Emmys: Women Writers Stake Claim

Emmy (slowly) has embraced female scribes at the podium. Will this year mark an even bigger presence?
AP Images/Invision
Tina Fey (left) and Tracey Wigfield with their writing Emmys for '30 Rock'

This story first appeared in a special Emmy issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

For 60 years, the Emmys have recognized writers with trophies. But during much of that time, few shows were written by women, which made female scribes' presence at the show almost nil. Before 1990, only 15 drama writing nominations were given to women or teams including women. (Joanna Lee was the first to win, in 1974, for The Waltons.) Only 18 noms for comedy writing were given to women or teams that included women. (Judith Viorst was the first to win, in 1970, for Annie, the Women in the Life of a Man.)

The tide finally has turned, with dozens of women earning noms and a few wins for prestige series, including Diane English (Murphy Brown), Robin Green (The Sopranos), Tina Fey (30 Rock) and Moira Walley-Beckett (Breaking Bad).

And among this year's female series writing contenders are some of TV's biggest showrunners: Lena Dunham (Girls), Michelle King (The Good Wife), Jenji Kohan (Orange Is the New Black), Fey (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Marta Kauffman (Grace and Frankie), Jill Soloway (Transparent), Shonda Rhimes (Scandal, et al.) and Jennie Snyder Urman (Jane the Virgin).

With the TV Academy angling for fresh winners per its voting-rules changes, Dunham, Soloway, Kauffman and Urman appear well poised for comedy kudos, as King, Kohan and Mad Men's female scribes are for drama consideration.