Fontana will be presented with the honor at the 71st annual Writers Guild Awards, which will be held at New York’s Edison Ballroom on Feb. 17.
The award is presented to a WGA East member in honor of their body of work as a writer in motion pictures or television. Past recipients include Geoffrey Ward, Andrew Bergman, John Sayles, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, John Waters, Richard LaGravenese, John Patrick Shanley, and Nora Ephron.
“I’m extremely grateful to the men and women in our guild for thinking me worthy of the award,” Fontana said. “Now, everything I write will have to be better than before.”
Fontana joined the WGA East in 1982 as a writer on the series “St. Elsewhere,” for which he received three Emmy Awards, two Writers Guild Awards, and the Humanitas Prize. He has written and produced “Oz,” “Homicide: Life on the Street,” “The Philanthropist,” “Copper,” and “Borgia.” He is currently the showrunner of “City on a Hill,” which will premiere on Showtime in 2019.
In 2013, WGA members selected “Oz,” “Homicide: Life on the Street,” and “St. Elsewhere” as three of the 101 best-written TV series. He has also received two of the WGA East’s honorary awards: the Richard B. Jablow Award for devoted service to the guild and the Evelyn F. Burkey Award, which recognizes those who have brought “honor and dignity” to writers.
Fontana co-founded the non-profit charity Stockings with Care, and is on the boards of the Writers Guild Initiative, the NYPD Police Museum, the Creative Coalition, the Acting Company, the Williamstown Theatre Festival, and the International Council of the Paley Media Center.