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News Release: June 2, 2013
Writers Choose the 101 Best Written TV Series of All Time

The Sopranos tops the list followed by Seinfeld, The Twilight Zone, All in the Family, and M*A*S*H*

LOS ANGELES, NEW YORK -- Recognizing the essential role that writers have played in creating and elevating the medium of television since its inception, the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) tonight announced the list of the 101 Best Written TV Series, honoring seven decades of outstanding television programming and the writers who brought it all to life. The list was determined through online voting by WGAW and WGAE members.

A follow-up to the WGA’s 101 Greatest Screenplays (2006), the “TV 101” list honors classic, trailblazing series and miniseries, as well as current and critically acclaimed programs, from comedies and dramas to variety/talk and children’s programming.

“At their core, all of these wonderful series began with the words of the writers who created them and were sustained by the writers who joined their staffs or worked on individual episodes,” said WGAW President Chris Keyser and WGAE President Michael Winship in a joint statement. “This list is not only a tribute to great TV, it is a dedication to all writers who devote their hearts and minds to advancing their craft.”

DOWNLOAD THE FULL 101 BEST WRITTEN TV SERIES 

For additional information about the WGA’s 101 Best Written TV Series and a complete list of credited writers, please visit: http://www.wga.org/101tv.html or www.wgaeast.org/tv101.

Writers Guild members had a broad and dynamic TV programming field to choose from, as eligibility criteria included any series that aired from the early years of television through the present, on broadcast TV and basic or pay cable. All genres of scripted series were eligible for consideration, including animation, children’s, comedy, daytime/serial, drama, scripted anthologies, miniseries with six hours or more of programming, and variety/talk series. Series must have been written in English, have aired in the U.S., and featured onscreen writing credits. (Individual episodes, specials, non-serialized or individual programs including telefilms/movies-of-the-week, and miniseries with less than six hours of programming, were not eligible.)

TV Guide Magazine Joins WGAW L.A. Tribute, WGAE Set to Host NYC Celebration  

Tonight, the Writers Guild of America, West hosted a special tribute event, panel discussion, and reception to formally unveil the WGA’s 101 Best Written TV Series at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills. TV Guide Magazine, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, co-sponsored the event that featured a line-up of panelists including iconic TV series creators, showrunners, and writers whose shows made the 101 TV list, including Steven Bochco (Hill Street Blues), James L. Brooks (The Mary Tyler Moore Show), Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad), Winnie Holzman (My So-Called Life), Norman Lear (All in the Family), Steven Levitan (Modern Family), Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica), Gail Parent (The Carol Burnett Show), Carl Reiner (The Dick Van Dyke Show), Matthew Weiner (Mad Men), and host/moderator Merrill Markoe (Late Night with David Letterman).

The program featured several segments, covering TV’s early days, the Golden Age, and present day. Panelists discussed the craft of TV writing in an ever-changing industry and media landscape over the past several decades, as well as writers’ primary role in creating innovative programming that has made an indelible mark on the culture from TV’s inception to today. WGAW Vice President Howard A. Rodman and TVGM L.A. Bureau Chief Michael Schneider introduced the evening. Writers who created and/or wrote on series that made the “101 TV” list included Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof (Lost), David Shore (House), Terence Winter (The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire), Jason Katims (Friday Night Lights), Shawn Ryan (The Shield), Semi Chellas, Jonathan Igla, Erin Levy, Andre & Maria Jacquemetton (Mad Men), D.C. Fontana (Star Trek), Bill Odenkirk, Mike Scully, Matt Selman, and Patric M. Verrone (The Simpsons), John Rappaport (M*A*S*H), and Kenny Solms (The Carol Burnett Show). Also in attendance were several actors who starred on TV shows that made the WGA’s 101 TV list, including Harry Hamlin (Mad Men), with wife/actress Lisa Rinna, Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica), Tony Danza and Marilu Henner (Taxi), Devon Gummersall (My So-Called Life), Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons). CÎROC was the West Coast event’s bar sponsor.

The WGAE is set to host its event to celebrate the 101 TV list this Wednesday, June 5, on the rooftop of the Guild’s headquarters in downtown Manhattan. Event participants include Guild members Seth Meyers, John Markus, Tom Fontana, Bill Persky and Liz Tuccillo. Expected attendees include Andrew Bergman, David Chase, Sabrina Dhawan, Lena Dunham, Diane English, Scott Frank, Gina Gionfriddo, Howard Korder, Steve O’Donnell, Michael Rauch and Jacquelyn Reingold.

The WGAW’s “101 TV” committee, which conceived the initiative, includes Guild members Aaron Mendelsohn (Chair): W. Bruce Cameron, Michael Conley, Diane Driscoll, Gary Goldstein, Katherine Fugate, Margaret Howell, Ken Pisani, Ari Rubin, and Susan Walter.

*Editor’s Note on listing writers and/or writing credits for the WGA’s 101 Best Written TV Series list: A series’ “Creator” or “Developer” was listed if WGA writing credits were available. If no “Created by” or “Developed by” writing credits were available, credited writers for series’ pilot, premiere episode, or first season were listed.  

The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) are labor unions representing writers in motion pictures, television, cable, new media, and broadcast news. The Guilds negotiate and administer contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of their members; conduct programs, seminars, and events on issues of interest to writers; and present writers’ views to various bodies of government. For more information on the Writers Guild of America, West, visit www.wga.org. For more information on the Writers Guild of America, East, visit www.wgaeast.org.