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Variety’s annual Showrunners Dinner presented by A+E Studios on Thursday night gathered writers recognized on the publication’s annual TV Producers Impact List, as well as several of this year’s Emmy nominees. In addition, megaproducer Chuck Lorre (“The Big Bang Theory,” “Mom,” “Bookie”) was honored with Variety’s first Norman Lear Award.

Held at Merois, on the rooftop of the Pendry West Hollywood, the Variety Showrunners Dinner included a very funny acceptance speech by Lorre, who pointed out some of the similarities — but more humorously, the differences — between the two icons.

“I think everyone here understands the enormity and significance of Norman Lear’s body of work,” Lorre began. “So in accepting this award, I don’t think it’s false modesty to take a moment and focus on the very large differences between his career and my own. For starters, Norman Lear began his career writing for Hollywood legends like Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. I began mine writing for the ‘Muppet Babies’ and ‘My Little Pony,’ a show from which I was fired. I didn’t have the ‘Pony voice.’ That’s what I was told!”

Zal Batmanglij, Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs and Brit Marling(Photo by Presley Ann/Variety via Getty Images)
Variety via Getty Images

Lear, who died last month at 101, was previously honored at the Variety Showrunners Dinner in 2019 with a Creative Consciousness award. In tribute to his legacy and his landmark body of work — including shows like ‘All in the Family’ and ‘Good Times’ — as well as through the generations of writers and showrunners whom he inspired, that award was renamed after Lear this year in his honor.

With a similarly impressive body of work that Lorre himself has said was inspired by Lear — in particular, shows like “Mom” and “The Kominsky Method” — Lorre was a natural first honoree of the newly renamed honor.

Inside Variety Showrunners dinner presented by A+E Studios at Merois in the Pendry West Hollywood (Photo by Alberto Rodriguez/Variety via Getty Images)
Variety via Getty Images

“In recognition of his enormous contributions to the arts, Norman has received six Emmys, two Peabody, the National Medal of Arts, The Kennedy Center Honors, the Golden Globe Carol Burnett Award and many, many more,” Lorre continued, quipping, “In recognition of my contribution, I’ve been awarded 11 People’s Choice Awards. You know the one — where they tell you you won before the ceremony, so you’ll go. And finally, Norman Lear believed that laughter crosses racial, religious, and social divides and shines a light on our common humanity are common. Frailties making people laugh is a small but vital way to make this a better world. I believe that too. Doing everything I possibly can to cause laughter has been the modus opera operandi of my entire career.”

Variety TV editor Michael Schneider hosted the evening, presenting Lorre with the Norman Lear Award and also introducing dinner sponsor Barry Jossen, the president and head of A+E Studios. Jossen discussed A+E Studios’ unique position as an independent studio in the marketplace and also introduced colleagues including A+E Studios senior VP Tana Nugent Jamieson.

Kiel Elliott, Tana Jamieson, Michael Greenwald and Barry Jossen (Photo by Alberto Rodriguez/Variety via Getty Images)
Variety via Getty Images

“It starts with our great resources and our passion for creativity, all in service of commitment to our showrunners,” Jossen said. “There is still a great opportunity for independent studios. And we encourage you guys to think about us as you’re looking for your future homes. Tonight, we’re here to share our congratulations to Chuck Lorre on your Norman Lear Award. You’ve entertained us with so many funny emotional shows and some of the most memorable characters of all time. Chuck has a reputation for being tough, loyal, and generous. He gives back as the sponsor of numerous philanthropic initiatives. When Chuck has a creative vision, he commits to it. This man has achieved so much. Congratulations, Chuck, and congratulations also to the showrunners and to this year’s Emmy nominees.”

A wide spectrum Lorre’s colleagues over the years, including Nick Bakay, Al Higgins, Gemma Baker, Eddie Gorodetsky, Steve Molaro, Steve Holland, Don Foster, Peter Roth, Bob Broder and Trisha Cardoso attended the dinner.

Bob Broder, Eddie Gorodetsky, Chuck Lorre, Steve Holland, Steven Molaro, Don Foster and Peter Roth (Photo by Presley Ann/Variety via Getty Images)
Variety via Getty Images

Also in attendance were producers including Scott and Lauren Neustadter (“Daisy Jones and the Six”), Liz Tigelaar (“Tiny Beautiful Things”), Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling (“A Murder at the End of the World”), Cody Heller (“Jury Duty”), Peter Gould (“Better Call Saul”), Robin Thede (“A Black Lady Sketch Show”), Dan Harmon (“Rick and Morty”), Lucia Aniello, Jen Statsky and Paul W. Downs (“Hacks”) and Tracy Oliver (“Harlem”).

Liz Tigelaar, Sarah Schechter, Lauren Neustadter and Stacey Silverman (Photo by Presley Ann/Variety via Getty Images)
Variety via Getty Images

Also: Nkechi Carroll (“All American”), Derek Haas (“One Chicago”), Aaron Korsh (“Suits”), John Hoffman (“Only Murders in the Building”), Noah Hawley (“Fargo”), Craig Mazin (“The Last of Us”), Graham Yost (“Silo”), Greg Daniels (“Upload”), Tony Phelan and Joan Rater (“A Small Light”), Justin Halpern (“Abbott Elementary”), Akiva Goldsman (“The Crowded Room”), and many others.

Brent Miller, who has run Norman Lear’s Act III Prods. shingle for many years, was also in attendance on behalf of Lear and his memory.

Dan Harmon, Mike Schneider and Cody Heller (Photo by Alberto Rodriguez/Variety via Getty Images)
Variety via Getty Images

Zoë Kent, Foster Driver, Michael Greenwald and Conrad Green (Photo by Presley Ann/Variety via Getty Images)
Variety via Getty Images

Noah Hawley (Photo by Alberto Rodriguez/Variety via Getty Images)
Variety via Getty Images

Robin Thede (Photo by Alberto Rodriguez/Variety via Getty Images)
Variety via Getty Images

Jo Sharon and Casey Kriley (Photo by Alberto Rodriguez/Variety via Getty Images)
Variety via Getty Images

Derek Haas and Craig Mazin (Photo by Presley Ann/Variety via Getty Images)
Variety via Getty Images

Janine Nabers (Photo by Alberto Rodriguez/Variety via Getty Images)
Variety via Getty Images

Akiva Goldsman attends the Variety Showrunners dinner. (Photo by Presley Ann/Variety via Getty Images)
Variety via Getty Images

Damian Kindler, Claire Freeland and Bennett Graebner (Photo by Presley Ann/Variety via Getty Images)
Variety via Getty Images

Tracy Oliver and Nkechi Carroll (Photo by Presley Ann/Variety via Getty Images)
Variety via Getty Images

Susanne Daniels and Greg Daniels. (Photo by Alberto Rodriguez/Variety via Getty Images)
Variety via Getty Images



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