Meet Today’s Top TV Showrunners

The North Fork TV Festival presents an industry brunch panel, featuring top TV Showrunners moderated by VARIETY, at The Halyard Restaurant at Sound View Greenport, sponsored by The Gersh Agency. Entry is included with VIP Festival Pass, but seating is available on a first-come first-served basis. Doors open at 11:00 am, brunch will be served at 11:30.

Friday 9/7 11:00 AM

Our Venue: 


Available now with purchase of a VIP Festival Pass. Individual tickets will go on sale July 18th. 

Featured Showrunners:


Theresa Rebeck (SMASH)

Theresa Rebeck is a prolific and widely produced playwright, whose work can be seen and read throughout the United States and abroad. This fall, her fourth Broadway play, BERNHARDT/HAMLET, will premiere as part of the Roundabout Theatre Company’s 2018-19 season, making Rebeck the most Broadway-produced female playwright of our time. Her new comedy SEARED premieres this summer at the prestigious Williamstown Theatre Festival and her play Downstairs, starring Tim Daly and Tyne Daly, gets its New York Premiere in November at Primary Stages. As an author, Rebeck has written three novels: Three Girls and Their Brother, Twelve Rooms with A View  and I’m Glad About You, along with Free Fire Zone, a book of comedic essays about writing and show business. In TV, Rebeck created the NBC showbiz drama SMASH and has written for CANTERBURY'S LAW, LA LAW, NYPD BLUE, LAW & ORDER CRIMINAL INTENT, DREAM ON, BROOKLYN BRIDGE and many more. Her produced feature films include HARRIET THE SPY, GOSSIP,  and the independent features SUNDAY ON THE ROCKS, and SEDUCING CHARLIE BARKER, an adaptation of her play, THE SCENE. Upcoming film projects include 355 (for Jessica Chastain’s production company, Freckle Films) and TROUBLE, starring Angelica Huston and Bill Pullman. For her work on NYPD BLUE, Rebeck won the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award, the Writers’ Guild of America Award for Episodic Drama, the Hispanic Images Imagen Award, and the Peabody Award. Other Awards include a GLAAD Award (for SMASH), the National Theatre Conference Award (THE FAMILY OF MANN), the William Inge New Voices Playwriting Award (THE BELLS), the PEN/Laura Pels Foundation Award, the Athena Film Festival Award, an Alex Award, a Lilly Award and more. In 2011, Rebeck was named one of the 150 Fearless Women in the World by Newsweek.

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Keith Eisner is a television veteran who most recently served  as showrunner for Season Two of  DESIGNATED SURVIVOR. He was a long-time Executive Producer on THE GOOD WIFE, as well as a writer-producer on LAW AND ORDER, GILMORE GIRLS and NYPD BLUE among a host of other shows. He is currently a consulting producer on MADAM SECRETARY and developing projects for network and cable.  Mr. Eisner began his career as a comedy writer before transitioning to drama. He is a former Wall Street lawyer and a graduate of Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. 



