MLP Writers Stats

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Mr. Big
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MLP Writers Stats

Post by Mr. Big (?) » Mon Oct 28, 2019 8:04 pm

Figure this deserves its own thread. Don't know if people still care about this, but with show now being over, I thought it'd be fun to look at stats of the show's writers.

The following have written or co-written 10 or more episodes (I'm only counting episodes where they have "written by" credit for this purpose):

Josh Haber (26 episodes)
Meghan McCarthy (18 episodes)
M.A. Larson (17 episodes)
Amy Keating Rogers (17 episodes)
Michael Vogel (14 episodes)
Dave Polsky (13 episodes)
Nicole Dubuc (12 episodes)
Cindy Morrow (11 episodes)
Joanna Lewis & Kristine Songco (11 episodes)
Nick Confalone (10 episodes)

So Josh Haber wrote the most episodes. He even wrote the series finale.

Of all the first season writers I believe Meghan McCarthy is the only one who stuck around for the show's entire run, although for the final few seasons she was only in a producer role; the final episode she scripted was the "Twilight's Kingdom" two-parter in season 4. After that she got "story by" credit for 8 more episodes, the last of which was "Top Bolt" in season 6.

M.A. Larson was another season 1 writer who lasted a long time; his final episode was "Fame and Misfortune" in season 7 (and thus the final episode written by a first season writer).

There has also been numerous writers who only did one episode:

Betsy McGowen ("Power Ponies", with Meghan McCarthy and Charlotte Fullerton)
Gregory Bonsignore ("Sounds of Silence")
F.M. De Marco ("28 Pranks Later")
Jennifer Skelly ("Buckball Season")
Barry Safchik & Michael Platt ("Campfire Tales")
Becky Wangberg ("Hard to Say Anything")
Ariel Shepherd-Oppenheim ("A Horse Shoe-In")
Gail Simone ("Between Dark and Dawn")

As people noted throughout, more and more writers came and went sometimes in the second half of the show's run, which admittingly makes keeping track difficult. But I thought I'd note some of the interesting stats for the sake of this thread.

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Re: MLP Writers Stats

Post by Mr. Big (?) » Mon Oct 28, 2019 8:46 pm

This is a list of writers who worked on season 1, and what subsequent seasons they were writers on:

Lauren Faust (season 1 only)
Amy Keating Rogers (seasons 1-2, 4-5)
Cindy Morrow (seasons 1-3, 5)
Chris Savino (season 1 only)
Meghan McCarthy (seasons 1-4)
Charlotte Fullerton (seasons 1-2, 4)
M.A. Larson (seasons 1-3, 5, 7)
Dave Polsky (seasons 1, 3-6)

So on average they were involved in about 3-5 seasons altogether. Lauren Faust only wrote episodes in season 1, but she was a show-runner for the 1st season and part of the second.

As for Chris Savino, given what we know now, I wonder if there's a reason why he never returned after the 1st season :-I

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Re: MLP Writers Stats

Post by Perrydotto (?) » Mon Oct 28, 2019 9:43 pm

Chris Savino only wrote the one episode he did as a favor he owed to Lauren. He wasn't tapped to come back in any case, as far as I remember.

Gail Simone having a writer credit on My Little Pony is still wild to me.
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Re: MLP Writers Stats

Post by Mr. Big (?) » Mon Oct 28, 2019 10:03 pm

Savino wrote two ("Boast Busters" and "Stare Master"), but yeah, both were favors for Faust.
Perrydotto wrote:
Mon Oct 28, 2019 9:43 pm
Gail Simone having a writer credit on My Little Pony is still wild to me.
I'd like to think there was somebody on Pony staff who were like "Shit, the show's nearly over. Let's get Simone to write an episode for us."

She's primarily a comic book writer with only a handful of TV credits, making her Pony credit even more notable.

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Re: MLP Writers Stats

Post by Mr. Big (?) » Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:26 am

Speaking of oddballs in the writing staff, there were a few that sticks out. Kevin Lappin wrote 3 episodes in season 7, and so far that seems to be his only animation credit. He's otherwise a live-action guy, writing episodes of shows like "Mike & Molly".

Natasha Levinger (seasons 4 and 5) is another mysterious writer. Glancing at her IMDB profile, the only non-MLP writing credit she has is a 2004 TV movie called "My Sexiest Mistake" :-I Googling her name doesn't show much, aside from bits and pieces of what she does.

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Re: MLP Writers Stats

Post by Perpetual Motion (?) » Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:34 am

Looking at IMDB, Haber had a pretty extensive run as a story editor (seasons 6-8), so him having his hands all over the stories makes sense. What's interesting is that he was still writing episodes even after his promotion to producer for season 9, including the epilogue itself, something Meghan McCarthy definitely didn't do.

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Re: MLP Writers Stats

Post by Mr. Big (?) » Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:41 am

Perpetual Motion wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:34 am
Looking at IMDB, Haber had a pretty extensive run as a story editor (seasons 6-8), so him having his hands all over the stories makes sense. What's interesting is that he was still writing episodes even after his promotion to producer for season 9, including the epilogue itself, something Meghan McCarthy definitely didn't do.
Haber was also story editor for season 9 (which isn't reflected on IMDB yet), so yeah, by all accounts I think he was kinda-sorta showrunner for the final seasons.

