Line Producer (Unscripted TV)

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What does a line producer do?

Line producers

They work collaboratively with the heads of department on an unscripted TV production to identify the most creative, efficient and effective way to allocate the money and resources available to deliver the best production. This means they need to understand the editorial, technical and craft needs of a production and be able to think laterally when offering up solutions to balance production, financial and editorial challenges.

Line producers are responsible for the contractual management of staff, talent and contributors. They negotiate deals with external companies, such as post-production houses, implement health and safety regulations, make sure all necessary insurance is in place and ensure any compliance and legal requirements are adhered to.

They create the overall schedule that covers the three stages of a programme’s production, allocating time and staff to planning and pre-production, filming and through to the final stages of post-production and delivery.

Line producers work on larger-scale TV productions and tend to work on a series for the duration of its run. They might appoint more than one production manager to look after different aspects of the production, such as the filming or the edit. On smaller productions, the production manager covers the line producer’s role.

What's a line producer good at?

  • Business: create, forecast and manage a programme budget, balance editorial ambition with financial constraints and available resources
  • Negotiation: have keen business acumen and established contacts with suppliers to secure the best solutions for the production company
  • Legal knowledge: manage and implement health and safety, insurance and data protection legislation, contractual rights, compliance and copyright requirements
  • Organisation: plan, monitor and control systems and schedules, ensure your team is clear about their roles and duties and all work is logged and filed
  • Recruiting and leading: have a large contacts book, recruit and manage the best production management team and crew for the job

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