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 heed our better angels.”
Sorkin will be honored at the WGAW’s ceremony on February 19.
“I’m honored to be chosen for this year’s Chayefsky Award and to join such esteemed company. There’s a lot to live up to here,” said Sorkin.
He made his Broadway playwriting debut at 28 with “A Few Good Men.” The 1993 film adaptation of that play was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and five Golden Globes, including Best Screenplay.
He segued into writing for television in the 1990s, when he created and produced NBC’s political drama series “The West Wing” which won nine Primetime Emmy Awards in its first season. The long-running series went on to win a total of 26 Emmys, including best drama four consecutive times. For his work on the series, Sorkin twice received the Peabody Award and the Humanitas Prize, as well as three Television Critics Association Awards, three Producers Guild Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and a Writers Guild Award.
He also created, wrote, and produced the ABC comedy “Sports Night,” which won the Humanitas Prize, the Television Critics Association Award, and garnered eight Emmy nominations, as well as “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” which earned five Emmy nominations and a Writers Guild Award nomination. His HBO drama “Newsroom,” which ran for three seasons, received five Primetime Emmy nominations, as well as a Golden Globe nomination for best drama, a Writers Guild Award nomination, and a DGA nomination.
His film “The Social Network” was nominated for eight Academy Awards including “Best Picture,” was named “Best Drama” at the Golden Globes, and appeared on over 350 critics’ lists of the top ten films of 2010.
Sorking will returning to NBC with a live presentation of “A Few Good Men,” which is slated to air in 2017. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, known for their work on NBC’s live musicals, are executive producing along with him.
He’s also set to make his feature film directorial debut with “Molly’s Game,” based on the personal memoir by Molly Bloom, a beautiful, young, Olympic-class skier who ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game for a decade before being arrested in the middle of the night by 17 FBI agents wielding automatic weapons. The upcoming Mark Gordon Company and Entertainment One film, starring Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba and Kevin Costner, is set for release in 2017.
The Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Writing Achievement is the WGAW’s highest award for TV writing. Past recipients include Steven Bochco, Susan Harris, Stephen J. Cannell, David Chase, Larry David, Diane English, Marshall Herskovitz & Ed Zwick, Joshua Brand & John Falsey, Garry Marshall, Shonda Rhimes, and most recently Marta Kauffman & David Crane.