Late-Night Writer Steve O'Donnell to Receive WGA Honor

The former 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!' head writer also wrote for David Letterman's 'Late Night' and 'Late Show.'

Veteran late-night writer Steve O'Donnell will receive the Herb Sargent Award for Comedy Excellence at the Writers Guild Awards' New York ceremony.

From 1983 to 1992, O'Donnell served as head writer for David Letterman's Late Night, moving over to CBS' Late Show in 1993, where he worked as a writer until 1995. During his time with Letterman's shows, he led the writing of segments like the "Top 10 List," "Calling Meg, the Office Worker in the Building Across the Street," "Across the USA With the Gift Shop Clerks from Bangladesh" and "Dave's Mom in Norway."

O'Donnell went on to spend nearly a decade writing for Jimmy Kimmel, first as a writer on The Man Show from 1999 to 2001 and then as head writer for Jimmy Kimmel Live! from 2003 to 2008. He also has written for The Chris Rock Show, The Dana Carvey Show, Seinfeld, The Simpsons, The Bonnie Hunt Show and Why? With Hannibal Buress. O'Donnell has been nominated for 20 Emmys.

The Sargent Award, named for 20-year Saturday Night Live writer-producer Herb Sargent, is given to a writer who embodies the spirit, commitment and comic genius of Sargent, as well as his dedication to mentoring new writers. The award previously has been presented to Judd Apatow, Gary David Goldberg, Lorne Michaels and James L. Brooks.

"This is an especially wonderful honor, coming from my friends and peers in the Writers Guild of America East, the group I respect and love more than any other. I suppose I should add ‘except for my family’ — but they’re actually a bunch of jerks. No, no! I’m joking! That’s what I do for a living," said O’Donnell. “I did extensive and exhaustive research — and guess what I found out? Young writers are our future! If I’ve been encouraging them, it’s just good common sense. I’m being lighthearted, when, in fact, I couldn’t be more seriously honored and humbled, especially as this comes from the Guild, which has had such professional and personal importance in my life.”

The Writers Guild Awards will take place on Sunday, Feb. 19, at simultaneous ceremonies in New York and Los Angeles.

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