Sunday
April 14, 2024

News Release: April 2, 2024

Linda Bloodworth Thomason to Receive WGAW’s 2024 Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Writing Achievement

2024 Award Recipient

Multiple Emmy-nominated television creator-writer, director, and producer Linda Bloodworth Thomason (Designing Women, Evening Shade) has been named the recipient of the WGAW 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 2024 Writers Guild Awards ceremony on Sunday, April 14.

“This award is especially meaningful not only because it comes from the people in our industry who I revere the most—the writers—but also because it was previously given to my three iconic mentors, Norman Lear, Larry Gelbart and James L. Brooks,” said Bloodworth Thomason. “And no matter how patently absurd that is, I simply don’t have enough character to turn it down.”

Bloodworth Thomason launched her career with an Emmy-nominated script on M*A*S*H* in 1973, where she continued working while also joining the hit Mary Tyler Moore Show spinoff Rhoda before creating and producing her first series Filthy Rich in 1982. Filthy Rich would lay the groundwork for Bloodworth Thomason creating the landmark comedy series Designing Women by bringing her together with actresses and collaborators Delta Burke, Dixie Carter, Annie Potts, and Jean Smart—Smart will be presenting the award on April 14 at the Hollywood Palladium.

Designing Women would receive numerous Emmy nominations during its seven-season run including Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series for Bloodworth Thomason’s writing of the 1987 episode “Killing all the Right People”—one of the first sitcom episodes of television to address the AIDS crisis. Bloodworth Thomason would create, write, and produce the critically acclaimed ‘90’s sitcoms Hearts Afire and Evening Shade—a love letter to her family’s Arkansas roots.

In addition to her work in television, Bloodworth Thomason and her husband, director Harry Thomason, served as co-chairs for the 1992 Presidential Inauguration. Bloodworth Thomason would go on to write and direct multiple campaign documentaries including The Man from Hope and the 1996 and 2020 Democratic National Convention documentaries. In 2013, she wrote and directed her first feature-length documentary Bridegroom, which would go on to receive the 2014 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Documentary. 

In 2004, her first novel, Liberating Paris, became a New York Times bestseller and in 2020, Bloodworth Thomason revisited the women of Sugarbaker & Associates with the stage play Designing Women – 2020: The Big Split. She has received the Lucy Award from Women In Film, The Eleanor Roosevelt Freedom of Speech Award and The Silver Satellite Award (the highest honor bestowed by American Women in Radio and Television), as well as numerous awards from GLAAD, Viewers for Quality Television, and the GLSEN lifetime achievement award.

Prior to entering the entertainment industry, Bloodworth Thomason was a reporter for the L.A.-based legal newspaper The Daily Journal before becoming an English teacher for the L.A. Unified School District at Jordan High School in Watts. 

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 Yvette Lee Bowser, Merrill Markoe, Jenji Kohan, Diane English, Aaron Sorkin, Steven Bochco, Susan Harris, Stephen J. Cannell, Shonda Rhimes, David Chase, Marta Kauffman & David Crane, Larry David, Garry Marshall, and Alison Cross.