Translation Difficulties

So Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie are no longer involved with the Transporter TV series.

I think that’s a shame. I’m a fan of all of the Stargate series, and their scripts have always been among my favourites.

Klaus Zimmermann, one of the producers on Transporter, credits Mallozzi and Mullie as having been showrunners and says in the article “In America, the rule is ‘One show, one showrunner.’ But that wasn’t the case for Transporter – it was a collective effort.”

Now, think about that for a moment, and you’ll see that it has to be incorrect. Unless somewhere along the line there’s a True Democracy involved in making the final decisions about productions, then someone, somewhere, has the power to say yes or no.

(Even if no-one’s officially in charge, at the end of the day there’s going to be a person on set or in the office, somewhere at the sharp end of production, who actually makes the final decision on what or what not to do.)

Which makes me think that the problem here may be one of translation. As mentioned in a previous blog post, the US definition of a showrunner is the person who makes all of the creative decisions.

But in the US, that person is almost always a writer, and specifically the lead writer on the show in question. Which can sometimes lead to people outside the US thinking that if you’re a lead writer you’re a showrunner, and vice versa.

So it seems to me entirely possible that Messrs Mallozzi and Mullie were told that they’d been hired to be showrunners – and then only later found out that they were actually lead writers.

Which does, then, beg the question: who’s actually running the show?

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