A television program creator has several meanings:
Often, the creator is the screenwriter of the pilot episode, or a director, or a producer. Sometimes it is a writer of the series bible, or writers' guidelines.[unreliable source?] In the United States, a Writers Guild of America (WGA) screenwriting credit system governs credits. For example, the Writers Guild of America West provides specifications for creator credits that govern its members. The Producers Guild of America's corresponding code for producers defines "Executive Producer" and similar roles but not an explicit "Creator" role.[failed verification]
Creator is a specific credit given explicitly in many shows. However, it has not always been a prominent, explicit credit. For example, Sydney Newman, the accepted creator of The Avengers (1961–69), was never given an explicit credit as creator; Newman never thought to ask for one. The creator of a television show may retain rights to participate in profits, often to be paid by the production company as a percentage of fees that it receives from networks and distributors. In 2014, for prime-time network TV shows, the WGA-required royalty to be paid to a writer with "created by" credit is approximately $1,000 per episode or higher. Who merits creator credit is sometimes a matter of contention. In a 2013 legal case, a director sued a former writing partner for co-creator credit.
Notable examples of creators include: