Live Poll: Best Creator That Television Has Ever Seen

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It was once said "Let there be light, and there was light ... and it was good." These television series creators have figuratively done the same, creating over and over again, one hit show after another.

Which television creator's body of work in television show creation is the best?

See the partial list of television series creators here:

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Posted 3 years ago

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Jen, Champion

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Spelling errors:
Doogie Howser, M.D.
Dharma & Greg
City of Angels
Who's Watching the Kids
Life's Too Short
Galactica 1980 

Add to Ryan Murphy:
American Crime Story

Add to Garry Marshall:
Hey, Landlord

Under James L. Brooks:
Paul Sands should be listed as Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers

Darren Star:
He didn't actually create 90210 and Melrose Place 2009, just the original series

Joss Whedon:
Should have a comma, not a period after Firefly

Add to Steven Bochco:
Capitol Critters
Murder One
Brooklyn South
City of Angels
Over There
Raising the Bar
Murder in the First

Add to Norman Lear:
The Deputy
Sunday Dinner
The Powers That Be
704 Hauser

Greg Daniels:
Friday Night Dinner should not be listed as it never actually aired any episodes

Glen A. Larson:
Add a space between Team Knight Rider and (co-creator)

Add to Greg Berlanti:
Jack & Bobby
Eli Stone
Political Animals

Add to Gene Roddenberry:
The Lieutenant

Shonda Rhimes:
Her photo seems to have disconnected from the list. Try to re-enter it.

Vince Gilligan:
I don't think he should be on this list. He made one amazing show, one so-so show and one that only got 13 episodes before it was cancelled (The Lone Gunmen).

Same for Larry David. Two shows, even if one is considered classic, does not the "Best Creator That Television Has Ever Seen" make

You're also missing some older big ones, though some may be credited as producer and not creator:
Aaron Spelling
David Crane
Quinn Martin
Simon Fuller
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A television creator is someone who creates the characters, as well as, the premise for a TV series. They also usually write the pilot movie/episode and outline a planned  story arc of the series over its first few seasons. They also may continue to write episodes for the show or have little to no involvement beyond the genesis of the show.

A developer is someone who takes another creators' show characters only or another creators series and re-imagines the series within a different context. This usually happens when a show is either rebooted after a long absence or adapted for a version in another country

An executive producer or show runner is someone who takes a creator's or developer's pilot or TV series and is responsible for the "big picture" and day-to day management of the TV series. They were not responsible for the creation of the series, but do shape the show and help it grow into what it will become with the framework of the creator's or developer original vision. They even may add new characters or new story arcs to the original vision.

I think the scope of the poll should be limited to creator or co-creator credits only. I think developers credits that add to an established impressive resume of creator credits should be considered as part of their "creation" body of work. However, I think executive producers and show runners are not creators. While their work may have creative elements, they are not responsible for the "birth" or "re-birth"(developer) of the original series characters or premise.

I also think poll takers can evaluate a creator's body of work how they see fit. However, quality is as important quantity, from my viewpoint, so having a handful of generation defining shows counts as much as dozens of popular, but less iconic series.  I would agree Vince Gilligan and Larry David should be cut. Although, I think having two or three truly iconic series is enough to be in the conversation (a la David Lean), but a one-hit wonder probably isn't enough. I don't think Aaron Spelling or Quinn Martin have the creator credentials to be in the conversation either. Neither created a single hit TV series while their credentials as producers are outstanding, this poll suggestion isn't about producing.

Aaron Spelling was the co-creator of The Lloyd Bridges Show, My Brother the Angel, The Guns of Will Sonnett, The New People

Quinn Martin was the creator of no series

I also want to limit the scope to drama and comedic series. Mark Burnett, Simon Fuller, and Merv Griffin could be some possibilities among others if including reality, game shows and other formats. It seem like that could be a entire list on its own and would be like comparing apples and oranges. I think it is best to compare them separately.

Simon Fuller was the creator of Pop Idol,I Dream, The Next Great American Band, Superstars of Dance, If I Can Dream, So You Think You Can Dance and the various individual country incarnations of these shows.
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Larry George

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Nice post. Lots of information to comtemplate.
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David E Kelley, hands down, has created some of my fave shows. However, something happened between the last 2 seasons of Boston Legal, which I DETEST.
Several characters were written out--without exposition, and the show simply went on. If they depend on us to care about the characters, to keep a show going, then they owe it to us to respect those characters. If that means ending the show--so be it!
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" If they depend on us to care about the characters, to keep a show going, then they owe it to us to respect those characters. If that means ending the show--so be it!"

