TV Guide Magazine gathered together some of the most creative and successful minds in the TV business on March 30 for WonderCon's Fan Favorite Showrunners panel. Celebrating the magazine's 60th anniversary and moderated by LA bureau chief Michael Schneider, the all-star lineup included Greg Plageman (Person of Interest), Jeff Davis (Teen Wolf), Remi Aubuchon (Falling Skies), Glen Mazzara (The Walking Dead), Steven Molaro (The Big Bang Theory) and Julie Plec (The Vampire Diaries).
Over the course of the hour-long conversation, the producers discussed their biggest career inspirations, and Molaro singled out the classic sitcoms Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley. When an address by President Ford interrupted their broadcast one night, "I sat down and wrote an angry letter to the president," Molaro said with a laugh. "And I got a letter back from the White House apologizing!"
The showrunners also revealed the oddest network notes they've received. Plec said that while violence is prevalent on The Vampire Diaries, The CW execs always have issues with nudity and "side butt," or a shot of an actor nude from his midsection to his thigh. "We've also had problems with side butt!" Davis added.
While each showrunner has experience managing a genre show, they were quick to acknowledge the driving factor to the success of their series. "Ultimately what the audience cares about are the human characters," Aubuchon said. And when a character has to die, the producers don't take it lightly. "It is about the emotional connection to these characters, so we really spend a lot of time setting up the deaths and you really cry and feel pain when these characters are killed off," Mazzara said.
A few nuggets of scoop were also sprinkled in throughout the chat. Plageman teased that viewers will learn how Finch got his limp by the end of Person of Interest's second season, and Falling Skies will introduce a new alien presence in its third season. On The Vampire Diaries, viewers will see Silas' real face, the cure will get ingested, and Klaus "might be around to wish Caroline a happy graduation," Plec teased.
When asked for a Big Bang Theory teaser, Molaro admitted the season finale had not yet been written, just two weeks before the scheduled table read. "I'm available!" joked Mazzara, who recently left his showrunning position on The Walking Dead — and was equally tight-lipped about March 31's Season 3 finale. "There will be blood, so watch it and DVR Game of Thrones!"