Broadcasters Shut Out of WGAW/WGAE Comedy, Drama Series Writing Award Noms

The Writers Guild of American West and East have announced the Writers Guild Awards nominees, and not one broadcast network show landed a nomination in the best drama series, best comedy series or best new series categories.

Those comedy and drama categories were dominated by writers for cable nets, particularly HBO, and over-the-top, particularly Netflix, but with multiple nods for Hulu.

That, for drama, included The Americans, FX; Better Call Saul, AMC; Game of Thrones, HBO; The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu; and Stranger Things, Netflix.

In Comedy, the nominees were Curb Your Enthusiasm, HBO; GLOW, Netflix; Master of None, also Netflix; Silicon Valley, HBO; and Veep, also HBO.

But some broadcast writers are guaranteed to be winners: In three categories, CBS and PBS are the only outlets whose writers are nominated.

The broadcast shut-out extended to the long-form original and long-form adapted categories, as well as the short-form new media category, though broadcast networks were not eligible and that category had no nominees anyway.

Cable and OTT took all the nominations in children's episodic and specials, and broadcasters were also shut out of children's long-form, but then so was everyone else since, again, that category also had no nominees.

Broadcast networks did better in the variety (NBC's Saturday Night Live) and animation (Fox's The Simpsons and Bob's Burgers) categories, as well as a number of others, including episodic comedy, though drama remained the province of cable and OTT.

In the documentary categories writers for PBS carried the flag for broadcasters in a dominating performance, snagging seven out of eight nominations and guaranteeing a PBS win in the non-current events category, where it scored all five nominations.

ABC and CBS took that flag and ran with it in the news script categories. ABC had two of three nods in the "regularly scheduled bulletin or breaking report" category, while CBS also guaranteed itself a win in analysis, features or commentary with both nominations.

CBS writers are actually guaranteed two awards, with both nominations in the on-air promotion category.

The awards will be given out Feb. 11 in Los Angeles and New York.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.