“He Would Want Us To Laugh” – Deadline


Norman Lear’s life and legacy took center stage tonight at the 2023 Sentinel Awards at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills.

The awards, which celebrate the storytellers behind some of the year’s most impactful stories, heard a statement from Lyn Lear read at the start of the show by Marty Kaplan, founding director of the Norman Lear Center.

“I would have been there tonight if not for the passing of our beloved Norman. He was so proud of the work of The Lear Center and Hollywood Health and Society. And he would not have wanted all of us to mourn. He would want us to celebrate the important shows you are honoring tonight, and most of all… he would want us to laugh.”

The night celebrated Lear’s lasting impact on television and the world, underlining his strong advocacy that television and storytelling makes a difference.

The ceremony was hosted by Emmy-winning producer, comedian, actor, and writer Larry Wilmore, who introduced 11 powerful storylines and the creative teams behind them.

Wilmore joked, “Well you got to say this about Norman – the man knew how to make an exit. He knew his audience. And wanted us to make sure we were all listening.”

He continued, “A giant has left us and we’re going to do him proud. This evening meant a lot to Norman, because he believed television can reflect our best. That’s why the Sentinel Awards were created – to honor television’s best and brightest writing.”

The creators, showrunners and writers who garnered a Sentinel Award were recognized for their meaningful and accurate portrayals onscreen that tackled timely and important topics. Those included abortion, systemic racism, climate change, and mental health.

Among the show’s winners were writers Damon Lindelof and Tara Hernandez (Mrs. Davis), Taffy Brodesser-Akner (Fleishman is in Trouble), Zoanne Clack and Zaiver Sinnett (Station 19), and Liz Tigelaar (Tiny Beautiful Things).

The full list of 2023 Sentinel Award Winners:

Depiction of Abortion:

Julie Wong, Grey’s Anatomy (ABC) – “When I Get to the Border”

Depiction of A.I,:

Tara Hernandez & Damon Lindelof , Mrs. Davis (Peacock) – “The Final Intercut: So I’m Your Horse”

Depiction of Breast Cancer:

Brent Fletcher & Todd Helbing, Superman & Lois (The CW) – multi-episode storyline (4 episodes)

Depiction of Disabilities:

Matt Fleckenstein, Zach Anner, and Gillian Grassie, Best Foot Forward (Apple TV+) – “Halloween”

Depiction of Climate Change:

Scott Z. Burns, Extrapolations (Apple TV+) – ‘2046: Whale Fall”

Depiction of Diplomacy:

Debora Cahn and Anna Haden, The Diplomat (Netflix) – “Some Lusty Tornado”

Depiction of Economic Disparities:

Chris Estrada, Matt Ingebretson, Pat Bishop, Jake Weisman, This Fool (Hulu) – “Los Botes”

Depiction of End of Life:

Liz Tigelaar, Tiny Beautiful Things (Hulu) – “The Nose”

Depiction of Maternal Health:

Taffy Brodesser-Akner, Fleishman is in Trouble (FX on Hulu) – “Me-Time”

Depiction of Mental Health:

Adam Kay, This is Going to Hurt (AMC+) “Episode 6” – BBC

Depiction of Systemic Racism:

Zoanne Clack and Zaiver Sinnett, Station 19 (ABC) – “We Build Then We Break”

The Sentinel Awards are presented by Hollywood, Health & Society, which provides entertainment industry professionals with accurate and timely information for storylines dealing with health, safety, and security through consultations and briefings with experts.

Based at the Norman Lear Center, HH&S is a free resource for writers, producers, and others in search of credible information.


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