Well, for one thing, they aren’t for producing. For another – no, wait. Let Ken Levine, one of the best old pro comedy writers in the world who doesn’t know we here at TVWriter™ even exist, do the masterful explication:
by Ken Levine
Ken, I’d be interested to know what the difference is between the different writing credits you see on a show; you have your staff writers, story editors, creative consultants (which I think you described once in a post as authorities doing basically nothing) etc etc , could they all be that useful?
Here’s the short answer: they’re all bullshit. At least in half-hour comedy. There’s actually only one meaningful title and that is “Show runner” and it’s also the only title you’ll never see.
Originally if you created and ran a show you got a coveted Producer credit. Everybody else had to settle for Story Editor or (for the newbies) Staff Writer.
Only producers were entitled to Emmys if their show won Best Comedy. And along with the prestige (chicks dig dem producers), the titles helped establish pay grades.
So everyone wanted in on that action. (And by everyone I mean ME.)
The show runners were promoted to the made-up title of Executive Producer and Story Editors became Producers.