The showrunners highlighted on these pages are all too sharp to rock Dickens handily – yet, for the writer-producers who power entertainment’s most prolific and popular medium, this is truly the best and Not so good of times.

More than 560 scripted series are expected to air in the United States by the end of the year, as the industry hires more new voices than ever. There are comic escapes (see Abbott Elementary School and the bear) and giant dramas (Dragon House and squid game). But studio consolidation, libraries being pulled from streamers without warning — looking at you, HBO Max — and orders for shorter episodes putting financial pressure on scribes further up the food chain have added an asterisk to the story. idea of ​​”Peak TV”.

Both sides of this coin are evident in THR’s annual report on the 50 most powerful, prolific and influential talents in television, a list that becomes a greater challenge to reduce each year. Those who made the cut reveal the series they can’t stop thinking about, the peers they admire the most (Succession’s Jesse Armstrong remains the class favourite) and, for those who have dropped out of Zoom, their thoughts on returning to the writers room in person. They also speak out on growing concerns about the direction this seemingly unstoppable industry is headed.

“Fewer original works are going through the development pipeline,” says Robert King, of Bad and The good fight“, and showrunners are turned into employees trying to please their bosses who don’t write.” star trek Producer Jenny Lumet paints an equally lively picture: “We are in full flight, we don’t know where we are going. Everything is turbulence, all the time. And while it may seem like more people can get a seat, I’m not entirely sure that’s true.

It’s TV in 2022, warts and all.

– Written and narrated by Mikey O’Connell and Lesley Goldberg