Institutt for informasjons- og medievitenskap

The production of TV drama series in Europe and the US - a comparison

In this talk Professor Mikos will present a comparative study of European and American production processes of TV drama series using the example of the two series Borgia (European) and The Borgias (American).

The creation and production of TV drama series differs in Europe and the US. The writers’ room “is a Hollywood institution” (Phalen/Osellame 2012:17), that is not open to outsiders. In such a "writing workshop", about five to eight authors work on average in the drama series; up to ten authors can be found in sitcoms (see Phalen / Osellame 2012: 6). For instance the series “Breaking Bad” was written in a Writers' Room in Pasadena, California, where the showrunner and creator of the series,Vince Gilligan, were two to three months ahead of the shooting, worked about seven months and at least eight hours a day with his team. By two female and six male authors who developed scripts for the series. This group of writers, who all do their best depending on their ability, is held together by a showrunner or creator. In Europe there's still the ideo of the auteur/author, the genius writer who creates a TV drama series. But more and more European countries adopt the series production culture from Hollywood in installing writers' rooms. As example I will compare the two drama series series Borgia (GER/F/CZ, 2011-2014) and The Borgias (USA/H/IRL/CAN, 2011-2013), in which an American showrunner on the one hand oversaw a writers' room with European writers, and a European filmmaker on the other created most of the episodes.

Dr Lothar Mikos is a professor of television studies at Fimuniversität Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF, Potsdam. He is a prominent researcher on European and global television cultures, comprising numerous publications on topics like tv-production, aesthetics and reception. More information about professor Mikos is available on his University home page: https://www.filmuniversitaet.de/portrait/person/lothar-mikos/