The Showrunner by Kim Moritsugu

The Showrunner by Kim Moritsugu

Kim Moritsugu comes to the blog today with a clever and engaging story, a sort of tell-all on the world of popular television in a behind the scenes sort of way. Please read on for my review of

The Showrunner

Told in three perspectives from three women at various stages in their lives and careers, and set around the production of a new television drama. Ann has a long history of hit shows: brash, bold and not particularly nice, she’s selfish and demanding in person and at work. She’s also got a streak of paranoia and insecurity a mile wide: prone to snide put-downs and passive-aggressive slights, keeping all who work with and around her on eggshells. Stacey is her partner in the production gig: although with her degree, ideas and general competency, she tends to keep the ball moving forward. The idea for the new show was Stacey’s – an idea that she is getting little to no credit for, and she’s finding her position is slowly becoming more precarious as time goes on and she and Ann find themselves at odds over different choices for talent, content and wardrobe. Nothing says you are being pushed out more than Ann’s new hire, an actress turned PA named Jenna, as she grooms her using a combination of fear, baseless flattery and ego strokes.

The story is really one of relationships: from personal diary entries full of vitriol from Ann, Stacey’s careful reworking of her persona to be the “stable’ one, consciously making an effort to back-slap ideas and show that she’s available for concerns and questions, that she understands the stresses, concerns and worries, and perhaps has the ‘inside track’ to mediate with Ann. Jenna’s story is an intriguing one – she’s not getting the roles she believes he is due, has a sugar-daddy boyfriend, and her eyes on a recurring role in the drama –to build up her imdb. Appearing a bit naïve and genial, her best acting will be hiding her own upwardly mobile aspirations and securing her own position with a series of carefully orchestrated ‘info dumps’, in true manipulating fashion.

To be honest – I didn’t know what to expect in this story: it is NOT a ‘girl power’ let’s all bond together and support one another: it’s quite the opposite. Jockeying for position, supremacy, loyalty (if even for the moment and tidbits from different departments) and highlights the ‘let her take it” approach in the hopes that an event, assigned specifically to one person, will result in a disastrous series of events or feelings from the participants. With the machinations and politics behind the scenes, the friendships that never quite seem ‘real’ and the constant energy expended by all three women to secure and reinforce their positions in the pecking order: it’s enough to disabuse anyone of the idea of becoming a producer, or perhaps even entering the maelstrom. Utterly engaging, the story gradually shows its teeth as each character’s personality and intentions come clear – from first to last there are clear likes and dislikes – and each character moves into the position of primacy, while not completely engendering empathy because all three are so calculated and calculating.

The Showrunner by Kim Moritsugu

Title: The Showrunner
Author: Kim Moritsugu
Genre: Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Satire
Published by: Dundurn Press
ISBN: 1459740971
Published on: 2 June, 2018
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 304
Rated: four-stars
Get Your Copy: Amazon Barnes&Noble iTunes Kobo IndieBound GoogleDirect from Publisher
See this Title on Goodreads

The hiring of a new assistant triggers a power struggle between an aging TV show creator and her former protégée.

Rising-star showrunner Stacey McCreedy has one goal: to leave behind her nerd-girl origins and become a power player — like Ann Dalloni, her former mentor and current producing partner. Ann, meanwhile, is feeling her age and losing her mind. But she’ll be damned if she cedes control of their hit primetime TV show to Stacey.

After Ann hires Jenna, a young actress hoping to restart her stalled career, as an assistant, the relationship between Ann and Stacey deteriorates into a blood feud. Soon, Jenna must choose whom to support and whom to betray to achieve her own ends. And Stacey will find out if she possesses the killer instinct needed to stay on top.

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.


About Kim Moritsugu

Kim Moritsugu’s six previously published novels include The Glenwood Treasure (shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Best Crime Novel Award), The Restoration of Emily (serialized on CBC Radio), and The Oakdale Dinner Club. She recaps TV shows online as The Hungry Novelist and lives in Toronto.


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