From Wikipedia

Marta Fran Kauffman (born September 21, 1956) is an American writer and TV producer. She is best known as the co-creator of the NBC sitcom Friends with her longtime friend, David Crane.

The use of "co-creator" implies there exists an occupation called "creator".

However, Googling "difference between movie producer and creator" only gets the comparison between directors and producers.

So do producer and creator mean the same thing in terms of TV shows and movies?

  • I feel like I've only hear the term "creator" when it comes to TV shows, not movies.
    – GendoIkari
    Commented Aug 13, 2020 at 15:36

2 Answers 2


So do producer and creator mean the same thing in terms of TV shows and movies?


...but that doesn't mean that the creator cannot be also a producer.

Simply, the "creator" is the person who came up with or developed the idea for the show...nothing else.

They may take no further part other than coming up with the original concept.

"Producer" is an official credit indicating that the person makes a contribution to the actual production of the show.

There are various "levels" of producer some of which are merely acknowledgements (see Stan Lee and the MCU) and others indicate a financial, executive oversight or creative role in the show.

A television producer is a person responsible for a variety of operations on a network show. These tasks are both creative and administrative. In television, a producer is often a writer. In the case of an executive producer in television, it's a "head writer." An "EP" or "showrunner" as they are more commonly called, or some director-producer-writer hybrid would also be accurate. Typically, a TV producer is tasked with concept development, raising funds, commissioning writers, budgeting, guiding crew members, making casting decisions, and evaluating the project’s overall quality.


  • Yep. In example: Believe was created by Alfonso Cuaron and Mark Freeman, who co-exective produced with JJ Abrams/Bryan Burk's Bad Robot along with Jonas Pate & Hans Tobeason. If I remember right, Mark Freeman found that he had "creative differences" with either NBC execs or his other fellow EPs and walked away from the project, but he still gets a creator credit because he helped create the series during developmental stages. He gets an EP credit for the Pilot only. Commented Aug 13, 2020 at 18:17

IMHO in television, creator is often used to mean someone who works on a television show, particularly someone whose input creates noticeable effects on the show as seen.

But in my opinion when someone is described as a creator of the show, using "creator" as an unofficial title, that should mean that person came up with the idea for the show and took it a production company or a network, etc. and eventually the show was made more or less according to the original idea. And when two or more persons are described as co-creators", that should mean that they came up with the original idea together in discussions and refined it together in discussions.

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