March 5, 2023

News Release: December 23, 2008

William Blinn to Receive WGAW’s 2009 Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television

2009 Award Recipient

Veteran television writer William Blinn will receive the Writers Guild of America West’s 2009 Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television honoring lifetime achievement for outstanding television writing at the 2009 Writers Guild Awards’ West Coast ceremony on Saturday, February 7, 2009, in Los Angeles.


“William Blinn's writing changed the face of television," said WGAW President Patric M. Verrone. "He has credits that few can match and all can envy.”

Two-time Writers Guild Award and Emmy-winning Blinn has penned some of the most critically acclaimed and highest-rated television program of the last 40 years, including ABC’s ratings record-breaking, decade-defining Roots miniseries and memorable telefilms such as Brian’s Song, The Boys Next Door, and A Question of Love.

A five-time Emmy nominee, Blinn earned his first Emmy Award in 1972 (Outstanding Writing Achievement in Drama – Adapted) for his teleplay for true-life sports drama Brian’s Song, based on the book I Am Third by Gale Sayers with Ali Silverman, which also garnered him both a Writers Guild Award (Television Anthology – Adapted) and Peabody Award that same year. In 1977, he received his second Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series for his work on ABC’s primetime phenomenon Roots (“Show #2), written by Blinn and Ernest Kinoy, based on the book by Alex Haley. In addition, Blinn earned a prestigious Humanitas Prize in the 60-minute category for co-writing Roots (“Show #4) with James Lee.

A six-time WGA nominee, Blinn received his second Writers Guild Award in 1997 for his teleplay for Hallmark Hall of Fame telefilm The Boys Next Door, as well as his second Humanitas Prize nomination, based on the play by William Stevenson. Blinn’s other television writing credits include TV series including Fame (for which he shared three consecutive Emmy nominations during the early ‘80s), Eight is Enough (for which he received a WGA nomination for Episodic Drama for “The Gipper Caper” in 1978), and The New Land (for which he received a WGA nomination for Episodic Drama for “The Word Is: Growth”), as well as the miniseries A Man Called Intrepid (for which he received a WGA nomination for Long Form Multi-Part for “Part II”), based on the book by William Stevenson. In addition, Blinn has penned such telefilms such as Shaughnessy (teleplay for Blinn, based on the book Iron Marshall by Louis L’Amour), The Outside Woman, and All God’s Children.

Over the past five decades, Blinn has created and written for such TV series such as Starsky & Hutch (later turned into a box-office hit in 2003), Hunter, Gunsmoke, Heaven Help Us, and The New Land, as well as written or co-written multiple episodes for series including Aaron’s Way (which he also developed), Our House, The Magical World of Disney, The Rookies (which he also developed), The Big Valley, Shane, Bonanza, My Favorite Martian, Rawhide, The Lazarus Syndrome, American Dream, The Interns (which he developed for television), and Here Come the Brides, among others. On the big screen, Blinn’s feature writing credits include Prince’s ‘80s funk-rock juggernaut Purple Rain (co-written by Albert Magnoli).

Named after one of the most lauded writers in entertainment history, the Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television is the Guild’s highest award for television writing, given to writers who have advanced the literature of television throughout the years and made outstanding contributions to the profession of the television writer. Previous award recipients include Rod Sterling, Norman Lear, Steven Bochco, Susan Harris, Stephen J. Cannell, John Wells, and the Guild’s most recent honoree, David Chase.