What's the hierarchy in a TV writer's room?
Starting with the lowest rung on the ladder, it’s the writer’s PA. Not every show has one, but if they do, they tend to be the gopher - go for coffee, go for copies.
Then comes the writer’s assistant. This is usually someone that takes notes in the writer’s room and then types them up. They may also be charged with typing the script in shooting format. (this position is often the first to be offered a script when the opportunity comes).
Next is the staff writer. This is a weekly salaried position. That salary usually pays for a script.
Above the staff writer is Story Editor. This is a writer who is on salary AND gets paid per script. There may be an executive story editor as well… same job description, more money.
Next is co-producer… this is another level of writer. They are given a higher salary and a bit more responsibility. That might include input on casting and editing.
Next is Producer (not to be confused with line producer). Similar to the co-producer, they are given more duties, and may help with staffing or overseeing freelance writers (if there are any).
Supervising Producer - Yet another level where they are more involved in all aspects of the creative process.
Co-Executive Producer - this is the last level below the showrunner. They have a fair amount of input, but not the final word.
Executive Producer - Showrunner. This is the head-honcho of the show. They have the final say on all creative decisions, including the hiring of directors and actors. In many cases they only answer to the network, and in some cases the network stays out of their way.
There may also be consultants and freelance writers. The consultants are often showrunners in their own right, but not full-time committed to the show. On occasion a consultant will be brought on to oversee a new, or naive showrunner.
Freelancers are mandatory per the WGAw contract, however, most shows will promote from within, and usually it’s the writer’s assistant that gets the opportunity to write for the show.