10 Power Showrunners: A Day in the Life, From Carlton Cuse to Jenji Kohan
Orange Is the New Black (Netflix)
"This whole scene is better if she's giving him a hand job," Jenji Kohan says as she gives one of her writers, Lauren Morelli, notes on a script for Orange Is the New Black. Kohan will take her own pass at the episode -- No. 9 of the Netflix series' second season -- but right now, she's moving her pink pen from page to page and offering suggestions, which range in topic from sex to riffraff.
The married mother of three proved years earlier with Showtime's Weeds, about a pot-dealing suburban mom, that pushing the envelope is where she's most comfortable. At half past 11 a.m., she moves over to her treadmill desk, a gift from her agent, CAA's Peter Micelli, to catch up on e-mails and organize herself before joining the jailhouse dramedy's seven-member writing staff to start breaking stories.
Kohan tends to do her best writing at a Chinatown coffee shop or on the couch, wrapped in a blanket she "stole" off of the Weeds set, but there's no time for that on this early October afternoon. Twenty minutes pass and she walks over to the nearby writers room, which could be mistaken for a children's playroom with its mix of Lego sets, Nerf guns and Silly Putty lining the table. Soon, lunch will arrive from upscale Loteria, with Kohan noting that "good food" is one of the secrets of her room's success. She deadpans, "No KooKooRoo here." -- L.R.