What Do Television Producers Do?

Find out what it takes to bring a program to the small screen.

What's a Television Production Career Like?

news being televised

Television producers are the financial and creative masterminds who bring together all the major aspects of a scripted show, reality program or news broadcast.

Many job descriptions fall under the producer title, but the role's traditional responsibility is to oversee a production's financing and end-to-end operations. Producers secure funding, set the budget, monitor schedules and are ultimately the ones responsible for a program's success or failure.

It's a high-stakes job with demanding deadlines and erratic work schedules, but seeing your name in the credits is worth it, right?

Common Responsibilities

  • Securing financing for the project
  • Establishing and managing the budget
  • Determining which scripts or ideas to produce
  • Writing and editing scripts or news stories
  • Auditioning actors or on-air talent
  • Hiring directors and crew
  • Overseeing all aspects of production (set design, choreography, lighting, performances, cinematography, sound, editing)
  • Reviewing rehearsals or recordings to ensure compliance standards are met
  • Ensuring the program stays on schedule and deadlines are met

Skills Needed

  • Management skills: Producers hire and manage a program's director, talent and crew and must ensure that everyone works together successfully.
  • Communication skills: It takes many different types of people, both on and off set, to create a broadcast program, so a producer must know how to effectively convey ideas to staff and promote the program to the media.
  • Creative skills: Great storytelling skills are essential to create an engaging program that makes an impression on viewers.
  • Troubleshooting skills: Producers must be able to quickly problem-solve any production or staffing issues that may arise.
  • Financial skills: As the project's purse-string holder, money-management skills are essential for producers.
  • Business skills: All responsibility for a project's success lies with a producer, so business acumen is critical.

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook 2018-19 Edition, Producers and Directors.