Young Comic TV Showrunners From Left Field

Over the last 15 years, Ms. Vilaysack has worked her way up through comedy’s improv-podcast-TV industrial complex — writing sketches and performing improv at Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, hosting the pop-culture podcast “Who Charted?, filming web videos and making appearances on more than two dozen shows (like NBC’s “The Office” and Netflix’s “Love”).

An inveterate viewer of reality shows like Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles” and HGTV’s “Property Brothers,” she concocted “Bajillion” and its diverse coterie of hypercompetitive real estate brokers. Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant, the improv and sketch performers who created “Reno 911!,” joined “Bajillion” early in development as executive producers, and the show sold to Seeso, NBC’s streaming network devoted to comedy.

“I thought that real estate world — high stress, high stakes — and that ‘Million Dollar Listing’ style would lend itself to comedy,” she said.

But being the showrunner herself wasn’t even a consideration — at first. Ms. Vilaysack didn’t think she had the right experience to run a TV show. “When I thought I could be the showrunner,” she said, “was when Tom Lennon said, ‘So, you’ll showrun it, right?’ And I thought, Yeah, I will showrun it.”


Second row, from right, Jenji Kohan, Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch on the “Glow” set.

Erica Parise/Netflix

Matt Besser, a U.C.B. co-founder and host of the podcast “improv4humans, believes that Ms. Vilaysack’s background is well suited for the job. “One skill that’s common to improv and podcasting is working with other people, which is not something that comes right away” in a career, he said.

Even though a spoof of reality…

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