I agree, whole-heartedly
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Thanks, Jen for all the notes, Your hard work has definitely been helped get this poll suggestion to another level. I made the corrections with a few exceptions based on Wikipedia or IMDb as detailed below.

Ryan Murphy on American Crime Story is the executive producer, Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski are the credited creators/developers.

Darren Star gets 90210 and Melrose Place 2009 creator credits on the basis he created the original concept, characters and original shows. Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer get developer credits for their re-imagining  of his creation on the reboot, Melrose Place. Jeff Judah, Gabe Sachs and Rob Thomas get developer credits on wiki and co-creator credits on IMDb for their re-imagining his creation on the reboot, 90210.

Norman Lear is the executive producer on The Powers That Be, David Crane and Marta Kauffman are the credited creators.

Greg Daniels is  the developer of Friday Night Dinner, a re-imaging of a British TV series. A pilot was produced that was not picked up as series. I think the act of creation happened here and the TV series was limited to one episode. Regardless, I have removed it as defining it as a series with a single episode is in dispute and it is negligible addition to his credentials.

I will explain the criteria and definitions for the list on a separate post. It will speak to the category of judgment call nominees of less prolific creators but still notable creators. I think it will add clarity to the inclusion of Larry David and Vince Gilligan along with Gene Rodenberry, Seth MacFarlane, John Cleese, Aaron Sorkin and Rod Serling. As well as, the exclusion of Quinn Martin and Aaron Spelling and give a basis to re-evaluate the initial omission of David Crane and Simon Fuller. I am open to discussing these candidates merits, the criteria and definitions for "Best Creator" as well as whether a nominee is worthy.
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Ryan Murphy
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Glen A. Larson
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Great poll idea. Jack Webb would get my vote.
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רונית כפיר

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YUP. one woman in a list of 30 men. (oh, and another one in a group).
I am not expecting a reasonable number but a realistic one, and this is so sad. This is true and sad.
only men are responsible for so many popular images and concepts in our culture.
women and girl viewers growing up with only a male point of view on the world, not even noticing it.
Thank God for Tina Fey and Lena Dunham.
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I agree a sad state of affairs and reflective of society rather than a bias in selection. I wish I could have included more. There seems to be more woman writers and more female creators than before. But the poll is a snapshot of bodies of work that take decades to build and least a couple hit or iconic series. I could see the two you mention plus Shonda Rhimes easily joining this group if they continue to add to their bodies of work.
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rubyfruit76, Champion

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'Good to see Rhimes on the list. She wouldn't get my vote but her inclusion is important, I think. 'Too bad Grey's Anatomy went so downhill after a few very good  seasons. Private Practice was mostly disappointing, especially since the main character was so compelling when she was on Grey's. I haven't seen Scandal but she still gets kudos for making it in a male-dominated field and for five or so really entertaining and resonant seasons of Grey's.
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I agree---particularly Dunham. 
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Tried 'How to Get Away With Murder'?
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rubyfruit76, Champion

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David Kelley, James L. Brooks, or Norman Lear (and applause for Lena Dunham and Tina Fey). 

'Very good poll. I really like the intro, as well. I'm suggesting a little change to the following to make it a little more clear:

Which creator's body of work* in TV-show-creation is the best? 

* minimum three credits as creator or developer of dramatic or comedic series

(I also edited out television  before "creator's" because they didn't create television, lol.)
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I agree the question can help in adding clarity, I  removed the first television reference to ensure it is understood that they didn't create television. But I jumbled the words in the second half of the question to be abundantly clear what the creative act is "creating new TV series" rather than "TV-show-creation". Some poll takers may not be familiar with what a television show creator is and does, so I added a sentence in the introduction, as well.

Revised Introduction and Question
It was once said "Let there be light, and there was light ... and it was good." These series creators have figuratively done the same, creating over and over again, one hit TV show after another. A television creator is someone who creates the premise and characters for a TV series, as well as, usually the writes the pilot episode.

Which creator's body of work* in creating new TV shows is the best? * minimum three dramatic or comedic creator or developer series credits
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Jessica, Champion

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Dan Dassow, Champion

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Congratulations urbanemovies on your 112th live poll!
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