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Re: MLP Writers Stats

Post by Mr. Big (?) » Tue Oct 29, 2019 12:00 pm

Speaking of story editors, the show went through several:

Rob Renzetti (seasons 1 and 2)
Meghan McCarthy (seasons 3, 4, and 16 episodes of 5, rotating with M.A. Larson)
M.A. Larson (10 episodes of season 5, rotating with Meghan McCarthy)
Josh Haber (seasons 6, nine episodes of 7, and all of 8 and 9. He shared duties with Lewis & Songco in five episodes of 7 and Nicole Dubuc in 8 and first half of 9)
Joanna Lewis & Kristine Songco (most of season 7, some of which they shared duties with Josh Haber)
Nicole Dubuc (seasons 8 and the first half of 9, sharing duties with Josh Haber)

Interestingly Rob Renzetti never scripted an episode himself, although he was heavily involved in the writing process for the first two seasons.

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Re: MLP Writers Stats

Post by Mr. Big (?) » Fri Nov 01, 2019 12:53 pm

Thinking back, I wonder if the show had a "official" showrunner towards the end.

Lauren Faust ran the show in the 1st season and part of the 2nd (IIRC, Rob Renzetti stayed behind to finish the season, then left himself).

Meghan McCarthy took over from seasons 3 to at least 5, then Hasbro promoted her up to run the entire girls cartoon division. McCarthy was technically still involved in Ponies, but only in a producer role.

After that, it gets murky. Josh Haber seems to have had the most say for the remainder of the show's run, although even then there was a period where the Lady Writers (Lewis & Songco) were the head writers. Haber was eventually promoted to a producer role as well, with Nicole Dubuc as an executive producer for seasons 8 and the first half of 9.

Also, it's possible that Jim Miller, having taken over Jayson Thiessen's chair after he left, was the de-facto show-runner.

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Re: MLP Writers Stats

Post by SigmasonicX (?) » Sat Nov 02, 2019 1:29 am

From Jim Miller's tweets, he wasn't involved in the scripts, or at least he responds to a lot of questions with "that's what was in the script (shrug)". So he probably wasn't a showrunner in any way close to Faust and McCarthy.

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Re: MLP Writers Stats

Post by Mr. Big (?) » Sat Nov 02, 2019 1:41 am

I know few people brought it up, so here's a gender breakdown for the writers by the season (again, only counting "written by" credits for this).

Season 1
19 episodes by women (Faust, Keating Rogers, Morrow, McCarthy, Fullerton)
7 episodes by men (Savino, Polsky, Larson)

Season 2
19 episodes by women (McCarthy, Morrow, Keating Rogers, Fullerton, Williams)
7 episodes episodes by men (Larson)

Season 3
8 episodes by women (McCarthy, Morrow, Powell, Williams)
5 episodes by men (Larson, Polsky)

Season 4
14 episodes by women (McCarthy, Fullerton, McGowen, Williams, Levinger, Keating Rogers, Benvenuti)
12 episodes by men (Haber, Polsky, Valentine, Sonneborn)

Season 5
12 episodes by women (Lewis, Songco, Morrow, Levinger, Keating Rogers, Benvenuti, Berrow)
14 episodes by men (Sonneborn, Larson, Haber, Polsky, Dusedau, Confalone)

Season 6
3 episodes by women (Lewis, Songco, Skelly)
23 episodes by men (Haber, Fox Brothers, Polsky, Confalone, Rapp, Vogel, Valentine, De Marco, Burke, Wyatt)

Season 7
12 episodes written by women (Lewis, Songco, Crowley, Wetta, Berrow, Wangberg, Jo Flores, Dubuc)
12 episodes written by men (Confalone, Fox Brothers, Hamilton, Lappin, Larson, Safchik, Platt, Haber)
2 episodes written by mixed group ("Shadow Play" two-parter by Haber and Dubuc)

Season 8
6 episodes written by women (Dubuc, Berrow, Beyer-Johnson)
18 episodes written by men (Vogel, Confalone, Hamilton, Hohlfeld, Mpambara, Rapp, Haber, Confalone, Wyatt, Burke, Fox Brothers, Bonsignore)
2 episodes written by mixed group ("School Daze" two-parter by Vogel and Dubuc)

Season 9
11 episodes written by women (Lewis, Songco, Dubuc, Berrow, Beyer-Johnson, Simone, Jo Flores, Shepherd-Oppenheim)
14 episodes written by men (Haber, Hohfield, Vogel, Rapp, Fox Brothers, Mpambara, Confalone, Valentine)
1 episode written by mixed group ("Sparkle's Seven" by Haber and Dubuc)

So in the first few seasons, majority of the episodes were being written by women, but starting around season 4 more and more men joined the writing staff.

This went to head in season 6, where a whopping 23 episodes were written by men, with only 3 written by women. Season 8 had 20 by at least one male writer, with 8 featuring female writers.

Season 7 was more balanced, with equal number being written by men and women. Season 9 is sorta balanced, although slight majority were written by at least one male writer.

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