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I was watching America's Got Talent last night, and during the opening credits was struck by the number of executive producers listed. It seems to grow longer each year.

They are (from the official NBC site):

Executive producers: Simon Cowell, Cecile Frot-Coutaz, Ken Warwick, Jason Raff, and Georgie Hurford-Jones

Co-executive producers: Nikki Boella, James McKinlay, Tabitha Hanson-Obtulowicz

Executive in Charge of Production: Tiffany Hoss, Charlie Krestul

Now I understand Simon Cowell and Ceicle Frot-Coutaz. He is head of the production company SYCO TV, and she is the CEO of FremantleMedia North America, which produce the show. And Ken Warwick is an executive producer and showrunner for American Idol. (Not clear if he is is also a showrunner at AGT.)

But who are all these other seven EPs? None of them have entries in Wikipedia.

The executive producer entry in Wikipedia indicates there can be several types of executive producer: traditional EPs (production executives, financiers, etc.), head writer(s), and showrunner(s).

I can't see how there could be more than one head writer -- host Nick Cannon is the only one that appears to have a script. AGT is making a ton of money, so it wouldn't seem there would need to be a lot of investors.

Do they really need ten chefs in the kitchen?

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"the names and credits given to people in TV are often so wishy-washy that you could argue they are meaningless and just there to massage egos" - news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7052368.stm –  Tom77 May 18 '14 at 8:25
@Tom77 Nice link, thanks. –  tcrosley May 18 '14 at 19:11

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

These days it is more common for people to 'buy' themselves a credit on TV and film productions through financial backing, sponsorship or other enabling methods.

Traditionally (at least on film), the executive producer(s) coughed up the money to get the production rolling - they generally wouldn't have any other impact on the production. Of course, there are a few horror stories about executive producers only providing finances on the proviso that their terrible niece got a role, or they could sit in on the set (and interfere).

In the case of AGT, I suspect that this roster of EPs is made up mostly of financial backers.

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Adding to Nobby's answer, anything with the executive in title don't normally have much to do with the actual physical production -- they are usually more in the financial/accounting management side of things. –  Peter Grill Jul 6 '12 at 4:40
Using the Wayback Machine I was able to view the NBC AGT site from the second season. Of the eight EP's back then (more than I remembered there being), seven were the same as this season so it does seem likely many of them were financial backers. –  tcrosley Jul 6 '12 at 12:04

"host Nick Cannon is the only one that appears to have a script"

If you see anyone talking on any TV show, it's scripted. Even if it appears off-the-cuff, it isn't. Take a look at AGT again, and I'll bet you'll notice there are lots of things that were written.

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