Jenji Kohan

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Jenji Kohan
Jenji Kohan 2014.jpg
Kohan at 2014 Paley Fest
Born Jenji Leslie Kohan
(1969-07-05) July 5, 1969 (age 48)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Residence Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California
Alma mater Columbia University
Occupation Television writer, producer
Years active 1994–present
Spouse(s) Christopher Noxon (m. 1997)
Children 3
Parent(s) Buz Kohan (father)
Rhea Kohan (mother)
Relatives David Kohan (brother)
Jono Kohan (brother)

Jenji Leslie Kohan (born July 5, 1969) is an American television writer and producer. She is best known as the creator of the Showtime comedy-drama series Weeds and the Netflix comedy-drama series Orange Is the New Black.[1][2] She has received nine Emmy Award nominations, winning one as supervising producer of the comedy series Tracey Takes On....

Early life[edit]

Kohan was born to a Jewish family[3] in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of Rhea Kohan (née Arnold),[4][5][6] and Alan W. "Buz" Kohan.[7] She is the youngest of three siblings, the other two being twins Jono and David. Much of the family is in show business:

  • Father Buz is an Emmy Award-winning television writer and producer, as well as a music composer.
  • Mother Rhea is a television writer, novelist, and occasional actress.[8]
  • Brother David is an Emmy Award-winning television producer.[9][10]

Kohan's paternal grandparents were Charles Kohan and May E. Charles, he was born in Romania in 1902, while she was born in New York City, to parents from Russia.[3] The two knew each other from childhood, growing up in a New York City settlement house on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.[11]

Kohan says that her father was the "king of variety television in his day," writing and producing the Oscars and other variety shows, her mother was a novelist.[12] She grew up in Beverly Hills, California[13] and attended Beverly Hills High School, graduating in 1987, she first attended Brandeis University, and transferred to Columbia University as a sophomore, where she graduated, with a degree in English language and literature, in 1991.[13]

Career[edit]

Early career[edit]

On her beginnings, an ex-boyfriend told her that she had "a better chance of getting elected to Congress than getting on the staff of a television show".[1]

Kohan's first job in the industry was with Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, of which Kohan wrote one episode, and later said was a "rough entrance" to the business,[12] after a series of writing jobs on shows such as Mad About You, Tracey Takes On..., and Friends, she collaborated with her brother, David Kohan, writing an outside script for Will & Grace.[9] The siblings also worked together on the sitcom The Stones for CBS, which was ultimately unsuccessful,[1] she has discussed the differences between her and her brother's career saying, "David took the big, commercial, funny route; I was always a little darker personally, and not terrific within the system. I had to make my own way."[9]

Weeds[edit]

Kohan was the creator of the Showtime dark comedy-drama television series Weeds, which she executive produced as showrunner and head writer at her writing studio, Tilted Productions, in Los Angeles, California throughout its entire eight season airing.[1][14][15]

Orange Is the New Black[edit]

Kohan created the Netflix comedy-drama Orange Is the New Black, an adaptation that was inspired by Piper Kerman's memoir Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison about her experiences in a minimum-security women's prison.[12][16][17] Kohan's executive producing duties as showrunner and head writer consists of running the writer's room, which is located at her writing studio, Tilted Productions, in Los Angeles, California. Principal photography takes place in New York.[18]

Netflix, as a streaming service distribution model of TV and movie content, is unique in that it does not provide ratings information, so Kohan does not know exact ratings for Orange Is the New Black, which has been characterized as the most watched original series on Netflix, in a new distribution model where binge viewing[19] is enabled by full seasons of shows being made available at once.[20]

Other projects[edit]

Producing[edit]

Kohan has an overall deal with Lionsgate TV.[21]

Hayworth Theatre[edit]

Kohan owns the historic Hayworth Theatre in Los Angeles,[22] she plans to use the second floor as production offices.[23][23]

Personal life[edit]

In 1997, Kohan married author and freelance journalist Christopher Noxon, a convert to Judaism.[24][25][26] They have three children, a son Charlie, a daughter Eliza, and youngest son Oscar,[5] they live in the Los Feliz section of Los Angeles, California.[27] Kohan and her family are Jewish;[9][10] they belong to two synagogues and a chavurah group, and her children attend Jewish day school and summer camp. Every Friday, Kohan and her extended family have Shabbat dinner together.[5]

Filmography[edit]

