A group of five female showrunners working on Lifetime drama series parsed the impact of the revelations of the past few months and the long-term impact of women rising in prominence and power in the television industry. The women gathered Sunday afternoon as part of Lifetime’s portion of the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif.
“What I want at the end of this ‘Me Too’ moment is so much more than just a safe working environment,” said Stacy Rukeyser, showrunner of “Unreal,” the drama set behind the scenes of a “Bachelor”-eques reality series.
“What I want is to get our shows on the air,” she said. “I want to get rid of the assumption that female-created or (showrunners) are going to be quote-unquote
Jenji Kohan is making it official with Netflix. The “Orange Is the New Black” creator has signed a multi-year overall deal with the streaming giant, Variety reports. Kohan’s female-led prison dramedy has earned four Emmy awards during its five-season run on Netflix. She’s also an executive producer on the streamer’s acclaimed women’s wrestling series “Glow,” which will be returning for a second season next year.
The deal sees Kohan developing new original series and other projects for Netflix.
“Bold, outspoken, and totally fearless, Jenji has constantly raised the bar for storytelling at Netflix,” said Cindy Holland, vice president of original content at Netflix. “She possesses a rare and special talent to say what’s unspoken, choose the unexpected over the safe, and drive the cultural conversation — and audiences love her for it. She has been with us from the beginning and
“Women are powerful storytellers and the female perspective needs to be amplified,” said Jamie Singer, CEO Ussie and head of the NeueHouse Madison Square Women’s Forum. “Lifetime has brought together some of the most inspiring women in Hollywood to share their stories. I am honored that we get to support them with NeueHouse as well as learn from them privately through this partnership.”
The screening series will debut on Oct. 23 with “Flint” starring Queen Latifah, Jill Scott, Betsy Brandt and Marin Ireland, followed by “I Am Elizabeth Smart” with Skeet Ulrich, Deirdre Lovejoy and Alana Boden on Nov. 13. Other films in
Like the protagonists of her shows “Weeds” and “Orange Is the New Black,” Jenji Kohan isn’t shy about speaking her mind. And she won’t hesitate to call someone out if she needs to. This is evident from the “Glow” Executive Producer’s recent interview with The New Yorker. The piece sees Kohan talk openly about the numerous sexist interactions (and people) she’s encountered throughout her career as a TV writer and showrunner.
Her first writing job on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” sounds like it was a nightmare. The writer’s room was a “toxic mess,” the source reveals, and only one other writer was a woman. Kohan’s fellow writers called her “White Devil Jew Bitch.”
After breaking into the business at “Fresh Prince,” Kohan experienced “a dozen years of stunted ambition and Hollywood sexism,” The New Yorker writes. “She had her ‘tit grabbed’; her name was taken off a script. Once, when she was pregnant and about to have a job interview, her agent advised her to wear a big shirt and eat candy, so that the showrunner would think she was just fat. After a pitch meeting for ‘The Larry Sanders Show,’ her agent told her that the show’s star, Garry Shandling, wasn’t comfortable working with women.”
Things weren’t much better when she was able to land jobs. “I was fired from everything,” Kohan recalls. And in 2003 CBS picked up her pilot “The Stones” but the studio didn’t want her as the series’ boss. They ended up making her brother, David, and his partner the showrunners.
Kohan did eventually become a successful TV writer, even before “Weeds” began. She worked on beloved series like “Friends,” “Gilmore Girls,” and “Sex and the City” as well as “a few not-great sitcoms where she had good bosses.” But — finding it difficult to keep a satisfying job that would allow her to have a life — Kohan ended up writing over 15 pilots so she could “oversee her own show and control her hours.”
Happily, Kohan did manage to work in the writers’ room of her dreams — but it was one she had to fight for and make herself. When she created “Weeds,” the Showtime comedy about a drug dealing widow, studio execs like Bob Greenblatt “were uncomfortable with its twisted morality” and sent her endless notes. “I’d write back, note by note, for pages,” Kohan says. “Finally, [Greenblatt] wrote back a short e-mail that just said, ‘Fine, do what you want.’ . . . And I took it as carte blanche.”
Lifetime recently gave a straight-to-series order to Kohan’s next project, “American Princess.” From “Orange Is the New Black” actress Jamie Denbo, the show centers on Amanda, who joins a Renaissance Fair after her fiancé cheats on her and she suffers a nervous breakdown. Kohan will serve as exec producer.
“Glow,” the Netflix series Kohan exec produces, was renewed for a second season earlier this month. Created by “Nurse Jackie” producers Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, “Glow” follows Ruth (Alison Brie, “Community”), a struggling actress who gets the opportunity to be a Gorgeous Lady of Wrestling and finds it is the role she was born to play. The fact that Ruth’s former best friend (Betty Gilpin, “Nurse Jackie”) is also part of the show adds to the drama.
Head over to The New Yorker to read the full interview with Kohan.
Jenji Kohan Recounts Sexism She Faced While Building Her Writing Career was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
Like the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling themselves, Jenji Kohan is kicking ass. News has broken that the Kohan-executive produced Netflix series “Glow” will be back for a second season, and that Lifetime has given a straight-to-series order to Kohan’s next project, “American Princess.”
