Hollywood Reporter's Top Showrunners 2020

Friday, Oct 23, 2020

Hollywood Reporter announced their annual Top 50 Most Powerful Showrunners on October 22, 2020, and we are so proud to celebrate the Tisch alumni recognized on this list. 

In year of unprecedented change to the Film & TV industry, these showrunners are showing strength and perseverence in sharing the stories that matter. From Issac Aptaker '08 and Elizabeth Berger '08's This Is Us to Misha Green '06's Lovecraft County, Tisch alumni continue to do what they do best: tell stories.

Congratulations to the 6 alumni recognized for their work!

Sam Esmail '98 (BFA, Kanbar Institute, Film & TV) Mr. Robot, Angelyne, Battlestar Galactica

Among the top-tier talent at Universal Content Productions, the Mr. Robot creator is juggling production on the Peacock limited series Angelyne (starring wife Emmy Rossum and based on a THR feature) with overseeing what may be the streamer's most anticipated original — yet another new take on Battlestar Galactica. Esmail, with an aggressive development slate, also is making a rare foray into broadcast with a pair of dramas in the works at ABC.

Isaac Aptaker '08 (BFA, Goldberg Department of Dramatic Writing) & Elizabeth Berger '08 (BFA, Goldberg Department of Dramatic Writing) This Is Us; Love, Victor

With broadcast's top scripted series among adults 18-49 heading into its fifth season, This Is Us still is NBC's biggest thing to brag about outside of football, thanks in part to this trio of showrunners who are now starting to tackle side projects. Fogelman has Only Murders in the Building at Hulu, and Aptaker and Berger launched teen drama Love, Victor (also at Hulu) — already renewed for a second season.

Vince Gilligan '89 (BFA, Kanbar Institute, Film & TV) Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul

As critically adored as ever during its recent fifth season, Gilligan and Gould's Breaking Bad prequel enters its final run in 2021 with a total 38 Emmy nominations (no wins yet). Expect the duo, both at Sony, to finally depart their beloved source material now that companion movie El Camino is done and dusted and Better Call Saul's run is coming to a close.

Misha Green '06 (BFA, Kanbar Institute, Film & TV) Lovecraft County

Though theaters were closed during summer 2020, U.S. audiences weren’t completely denied a blockbuster. HBO’s Lovecraft Country — a drama about a Black family in 1950s Chicago battling both monsters and some seriously messed-up white people — blended action, sex, horror and timely commentary on America’s insidious history of racism for gleeful critics and an audience of 9 million multiplatform viewers to date. “The [resources] we have on this show — it’s amazing,” says writer-producer Misha Green of the unexpected follow-up to her previous series, WGN’s comparatively modest Underground. “It’s the equivalent of going from an independent film to a Marvel movie.”

Damon Lindelof '95 (BFA, Kanbar Institute, Film & TV) Watchmen

Lindelof's patient, deliberate approach to crafting one series at a time paid off with HBO's timely Watchmen, which swept the limited series category and led all projects with 11 Emmy wins in 2020. As for a second season, the Lost grad remains steadfast that his version of the story has been told, though HBO is leaving the door open. HBO boss Casey Bloys, meanwhile, already has spoken with Lindelof about "a few things" the writer-producer has in mind for his next act.