Duo draw Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for TV

The Writers Guild of America West has tapped writing-producing-directing partners Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick to receive its Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television.

Kudo, honoring lifetime achievement in writing for TV, will be presented at the Writers Guild Awards’ West Coast ceremony on Feb. 19 at the Hollywood Palladium. Recipients include Steven Bochco, Susan Harris, Stephen J. Cannell, David Chase, Larry David, and, most recently, Diane English.

“Beginning in the 1980s, Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz were among a small group of writers who revolutionized the television drama,” said WGA West president Christopher Keyser. “So much of what is on television today is a direct or indirect descendant of their seminal work, ‘thirtysomething.’ So many writers of this generation were drawn to television because of what Marshall and Ed told us, in that show and then in show after show, it was possible to do, to write stories about real people, with honest and compelling emotional stakes, about what it feels like to be alive. All of us who have come after owe them a great debt of gratitude. We stand on the shoulders of giants.”

In addition to “thirtysomething,” the pair’s TV credits include co-creating, exec producing and directing “Once and Again,” “My So-Called Life” and “Quarterlife” — one of the first original Web series.

Herskovitz and Zwick have received four Emmy Awards, two for their work on “thirtysomething” and two for “Special Bulletin,” along with a WGA award for each. Their bigscreen co-screenwriting credits include “Love and Other Drugs” and “The Last Samurai,” which the pair co-produced while Zwick directed.

Zwick wrote and directed “Defiance” and “The Siege” and he directed “Blood Diamond,” “Courage Under Fire,” “Legends of the Fall,” “Glory” and “About Last Night.” Herskovitz directed multiple episodes of “thirtysomething,” “My So-Called Life,” “Once and Again” and “Family” and the feature films “Dangerous Beauty” and “Jack the Bear.”

The pair’s producing credits include “I Am Sam,” “Traffic” and “Shakespeare in Love.”

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