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Linda Bloodworth Thomason To Receive WGA West’s Top TV Honor

The Writers Guild of America West will present Designing Women and Evening Shade creator Linda Bloodworth Thomason with its highest honor — the Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Writing Achievement. The award is presented to a Guild member who has “advanced the literature of television and made outstanding contributions to the profession of the television writer.” Designing Women star Jean Smart will present the statuette to Bloodworth Thomason at the WGAW’s annual WGA Awards on April 14.

The multiple Emmy-nominated television creator-writer, director, and producer launched her career with an Emmy-nominated script on M*A*S*H* in 1973. She concurrently worked on M*A*S*H* and Mary Tyler Moore Show spinoff Rhoda before creating and producing her first series Filthy Rich in 1982. Filthy Rich would lay the groundwork for the creation of landmark comedy series Designing Women by bringing her together with actresses and collaborators Delta Burke, Dixie Carter, Annie Potts, and Smart.

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 went 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.

“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.”

The Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award is the WGAW’s highest award for television writing. Past 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.

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