Q: Why does "Star Trek: Picard" have four supervising producers, one consulting producer, five co-executive producers, and eight executive producers, and what do they all do?

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Adam Thomlison / TV Media

"Because scripted television is run by writers, the majority of producers you see listed are writers," says John August, a Hollywood screenwriter who also devotes a significant amount of time to demystifying the production process on his podcast, "Scriptnotes."

From there, the various types of producer mostly amount to a ranking system.

For TV, the executive producer is responsible only to the studio, while the other types of producers report to them.

As August said, these people are generally the writers -- some also perform logistical and management tasks as well, but much of that work is handed to other folks like line producers (yet another type).

As for the other types you mention, it's basically a list of ranks. Co-executive producers report to the executive producers, supervising producers report to co-executives. Consulting producer is a little different -- as the title suggests, they contribute to the writing but are not on a daily, nine-to-five basis like the others.

Those of you with business experience might be wondering: If the executive producer is essentially the show's boss, and "Star Trek: Picard" has eight, including star Patrick Stewart ("Logan," 2017), does that mean the set is chaos? This is where TV production differs from a regular job, because it's supposed to be a collaboration.

That said, hidden among those eight names is a single showrunner -- an unofficial title that generally means head writer. On "Star Trek: Picard," that's Michael Chabon.

While he is in fact the main writer, in charge of the concept, direction and general arc of the show, he works in collaboration with the other executives and couldn't, say, fire them if he wanted to.


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