Matt Groening to Receive WGA Honors
Triggered by this breakout popularity, The Simpsons was soon spun off by FOX into a half-hour animated series (developed by James L. Brooks and Matt Groening and Sam Simon), which first aired on December 17, 1989, fittingly with a Christmas special, followed by the series premiere on January 14, 1990. Since then, The Simpsons has gone on to become the longest-running scripted series in TV history – animated, comedy, or otherwise – and was named “Best Show of the 20th Century” by Time Magazine.
Much more than an international hit recognized by audiences around the world, the series has transcended entertainment to become a bona fide pop cultural phenomenon and, with over two decades on the air and counting, has emerged as one of the most genre-defying, boundary-pushing entertainment franchises ever, spawning not only a licensing and merchandising empire (everything from theme park rides to postage stamps), but also ushering in animation as a viable genre in network primetime television.
Groening followed up the wildly popular, acclaimed The Simpsons by creating the sci-fi animated series Futurama (developed by Groening and David X. Cohen), which first ran on FOX for several seasons from 1999-2003 and is currently one of the top-rated shows on Comedy Central, having aired on the network since 2008.
Over the course of his career, Groening has garnered multiple Emmy Awards (including shared Emmys for Outstanding Animated Program Emmys for Futurama in 2011 and 2002, and Outstanding Animated Program for The Simpsons in 2008, 2006, 2003, 2001, 2000, 1998, 1997, 1995, 1991, and 1990), the Peabody Award, Annie Awards (including the Winsor McKay Award, shared with fellow animation writers Brad Bird and Eric Goldberg), and the Rueben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year, the highest honor presented by the National Cartoonist Society. Most recently, Groening received his own Star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame in February 2012.
During its two decades-plus on the air, The Simpsons has earned eight Writers Guild Awards for animation writing and numerous WGA nominations. In the 10th season of the show’s run, Groening supported his writers in their fight to secure WGA coverage for The Simpsons, which in turn set a jurisdictional precedent for primetime network animation, paving the way for hit series such as Futurama, King of the Hill, and Family Guy to all be made under a Writers Guild contract.
In the publishing arena, Groening’s signature Life in Hell cartoons have been collected in a best-selling series of books with over two million copies in print, including Love is Hell, Work is Hell, School is Hell, Childhood is Hell, Akbar & Jeff’s Guide to Life, Greetings from Hell, With Love from Hell, The Road to Hell, and Love is Still Hell. He is the publisher of Bongo Comics, which releases numerous titles based on his two hit series, including Simpsons Comics, Bart Simpsons Comics, Radioactive Man Comics, Lisa Comics, and Futurama Comics.
The WGAW’s AWC Animation Writing Award is given to members of the Animation Writers Caucus or Writers Guild who have advanced the literature of animation in film and/or television throughout the years and made outstanding contributions to the profession of the animation writer. Founded in 1994, the WGAW’s Animation Writers Caucus represents over 600 animation writers and works to advance economic and creative conditions in the field. Through organizing efforts, educational events, and networking opportunities, the Guild’s AWC is a leading proponent for animation writers. Previous AWC Animation Writing Award honorees include Mike Scully, Al Jean & Mike Reiss, Brad Bird, Linda Woolverton, Stan Berkowitz, Dwayne McDuffie, and Earl Kress.
Source: The Writers Guild of America, West