As part of the special events to celebrate this year’s 75th anniversary of the Golden Globes, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association hosted a special panel of Golden Globe-Winning TV Game Changers at The Paley Center for Media. The panel included Norman Lear whose shows, in a career spanning six decades, have won 10 Golden Globes and racked up 55 nominations. Programs like Sanford and Son, Maude, The Jeffersons, Good Times and of course All In The Family steered TV towards a new maturity and are, simply put, television history. Ryan Murphy is one of the most prolific and eclectic showrunners working today. His groundbreaking work has been recognized by the Globes in the categories of Made for Television Movies (Normal Heart), Limited Series (American Horror Story; People v. OJ Simpson; American Crime Story), Comedy Series (Glee; Scream Queens) and Drama Series (Nip/Tuck). Collectively they account for 209 nominations and 48 Globes, including in acting categories.
David E. Kelley has been a veritable Golden Globes powerhouse, racking 15 wins on 64 nominations with shows like L.A. Law, The Practice, Ally McBeal and Boston Legal. J.J. Abrams has scored Golden success with Felicity, Lost and Alias: a total of three globes and 17 nominations. Shonda Rhimes has redefined the current narrative – as well as the gender and racial composition of casts on Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder for a total 15 nominations and 2 wins. And Jill Soloway (9 nominations; 3 Globes) has done much the same with her groundbreaking United States of Tara, Transparent and I Love Dick. Collectively the six artists on the Paley Center stage will have been the driving force behind 48 Golden Globes and 209 nominations!
As the first Hollywood group to recognize both film and television, the HFPA was early to embrace the “new medium” back in 1962 when the first award went to the Dick Powell Show. Those were the heady days of the first Golden Age of TV. Along the way, the form has gone through many permutations and the Globes have grown right alongside, all the way up to the true revolution undergone by scripted television drama and comedy in the past decade.
Today with the small screen (or should we say screens, given the expansion of streaming media) being arguably the driving creative force in filmed entertainment, the Globes have also been at the forefront of recognizing those who have contributed to pushing the boundaries of the form: the Game Changers. The symposium moderated by the HFPA’s Jenny Cooney examined how these diverse pioneers left their mark on television and through their work changed the conversation.
No one could have been a more appropriate panelist than Normal Lear, whose amazing legacy is equaled only by the incredible ebullience and creative force at 93. “We are all sitting here because of him”, said David E. Kelley whose latest limited series, Big Little Lies was among the big Emmy winners this year. “You cannot overstate how much of an icon this man is.” That was a recurrent sentiment throughout the evening, which had the intimate feel of a reunion. Also attending were Brent Miller, Darren Criss, Debbie Allen, Evan Peters, James Van Der Beek, Justin Chambers, Kate Walsh, Kathryn Hahn, Lea Michele, Matt Bomer, Matthew Morrison, Michael Bolton, Rita Moreno and Tony Goldwyn.
“He was willing to tackle topical and controversial issues and take a stand” added Kelley. “I was 16 or so and I realized then that the medium at its best could be very very noble.” “He was one of the first people who told me ‘you’re kind of weird and that’s great’, recalled Ryan Murphy of Lear. “Keep being unusual, keep being different that's how you change the world.’” “When I’m 93, I want to be the funniest person on the panel too!” quipped Jill Solloway.
The lively conversation also touched on the negotiations that sometimes take place with networks when you are trying to put across an original vision and the importance of defending that vision. And six of the most prolific showrunners in the business talked about the future of the medium as it moves into streaming platforms.
Speaking of enduring legacies, Paley Center director of public programs Rene Reyes kicked off the evening by announcing the inclusion of the Golden Globes broadcasts from 1973 to the Paley archive. “The HFPA is donating copies of all awards shows since 1973. Here they will be cared for and available to the public for decades to come.”
WATCH: The moment that changed it all-our Game Changers accept their Golden Globes. Full video of the event coming soon.