Top 10 Women Showrunners Who Revolutionized Television

Women have been reigning in the world of television for a long time now. The impeccable directorial contributions and other leading roles that became the backbone of numerous breakthrough projects in the history of television owe themselves to the restless efforts of these revolutionary figures. Keeping that in mind, let’s recognize some of the most impactful women who paved the way for future women showrunners in their respective businesses.

Michelle McLaren

Michelle McLaren

She is multi-talented and unarguably one of the most notable figures when it comes to show-making. Michelle McLaren has been directing and producing shows since 1993. She has directed episodes of around 26 TV shows including Breaking Bad (2008), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999), and Game of Thrones (2011). Apart from direction, she has worked as a producer, writer, and actress with two Primetime Emmy Awards.

Leslie Glatter

Leslie Glatter

One of the many brains behind the thriller series Homeland (2011-2020) and the drama series Mad Men (2017-2015) is Leslie Glatter. Her directed shows have been nominated for numerous Emmy awards and Directors Guild of America Awards and has won 3 of the latter. Among all of her achievements, the most impressive one remains her status as the president of the Directors Guild of America.

Sarah Boyd

Sarah Boyd The Boys

Sarah Boyd has created magic on screens with her larger-than-life creativity and Ivy League flair. Holding a master’s in Cinematic Arts from USC, Sarah Boyd has directed several critically acclaimed series like 9-1-1, This is Us, and The Boys. Her shows have that creative layer, coupled with a great plot line.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Phoebe Waller-Bridge is the maker of the epic comedy series, Fleabag (2016-2019), for which she bagged a couple of Golden Globe awards, 3 Emmy awards, and a British Academy Television award. She’s also behind the widely popular thriller series Killing Eve (2018-2022). That makes her an all-round director and showrunner who knows how to master multiple genres.

Alice Birch

Alice Birch

Alice Birch has a lot of experience as a playwright, her most famous one being Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again (2014), for which the British showrunner bagged the George Devine Award for Most Promising New Playwright. She has, since then, written scripts for shows like Normal People (2020), and Succession (2018-2023). She’s also the scriptwriter for the period film Lady Macbeth (2016).

Kari Skogland

Kari Skogland

Kari Skogland, the outstanding Canadian filmmaker, is one of the co-founders of the production company, Mad Rabbit. She’s also known for directing and producing The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021), the 2nd MCU TV miniseries, aired on Disney+. Her other note-worthy directorial efforts include The Walking Dead (2016-2017), The Handmaid’s Tale (2017-2018), and The Loudest Voice (2019).

Beth McCarthy Miller

Beth McCarthy Miller

The popular variety-comedy show, Saturday Night Live (SNL) is directed by the one and only Beth McCarthy Miller. She started as an intern at MTV and since then, has directed shows including Modern Family (2009), Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and 30 Rock (2006)

Gail Mancuso

Gail Mancuso

Gail Mancuso has worked on several shows as a director, including Modern Family (2009) for which she’s received an Emmy award nomination, Rules of Engagement (2007), and A Dog’s Journey (2019), which is her debut series, in direction. 

Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes

The still-running ABC series, Grey’s Anatomy, is the work of the very talented Shonda Rhimes. She has also executively produced popular shows like How To Get Away With Murder (2014-2020), Bridgerton (2020), and Queen Charlotte – A Bridgerton Story (2023). Moreover, she is the founder of the production company Shondaland. Rhimes has also been on the Time 100 list of the most influential people in 2007, 2013, and 2021. 

Tricia Brock

Tricia Brock

Tricia Brock is the maker of the Emmy Award-nominated series Dummy (2020). She has also worked on directing various episodes of many popular series including The Walking Dead (2010-2022), Bridgerton, Gossip Girl (2007-2012), Ugly Betty (2006-2010), Veronica Mars (2004-2010), and Almost Family (2019-2020). 

Although making a show requires a whole team of creative minds, it’s the job of a showrunner to look at things from a critical standpoint. An integral position that can only be handled by the best in business. We all have heard of male dominance in the entertainment industry. It is also important to appreciate and recognize the incredible women who have been thriving here for decades! These incredible women are breaking barriers and creating history! 

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