Netflix gave “Glow” the official go-ahead for Season 2 on Thursday, Variety confirms. Created by “Nurse Jackie” producers Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, “Glow” follows Ruth (Alison Brie, “Community”), a struggling actress who gets the opportunity to be a Gorgeous Lady of Wrestling and finds it is the role she was born to play. The fact that Ruth’s former best friend (Betty Gilpin, “Nurse Jackie”) is also part of the show adds to the drama behind the scenes.
Kohan exec produces the series alongside frequent collaborator Tara Herrmann, Flahive, and Mensch. Marc Maron (“Maron”), Sydelle Noel (“Extant”), and Britney Young (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”) also star.
Kohan will also be an Ep on “American Princess,” which comes from “Orange Is the New Black” actress Jamie Denbo. According to Deadline, the show will center on Amanda, whose “storybook wedding plans are dramatically derailed when she discovers her fiancé is cheating on her, just hours before they are to be wed. Outraged, Amanda reacts violently to the indiscretions and runs away from her own dream wedding in the countryside, only to find herself stranded in the middle of a Renaissance Faire with no phone and no way home. She soon discovers her outburst has made tabloid headlines and experiences a nervous breakdown, leading her to re-evaluate her life. The unexpected awakening leads Amanda to leave everything she thought she cared about behind, to become the Faire’s newest wench-in-waiting.”
Denbo serves as creator and writer on the hourlong series. She will exec produce alongside Kohan and Herrmann.
“Jenji has always taken interesting and unconventional worlds and given them heart and humor,” Lifetime head of programming Liz Gateley said in a statement. “From the get-go, ‘American Princess’ was a concept we loved as it’s incredibly relatable to want to parachute from one’s life in difficult times. In Jenji, Jamie, and Tara’s hands, we know this will be hilarious and special.”
Kohan is the creator and showrunner of Netflix’s flagship series “Orange Is the New Black,” a dramedy set in a women’s minimum security prison that premiered in summer 2013. Before that she served as showrunner and the main creative voice on Showtime’s “Weeds” from 2005 to 2012. The long-running comedy followed Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker), a woman who decides to sell pot in order to preserve her comfortable, suburban lifestyle after her husband’s death.
“Mad About You,” “Sex and the City,” “Tracey Takes On…” and “Gilmore Girls” are credits on Kohan’s stacked resume. Among her many award nominations and wins, Kohan has nabbed an Emmy for “Tracey Takes On…” a WGA Award for “Weeds,” a PGA Award for “Orange,” and a Global Women’s Rights Award.
“Glow” Gets Renewed for Season 2, New Jenji Kohan Series Picked Up was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
The series is a fictionalized account of a real all-female wrestling TV show in the 1980’s. It focuses on Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie), an out-of-work, struggling actress in 1980s Los Angeles who finds one last chance for stardom when she auditions for a spot with the upstart promotion Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. In addition to working with 12 Hollywood misfits, Ruth also has to compete with Debbie Eagan (Betty Gilpin), her best friend and a former soap actress, and boss Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron), a washed-up, B-movie director.
The series also stars Ellen Wong, Britt Baron, Kimmy Gatewood, Betty Gilpin, Rebekka Johnson, Sunita Mani, Sydelle Noel, Gayle Rankin, Kia Stevens, Jackie Tohn, and Britney Young. It was created by Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch. “Orange Is the New Black” creator Jenji Kohan and Tara Herrmann executive produce alongside Flahive and Mensch, who
American Princess comes from Kohan and her fellow Orange producers Jamie Denbo and Tara Herrmann. It weaves the tale of a socialite from Manhattan's ritzy Upper East Side named Amanda who discovers her fiancé is cheating
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The series hails from A+E Studios and Im Global Television and. Denbo (“Ronna & Beverly”) created the series and will exec producer with “Orange Is the New Black” showrunner Kohan and “Oitnb” vet Tara Herrmann.
“Jenji has always taken interesting and unconventional worlds and given them heart and humor,” said Liz Gateley, Lifetime’s exec VP and head of programming. “From the get-go, ‘American Princess’ was a concept we loved as it’s incredibly relatable to want to parachute from one’s life in difficult times. In Jenji, Jamie and Tara’s hands, we know this will be hilarious and special.”
Lifetime has ordered 10 episodes. The series centers on an Upper East Side socialite who becomes a viral sensation for bailing out on her dream countryside wedding
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The network has bestowed a straight-to-series order upon American Princess, a one-hour scripted series about a “socialite who runs off to join a Renaissance Faire after her wedding goes awry,” TVLine has learned.
American Princess, of which 10 episodes have been ordered, hails from from Orange Is the New Black‘s Jenji Kohan, Jamie Denbo, and Tara Herrmann.
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“Jenji has always taken interesting and unconventional
The female-skewing cable network has handed out a 10-episode straight-to-series order for drama American Princess, from Orange Is the New Black's Jenji Kohan, Jamie Denbo and Tara Herrmann.
The drama, a co-production between A+E Studios and Im Global Television, revolves around a socialite who runs off to join a Renaissance faire after her wedding goes awry.
American Princess is created, written and executive produced by Denbo, who starred as Shelly on Kohan's Netflix prison dramedy Orange. Kohan and Herrmann (Glow) also exec produce.
“Jenji has always taken...
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