Before the Hollywood Foreign Press Association begins handing out its Golden Globes, the research firm Parrot Analytics decided to weigh in with the most in-demand television showrunners based on the popularity of their shows.
The measurement company looked at the various ways U.S. viewers express their demand for television shows — from streaming video to posting on social media, commenting on fan and critic rating sites, and downloading or streaming from illicit online sources. It used its global dataset — roughly 1 billion bits of information a day — to identify which showrunners were the tops in America.
Think of it as “The People’s Choice Awards” meets serious analytics.
The firm narrowed the field to TV professionals who have run three or more major shows, so that results in some obvious omissions — namely Game of Thrones’ David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, or Community’s Dan Harmon. Parrot also limited its analysis to scripted series, so you’ll find no reality TV moguls on the list, either.
Still, the results make for an interesting read.
The Kings and Queens of Comedy
In a shock to absolutely no one, veteran showrunner Chuck Lorre is the king of TV comedy, based on viewer demand for his shows. His popular, long-running CBS show The Big Bang Theory was the seventh most in-demand show in the U.S. in 2017.
Seth MacFarlane came in a close second, thanks to demand for the sci-fi comedy-drama The Orville on Fox, and his animated series Family Guy and American Dad!
Mike Schur (Fox’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine and NBC’s The Good Place) ranked third, ahead of HBO’s Silicon Valley showrunner Mike Judge.
The only female showrunner on the comedy list is Tina Fey, with her Netflix original Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt leading demand for her shows.
Drama Queens (and Kings)
Greg Berlanti, the prolific executive producer of the CW’s slate of DC Comics shows — Supergirl, Arrow and The Flash — not to mention NBC’s Blindspot, emerged as the top showrunner for TV dramas.
The popularity of these superhero titles, especially The Flash, gave Berlanti’s shows twice the viewer demand of the next showrunner, Shonda Rhimes, whose most popular show remains ABC’s long-running drama Grey’s Anatomy.
High-demand for top UK dramas, BBC’s Doctor Who and Sherlock, lifted British writer-producer Steven Moffat to the third most in-demand dramatic showrunner. He bested Ryan Murphy’s portfolio of work for FX, such as American Horror Story and Feud.
One showrunner who could easily have appeared on the comedy list is Jenji Kohan, whose show straddle both genres. The creator of Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black also lands in the top 10 most in-demand drama showrunners.