[Ads-l] "showrunner" in Being the Ricardos

dave@wilton.net dave at WILTON.NET
Tue Dec 28 17:52:50 UTC 2021

I don't recall this one being mentioned in the other threads discussing the "Being the Ricardos." But Tony Hale, in the character of Jess Oppenheimer, refers to himself as I Love Lucy's "showrunner." (He was executive producer and head writer, which in modern TV parlance would make him the "showrunner.")
But the OED only has the TV sense from 1989. It has a "rare" more general sense of one who runs the show from 1958. This latter sense fits the era, but I can't seen Oppenheimer using that sense to refer to himself. Desi Arnaz, as history and the rest of the script makes clear, was the the guy "running the show." (Arnaz essentially invented the modern television show, including the concept of reruns, syndication, live studio audiences, shooting on film for showing in multiple time zones instead of live broadcast, multiple cameras, and the independent production company. He was an entrepreneurial genius.) 
I just watched it last night. A superb performance by Javier Bardem as Arnaz, but otherwise an unremarkable show.

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