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Writers Guild Awards: Linda Bloodworth Thomason to Receive WGAW 2024 TV Laurel Award


Los Angeles – Multiple Emmy-nominated television creator-writer, director, and producer Linda Bloodworth Thomason (Designing WomenEvening 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 cochairs 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.

The Writers Guild Awards honor outstanding writing in film, television, new media, news (broadcast and digital), radio/audio, and promotional categories. The 2024 Writers Guild Awards (76th Annual) will be held on Sunday, April 14, 2024. For more information about the 2024 Writers Guild Awards, please visit awards.wga.org or wgaeast.org/awards.

The Writers Guild of America West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America East (WGAE) are labor unions representing writers in motion pictures, television, cable, digital media, and broadcast news. The Guilds negotiate and administer contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of their members; conduct programs, seminars, and events on issues of interest to writers; and present writers’ views to various bodies of government. For more information on the Writers Guild of America West, visit www.wga.org. For more information on the Writers Guild of America East, visit www.wgaeast.org.


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Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and TV Critic at The Hollywood Times, a showbiz/promotions aggregate mainly for insiders. She has written for Communications Daily in DC, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International in NYC. Valerie works closely with GLSEN, GLAAD, Human Rights Campaign (Fed Club Council Member), LAMBDA Legal, NCLR, and Outfest. She is also a member of the LA Press Club. She is a lay minister and parishioner of the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Hollywood. Milano loves meeting people and does so in her getaway home in Palm Springs as a member of the Palm Springs Museum, Palm Springs Center and DAP Health (Partners for Life member). For years Valerie Milano had volunteered as a board member and one of the chief organizers for the Television Critics Association’s press tours. The tours take place twice a year in Beverly Hills/Pasadena.