by Troy DeVolld
Prompted by a recent discussion with Andy Dehnart at realityblurred.com, here’s the key to understanding credits in reality television: Stop trying to make sense of them and start relying on context in relationship to the credits as a whole if you want to understand who’s who.
When you see nine Executive Producers listed on a show, a few could be network execs overseeing the show, a few could be owners or execs at the production company, and still others could be showrunners or even talent and their managers.
The difference between a Co-Executive Producer and a Supervising Producer? Sometimes none. A show may have one or the other or both (in which case the Supervising Producer is likely supporting the Co-EP), and each title can stand without the other. I’m aware of a few companies that don’t issue Co-EP credits for some reason, so the Supervising Producer is overseeing some part of production and/or post and reporting to an EP.
The difference between a Story Editor and a Story Producer? Whatever the company decides to call the members of its story team. In cases where both titles exist on a show, the Story Producer title is likely reserved for the more experienced / senior of the two.
There’s also the Senior Story Editor or Senior Story Producer title, which denotes senior members of the story team in field or post. A Supervising Story Producer, when one is titled, oversees the story team and reports to either a Supervising Producer, Co-EP, or directly to the EP if there is no Supervising Story Producer or Co-EP on the show.
Remember that experienced writers on traditionally covered scripted shows can often negotiate a producer credit based on experience and seniority on the show. Screenwriter John August explains all of that here.
In short, it’s all negotiable.
Troy DeVolld is a longtime LB buddy and one of the masters of the reality TV genre. This article originally appeared on his Reality TV blog. And while you’re thinking about him, why not buy his book, Reality TV: An Insider’s Guide to TV’s Hottest Market?