given an explicit credit as creator; Newman never thought to ask for one.[5] The creator of a television show may retain rights to participate in profits, often to be paid by the production company as a percentage of fees that it receives from networks and distributors.[6] In 2014, for prime-time network TV shows, the WGA-required royalty to be paid to a writer with "created by" credit is approximately $1,000 per episode or higher.[7] Who merits creator credit is sometimes a matter of contention. In a 2013 legal case, a director sued a former writing partner for co-creator credit.[8]


Notable examples of creators include:

See also


  1. ^ donedealpro.com messageboard thread
  2. ^ "Determining Separated Rights on a Television Series". Writers Guild of America.
  3. ^ "Code of Credits – Television Series – Non-Fiction".
  4. ^ "Code of Credits – Television Series – Comedy/Drama".
  5. ^ In Newman's memoir, The Avengers and Me, Patrick Macnee interviewed Newman about his never receiving on-screen credit as creator of the series. Newman explained that he never sought on-screen credit on the series because during his previous tenure at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, such credits were not given, and he never thought to get one for The Avengers. Per: Patrick Macnee and Dave Rogers, The Avengers and Me (TV Books, 1998, ISBN 1575000598); republished in 2008 as The Avengers: The Inside Story (Titan Books, ISBN 1845766431)
  6. ^ "Standard Deal Points When Selling Your Television Projects". TV Writers Vault. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  7. ^ Dina Appleton. "The Ins and Outs of TV Series Writer Deals".
  8. ^ C. Edwards (September 20, 2013). "Live-Action TV Director Sues "Johnny Test" Producer For Creator Credit". CartoonBrew.Com.
  9. ^ Talking to the Top Female Filmmaker on Kickstarter, Bee and PuppyCat's Natasha Allegri,Vulture, November 6, 2014. Accessed November 24, 2021.
  10. ^ Cult-favorite cartoon Bee and Puppycat finds a home at Netflix for season 2, Polygon, October 6, 2020. Accessed November 24, 2021.
  11. ^ British Film Institute screenonline database. Accessed October 22, 2007.
  12. ^ "Estate of Play", The Guardian, July 12, 2008. Accessed July 14, 2008.
  13. ^ "Thunderbirds". IMDb.
  14. ^ "Supercar (TV series)". IMDb.
  15. ^ Wiegand, David (February 16, 2014). "Star-Crossed so dopey, teens might not even like it". Observer-Reporter. Retrieved March 2, 2014.
  16. ^ Erdmann, Terry J.; Block, Paula M. (August 1, 2000). Deep Space Nine Companion. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-0-671-50106-8.
  17. ^ "Dispatch: Berman Celebrates Milestone". May 22, 2000. Retrieved April 11, 2009.
  18. ^ a b c "Skins". IMDb.
  19. ^ "Exclusive Interview: David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik, Creators of The Class". BuddyTV.com. November 2, 2006. Retrieved January 26, 2011.
  20. ^ "Biggest Sunday Ever on Showtime! Shameless, Episodes & Californication to Premiere January 9th". FutonCritic.com. Showtime press release. September 22, 2010. Retrieved January 26, 2011.
  21. ^ "Press Packs: Episodes". BBC. December 17, 2010. Retrieved January 26, 2011.
  22. ^ "Dates". IMDb.
  23. ^ a b Denise Martin (May 22, 2012). "Ryan Murphy Dissects Glee and American Horror Story, Addresses Fans and Critics".
  24. ^ "Dates". IMDb.
  25. ^ "The Simpsons". IMDb.
  26. ^ Werts, Diane (September 18, 2006). "'The Class' gets an A for effort". Newsday. Archived from the original on November 26, 2006. Retrieved October 18, 2007.
  27. ^ Internet Movie Database: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0164289/fullcredits#cast
  28. ^ a b "Modern Family". IMDb.
  29. ^ Weiner, Allison Hope (May 23, 2005). "Case Closed". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 15, 2010.
  30. ^ ""Prisoner" Star Patrick McGoohan Dies". CBS News. January 14, 2009. Retrieved January 15, 2009.
  31. ^ "The Prisoner". IMDb.
  32. ^ Note Sydney Newman apparently never received screen credit as the created The Avengers.
  33. ^ "Doctor Who (1963–1989)". IMDb.
  34. ^ "Bewitched". IMDb.
  35. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (August 29, 2012). "ABC Greenlights 'S.H.I.E.L.D' Marvel Pilot, Joss Whedon To Co-Write & Possibly Direct". August 28, 2012. deadline.com. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
  36. ^ Kelly West (December 18, 2010). "Interview: NBC's The Cape Creator Tom Wheeler".
  37. ^ "Being Human". IMDb.
  38. ^ Weiner, Allison Hope (May 23, 2005). "Case Closed". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 15, 2010.
  39. ^ Bill Carter (August 11, 2003). "From Creator of 'C.S.I.,' Testimonials to Himself". New York Times.