There are a number of different ways in which the creator of a TV show can maintain creative control, though none of them are guaranteed. One of the best ways is to find a network who will offer the creator of the show a contract that explicitly provides him or her with a great deal of control. The creator of the show can also ensure that he or she becomes the showrunner on the program, which will grant him or her greater control as well. It can also be easier to maintain creative control if the creator has a proven track record in the television or film industry.
Creative control over a TV show typically comes down to who is able to make the major decisions regarding the production of a show. This can include everything from writing scripts and hiring other writers to casting the actors and actresses, approving locations, and choosing the music used on the show. A great deal of this creative control is granted, to the creator or to others, by the contract established between the creator and the network producing the show.
One of the best ways for the creator of a TV show to maintain creative control is through the contract he or she has with the network. A show creator can shop his idea around to different networks until he finds one that will offer him enough control over the show. The creator should also try to become the showrunner for the show, as this position establishes a great deal of how a show is produced. A showrunner typically has tremendous creative control over a TV show and can control the direction the show takes over numerous seasons.
TV networks are also less likely to give a first-time creator a great deal of creative control over his or her TV series. Someone with a proven track record, usually consisting of one or more highly successful shows, will have a better chance of keeping control over a project. If a network believes someone can create a profitable show, then the network is more likely to let that person work unhindered. Even this is not a guarantee, however, and falling ratings or loss of advertising revenue can lead to a loss of creative control, change of showrunner on a program, and eventual cancellation.