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Before Emmy Gold: Best Limited Series/TV Movie Writing

We’re taking a look at this year’s Emmy nominees and digging into their past work and credits that may have influenced their Emmy-nominated work this year.

Why are some of the nominees up for a single episode while others will compete for the entire series? Simple, if a single writer is responsible for the entire series they compete for the entire series. However, if the Limited Series should have multiple writers then the writers will compete for individual episodes. 

Who has an edge—single episodes or writers of the entire series? Writers appreciate quality over quantity. So if the voters aren’t fans of an entire series but love a sigle episode the race becomes a race.

Dopesick, for the episode: “The People vs. Purdue Pharma” written by DANNY STRONG

Emmy History: Wins: Outstanding Miniseries or Movie and Best Miniseries or Movie Writing for Game Change (2012) and Best Miniseries or Movie Writing for Recount (2008)

Synopsis: In the series finale, Rick and Randy’s criminal investigation now threatens Richard Sackler’s empire, activists take action against Purdue, and Finnix tries to heal his beloved community that’s been ravaged by addiction. Based on the book, Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America by Beth Marcy.

Gilmore Girls, Doyle turned his attention toward writing with great success writing political dramas Recount and Game Change. He would then go on to cowrite prestige film Lee Daniels: The Butler (2013) and popcorn fare The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 and Part 2 (2014-2015).

As he stepped in front of the camera reprising his role onscreen in a Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life (2016) where Amy Sherman-Palladino had fun turning Doyle from a newspaper writer into a screen writer. Strong, also created and writing some of the first seasons episodes for the hip-hop drama Empire (2015-2020). 

Strong, acts as director, writer and producer for Dopesick, giving him three chances at Emmy glory. 

Hidden Gem: Empire season one

The Dropout, for the episode: “I’m In A Hurry” written by Elizabeth Meriwether 

Emmy History: N/A

Synopsis: In the series opener, Elizabeth Holmes, an optimistic and determined young woman, drops out of Stanford to found a promising new blood testing startup. Adapted from the podcast of the same name.

After writing the raunchy comedy No Strings Attached (2011) Meriwether turned her attention towards television writing and creating New Girl (2011-2018). Meriwether would go on to write short lived series Single Girls (2018-2020) and Bless this Mess (2019-2020). 

Meriwether, turned her attention towards the real-life drama of Elizabeth Holmes and has received not only a Best Limited Series/TV Movie Writing nomination but a second nomination for Best Limited Series. With a big screen film planned for the Holmes saga it will ultimately be compared to Meriwether’s series. 

Hidden Gem: No Strings Attached (2011)

Impeachment: American Crime Story, for the episode: “Man Handled” written by Sarah Burgess

Emmy History: N/A

Synopsis: In the sixth episode, the Office of the Independent Counsel ensnares Monica Lewinsky, holding her for 12 traumatizing hours in a hotel room. Based on the book A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President by Jeffrey Toobin.

This is Burgess’s first big project serving as both creator and writer. Next up for Burgess is Purity, A drama about a young woman joins an activist group, and begins a global journey in search of her father. It is expected to star Daniel Craig.

Hidden Gem: Compliance (2018)

Maid, for the episode: “Snaps” written by Molly Smith Metzler

Emmy History: N/A

Synopsis: In the series finale, gaining strength and support from a creative writing therapy, Alex fights for her future by facing off with Sean over custody of Maddy. Adapted from Stephanie Land’s memoir Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive.

Metzler’s past credits include writing for Orange is the New Black (2017), Casual (2016-2017) and Shameless (2017-2019). Maid, marks the first times she’s been both the creator and writer of a series. Next up for Metzler, is Jellyfish starring Millie Bobby Brown who plays Suzy who after her former best friend is lost from a drowning accident, Suzy knows something isn’t right. She embarks on this incredible journey and learns about life, death, and love.

Hidden Gem: Casual (2016-2017)

Station Eleven, for the episode: “Unbroken Circle” written by Patrick Somerville

Emmy History: N/A

Synopsis: In the series finale, Kirsten sets in motion her plan to free the Traveling Symphony, while Miranda tries to live the right life. Based on the 2014 novel of the same name by Emily St. John Mandel.

Somerville, has writing credits varying from 24: Live Another Day (2014) and The Leftovers 92015-2017). His creations have run the gambit from Mania (2018) to the comedy Made for Love (2021-2022). Next up for Somerville, is another sci-fi fantasy Ursa Major which follows a mother and daughter who fight to survive on a terraformed planet while hiding from a group of relentless hunters.

Hidden Gem: The Leftovers (2015-2017)

The White Lotus, written by Mike White

Emmy History: N/A

Synopsis: Set in a tropical resort, it follows the exploits of various guests and employees over the span of a week.

White got his start writing the teen drama Dawson’s Creek (1998-1999) before moving on to the short term cult-hit Freaks and Geeks (2002). He would go on to write critical darling, The Good Girl (2002). Next up would be the instant classic School of Rock (2003). He would go on to star, create, write and direct Enlightened (2011-2013). 

Then to prove just how unpredictable he was, White, was the runner up on Survivor: David vs. Goliath (2018). Maybe being on an island trying to outwit, outplay and outlast helped White, create The White Lotus—the only nominee not based on previously produced material. White acts as the sole writer and director while also producing the series giving him three chances at Emmy glory. Earlier in the year, White received his first WGA Award nomination for penning The White Lotus.

Hidden Gem: Orange County (2002)


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1 year ago

You mention Mike White got a WGA Award nom, but MAID won the WGA AWARD – should’ve been mentioned



Written by @msamandaspears

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