April 14, 2024

News Release: January 16, 2019

Orange Is the New Black and Weeds Creator Jenji Kohan to Receive WGAW’s 2019 Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Writing Achievement

Jenji Kohan
Photo: Jason LaVeris/Getty Images
2019 Award Recipient

Television series creator-showrunner Jenji Kohan (Orange is the New Black, Weeds) has been named the recipient of the Writers Guild of America West’s 2019 Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Writing Achievement, presented to a Guild member who has “advanced the literature of television and made outstanding contributions to the profession of the television writer.” She will be honored at the WGAW’s 2019 Writers Guild Awards L.A. show on Sunday, February 17, 2019.


“Jenji Kohan's work is what all good writers aspire to – touching on the harsh but also comedic realities of life through characters that don't sound written, that talk like real people. Her scenes can be comic and tragic simultaneously; while she engages, she also unnerves, pushing us out of our comfort zone. Her work has truly advanced the literature of television, and the WGAW Board of Directors considers it our honor to give her this award,” said WGAW President David A. Goodman.

Named as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World (2014), Kohan is the creator and executive producer of acclaimed series Orange is the New Black and Weeds, as well as executive producer and writer on GLOW.

A WGAW member since 1993, Kohan’s writing credits include penning episodes of Will & Grace, Gilmore Girls, Tracey Takes On…, Sex and the City, Mad About You, Boston Common, The Stones (which she created), and Fresh Prince of Bel Air, her debut writing credit in 1994.

In addition to garnering a 2006 Writers Guild Award for Episodic Comedy for her Weeds episode, “You Can’t Miss the Bear,” Kohan has received multiple WGA nominations for her work on GLOW (Comedy Series and New Series, 2018), Orange is the New Black (Comedy Series, 2014 and 2015; New Series, 2014; Episodic Comedy for the show’s pilot, 2014), Weeds (Comedy Series, 2009), and Tracey Takes On… (Comedy/Variety Series, 1997).

An Emmy winner for work on Tracey Takes On… (Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Series, 1997), Kohan is also a multiple Emmy nominee for a diverse range of series over the years, including GLOW (Outstanding Comedy Series, 2018), Orange is the New Black (Outstanding Drama Series, 2015; Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, 2014), Weeds (Outstanding Comedy Series, 2009), Tracey Takes On… (Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Series, 1999; Outstanding Writing for a Variety or Music Program, 1996 and 1997; Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Special for The Best of Tracey Takes On…, 1996), and Mad About You (Outstanding Comedy Series, 1997). She also shared a CableACE Award for Tracey Takes On… for Variety Special or Series.

In 2015, she shared a PGA Award (Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Comedy) for Orange is the New Black, as well as received three previous PGA noms as an executive producer on Weeds in 2007, 2009, and 2010.

Next on her slate, Kohan is executive producing the docu-series Worn Stories and comedy Slutty Teenage Bounty Hunters for Netflix.

Born in Los Angeles into a family of television writers, she is the daughter of veteran TV comedy/variety writer Buz Kohan and sister of Will & Grace co-creator David Kohan.

Named after one of the most influential writers in entertainment history, the Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Writing Achievement is the WGAW’s highest award for television writing. Past Television Laurel Award recipients include Diane English, Aaron Sorkin, Steven Bochco, Susan Harris, Stephen J. Cannell, Shonda Rhimes, David Chase, Marta Kauffman & David Crane, Larry David, Garry Marshall, and most recently Alison Cross.