7 items from 2016
Aaron Sorkin, the creator of “The West Wing” and “The Social Network,” will receive the Writers Guild of America, West’s 2017 Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Writing Achievement in recognition of his career and work in writing for television.
“Starting with ‘Sports Night,’ through ‘The West Wing,’ ‘Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,’ ‘The Newsroom’ and beyond, Aaron Sorkin has changed the language of television,” said Wgaw President Howard A. Rodman. “His knowing, incisive, witty, brave, deeply intelligent writing has raised the bar for the rest of us, defined the notion of behind-the-scenes, and has in the process reminded us, again and again, of the special responsibilities that accrue to our profession. For as long as people walk and talk – at the same time, of course – Sorkin’s dialogue will be remembered. But more crucially, we want to remember the ways he has always encouraged us, as humans and as citizens, to »
- Debra Birnbaum
Former NBC chairman-ceo Grant Tinker, a revered producer and executive who founded Mtm Enterprises with Mary Tyler Moore and later rose to the challenge of taking NBC from last place to first, has died. He was 90.
Tinker died Monday at his home in California, according to a report Wednesday on NBC’s “Today.”
“Grant Tinker was a great man who made an indelible mark on NBC and the history of television that continues to this day,” NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke said. “He loved creative people and protected them, while still expertly managing the business. Very few people have been able to achieve such a balance. We try to live up to the standards he set each and every day. Our hearts go out to his family and friends.”
The poised, avuncular Tinker’s television career spanned almost half a century, from its inception through the 1990s. He usually took the high road on most of his projects »
- Richard Natale
If you were a TV critic from 1956 to 1976, you would have witnessed some big changes in the business: the rise and fall of the Western as the dominant primetime genre, or the color TV boom, or CBS' shift from silly rural comedies to socially conscious ones like All in the Family and M*A*S*H. If you covered the beat from 1976 to 1996, you would have written about Hill Street Blues and its many imitators, the classic years of SNL, and the early days of original cable programming. Almost any 20-year span would give you a front row seat to enormous artistic and technological change. As of this week, I've been professionally writing about television for exactly 20 years(*), and it's safe to say that the only two-decade period that featured a more radical transformation in how television was made and consumed would be back when the medium was first introduced into America's living rooms. »
- Alan Sepinwall
In one of the biggest TV culls of recent memory, ABC today cut a veritable swathe through some of its most well known and long-running material, cancelling a raft of shows with a built-in pedigree and audience. Castle is one of the most prominent, a Steven J. Cannell-esque procedural detective show that has seen the ever-adored Nathan Fillion as the titular crime author-turned sleuth partnered with Stana Katic’s tough cop, allowing for eight seasons of largely ‘will they, won’t they?’. The revival of The Muppets has gone, and while they have done fairly well in recent years back at the box office, the Jim Henson legends have suffered creatively and crucially in terms of viewership on the small screen. Perhaps the most expected goodbye is to Marvel’s Agent Carter, the mid-season replacement for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, which ran for two seasons »
- Tony Black
Creating a slasher movie in 1986 wasn’t a monumental feat, as the horror genre had seen its fair share of cinematic killers over the years, but it was a culmination of many elements that made April Fool’s Day one of the best of its era. With a focused and experienced director at the helm, a clever script filled with laughs and unexpected thrills, and an affable ensemble of actors who were infectiously likeable and endlessly talented, April Fool’s Day is an underappreciated gem and is truly unlike any other genre film of its, or any, time.
Written by Danilo Bach and directed by Fred Walton, April Fool’s Day follows a group of college students—Kit (Amy Steel), Rob (Ken Olandt), Nikki (Deborah Goodrich), Chaz (Clayton Rohner), Arch (Tom Wilson), Harvey (Jay Baker), Skip (Griffin O’Neal), and Nan (Leah Pinsent)—who head out to their pal Muffy »
- Heather Wixson
Final Draft Inc. has announced Paul Schrader as its Hall of Fame Award honoree for the 11th annual Final Draft Awards.
The Hall of Fame Award honors a writer whose work has had a profound influence on the industry. Schrader has written many classics, including “Taxi Driver,” “Raging Bull,” The Last Temptation of Christ,” “The Mosquito Coast” and “Bringing Out the Dead.” He also wrote and directed “Affliction,” “American Gigolo” and “Mishima: A Life in four Chapters.”
“As we mark our 25th year in business, we have so much to celebrate at the Final Draft Awards this year. I’m especially honored to bestow iconic screenwriter Paul Schrader with our Hall of Fame Award during this historic year,” said Marc Madnick, CEO of Final Draft, Inc. “In addition, our partnership with the Writers Guild Foundation is another great way to observe our anniversary and helps to further our mission of »
- Jacob Bryant
The duo will be honored at the Writers Guild Awards West Coast ceremony on Feb. 13 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles.
“From ‘Dream On’ to ‘Grace and Frankie’ and ‘Episodes,’ they have individually and in partnership raised the bar for smart, funny writing. And then there’s ‘Friends,’ whose cleverness of storytelling, clarity of character development, consistent wisdom and wit made it one of the most memorable television series in history – it inhabited our living rooms for a decade, and will inhabit the culture forever. We salute them for what they have done, and for raising the bar for the rest of us. »
- Dave McNary
7 items from 2016
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