Screenwriter/director/showrunner Rockne S. O’Bannon is one of the top purveyors of speculative fiction for film and TV today. From creating the hit Syfy TV series DEFIANCE, to the fan and critic favorite FARSCAPE, to the seminal film and television series ALIEN NATION, he has pushed the limits of imagination on both the big and small screens. He has served as Executive Producer on the NBC series REVOLUTION, and the NBC/DC COMICS adaptation CONSTANTINE. O’Bannon wrote the original screenplay ALIEN NATION, which was produced by Gale Anne Hurd (THE WALKING DEAD, THE TERMINATOR) for Twentieth-Century-Fox. The worldwide success of the feature film, starring James Caan and Mandy Patinkin, led to the FOX Network television series and five two-hour TV movie sequels, as well as a continuing series of ALIEN NATION novels. O’Bannon followed ALIEN NATION with his directing debut, FEAR, a thriller starring Ally Sheedy and Pruitt Taylor Vince for Showtime Network. Soon after, he was approached again by Steven Spielberg, this time to collaborate on a grand futuristic adventure series for NBC-TV. The result was SEAQUEST DSV starring Roy Scheider, on which O’Bannon served as Creator and Executive Producer. Later O’Bannon created EON-4, sponsored by Apple, heralded as the very first science fiction entertainment developed specifically for the then very young world wide web. O’Bannon co-wrote and directed the FOX Network TV film DEADLY INVASION, an ecological cautionary thriller starring Ryan Phillippe. ROBIN COOK’S INVASION, a four-hour mini-series for NBC- TV written by O’Bannon aired during the network’s May sweeps. And for May sweeps the following year, O’Bannon wrote CREATURE, another four-hour mini-series, this one for ABC-TV, adapted from the Peter Benchley best seller. O’Bannon also wrote FATAL ERROR, the TBS Network’s first original Tv event movie. O’Bannon’s television series FARSCAPE, which he created and executive produced, debuted on the Syfy Channel as the young network’s first original series, winning multiple awards, and often appearing on “The Year’s Best” lists in TV Guide Magazine and numerous publications around the globe. The series’ four year run was capped by the premiere of FARSCAPE: THE PEACEKEEPER WARS, a four-hour event mini-series. THE TRIANGLE premiered on the Syfy Channel to both critical and ratings acclaim. The six-hour mini-series was written and Executive Produced by O’Bannon with Bryan Singer (SUPERMAN RETURNS), and Dean Devlin (INDEPENDENCE DAY). In recent years, in addition to DEFIANCE on Syfy, O’Bannon created and Executive Produced the startlingly-original series CULT for The CW, a show that has appropriately achieved status as a “cult” favorite. For his work in film and TV, O’Bannon has been the recipient of an unprecedented nine Saturn Awards, presented by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror, more than anyone else. He has also received nominations for the cable Ace Award and from the Writers Guild of America.

Remarks By: 

Christina Wayne (Executive producer, AsSembly Entertainment)


Festival Director, Christina Wayne is CEO of Assembly Entertainment, with an overall deal at ITV Studios America, where she develops and produces scripted dramas worldwide for broadcast, cable and digital platforms. Wayne has sold eighteen scripted series to date to networks including ABC, A&E, Amazon, BBC America, Bravo, Cinemax, Showtime, Spike, USA, WGN, and YouTube Red. She currently is executive producer, with Jim Carrey, on Showtime's I’m Dying Up Here and executive producer of a new series with Jessica Chastain penned by Sully screenwriter Todd Komarnicki.  

In 2017, Wayne also launched, a comprehensive online educational course about the creative and business sides of creating content for television and digital platforms.

Prior to creating Assembly Entertainment, Wayne was President at Cineflix Studios, Cineflix's scripted TV division, where she oversaw the company's scripted programming and was an executive producer on BBC America's Copper with Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson. During her tenure, she was responsible for development, production and sales of all scripted series worldwide.  She was also Senior VP of scripted series/miniseries for AMC, where she shepherded the development and production of the Emmy® and Golden Globe® Award-winning drama series Mad Men, the Emmy® and Golden Globe® Award-winning drama series Breaking Bad, and the Emmy® Award-winning mini-series Broken Trail.

A member of the Writers’ Guild of America since 1997, Wayne began her career in entertainment as a screenwriter and director with projects including the feature TART which she wrote and directed, released by Lionsgate in 2001. She is a graduate of Barnard College, Columbia University and lives with her husband and daughter in New York.

Moderated By: 


Caroline Framke is a TV critic at Variety who spends most of her waking hours analyzing, dissecting, and commenting on the state of the entertainment industry, and what it means for culture at large. Prior to Variety, she was a staff writer at Vox with a focus on television, gender and sexuality, systemic discrimination, and the intersections of all the above that can make pop culture such a revealing subject. Her previous work has appeared in a wide range of outlets, including The Atlantic, The A.V. Club, NPR, and Salon.