  • 1994: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air – writer (1 episode, "Stop Will! in the Name of Love")
  • 1996: Boston Common – writer (1 episode, "Relationship of Fools")
  • 1996–1999: Tracey Takes On... – writer (18 episodes); supervising producer/producer (47 episodes)
  • 1997: Mad About You – producer, writer (1 episode, "The Recital"), written by credit (1 episode, "Astrology")
  • 1998: Sex and the City – story (1 episode, "The Power of Female Sex")
  • 2000: Gilmore Girls – producer (12 episodes), writer (1 episode, "Kiss and Tell")
  • 2002: Will & Grace – writer (1 episode, "Fagel Attraction")
  • 2002: My Wonderful Life (TV movie) – writer, executive producer
  • 2004: The Stones – writer, executive producer
  • 2005–2012: Weeds – creator, writer, executive producer (102 episodes)
  • 2009: Ronna & Beverly (TV movie) – writer, executive producer
  • 2010: Tough Trade (TV movie) – creator, writer, executive producer
  • 2013–present: Orange Is the New Black – creator, writer, executive producer
  • 2015: The Devil You Know – creator, writer, executive producer
  • 2017: GLOW – executive producer

Awards and nominations[edit]

Primetime Emmy Awards
Year Category Series Result Ref.
1996
Outstanding Variety Series Tracey Takes On... Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series Tracey Takes On... Nominated
1997
Outstanding Comedy Series Mad About You Nominated
Outstanding Variety Series Tracey Takes On... Won
Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series Tracey Takes On... Nominated
1999
Outstanding Variety Series Tracey Takes On... Nominated
2009
Outstanding Comedy Series Weeds Nominated
2014
Outstanding Comedy Series Orange is the New Black Nominated
[28]
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series Orange is the New Black Nominated
2015
Outstanding Drama Series Orange is the New Black Nominated
Producers Guild of America Awards
Year Category Series Result Ref.
2006
Best Episodic Comedy Weeds Nominated
2008
Best Episodic Comedy Weeds Nominated
2009
Best Episodic Comedy Weeds Nominated
2014
Best Episodic Comedy Orange is the New Black Won
[29]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Rose, Lacey (6 August 2014). "'Orange' Showrunner Jenji Kohan on Hollywood's Pay Inequality, 'F--- You' Money and Her 'Friends' Regrets". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  2. ^ Dekel, Jonathan (15 July 2013). "Q&A: Jenji Kohan on nudity, racism and homosexuality in Orange is the New Black". Canada.com. Postmedia Network Inc. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Berrin, Danielle (20 May 2009). "Jenji Kohan: Smoking the Stereotypes". JewishJournal.com. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  4. ^ Martinson, Connie (14 July 1981). "Connie Martinson Talks Books: Rhea Kohan interview" (Video interview). The Drucker Institute. Claremont Colleges Digital Library. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c Berrin, Danielle (3 May 2011). "Rhea Kohan: No one spits in her kids' Kasha". Jewish Journal. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  6. ^ Aushenker, Michael (27 March 2003). "Queen of Laughter: Rhea Kohan reigns as mistress of ceremonies at Jewish functions in Los Angeles". Jewish Journal. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  7. ^ "Buz Kohan Biography (1933-)". Film Reference. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  8. ^ "Rhea Kohan biography". IMDb. Retrieved 2017-07-26. 
  9. ^ a b c d Berrin, Danielle (20 May 2009). "Smoking the Stereotypes: 'Weeds' creator Jenji Kohan delights in tipping over Judaism's sacred cows". Jewish Journal. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Kustanowitz, Esther (April 2009). "'Weeds' Creator, 'Tara' Producer, and the Hebrew Mamita Take on Images of Jewish Women in Media". Beliefnet. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  11. ^ Emmy TV Legends Interview: "Buz Kohan on how he got his nickname" retrieved October 10, 2015
  12. ^ a b c Gross, Terry (13 August 2013). "'Orange' Creator Jenji Kohan: 'Piper Was My Trojan Horse'". Fresh Air. NPR. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  13. ^ a b Martineau, Kim (Spring 2014). "Alumni Profiles: Jenji Kohan '91 Finds Humor and Truth In Life's Darker Moments". Columbia College Today. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  14. ^ "'Weeds' Creator Delivent Product". Fresh Air. NPR. 16 June 2008. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  15. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (14 September 2012). "Jenji Kohan, Mary-Louise Parker Say Farewell to 'Weeds'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  16. ^ Gross, Terry (12 August 2013). "Behind 'The New Black': The Real Piper's Prison Story". Fresh Air. NPR. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  17. ^ Fienberg, Daniel (10 July 2013). "Interview: 'Orange Is The New Black' creator Jenji Kohan talks prison, Netflix and Jodie Foster". HitFix. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  18. ^ Wilson, Stacey; Rose, Lacey (4 June 2014). "Comedy Showrunners Roundtable: Chuck Lorre, Jenji Kohan, Mike Judge on Ejaculation Shots, Awful Pitch Meetings and Salary Negotiations" (Video Roundtable). The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  19. ^ Fienberg, Daniel (15 March 2014). "11 Things We Learned From the 'Orange Is The New Black' PaleyFest Panel". HitFix. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  20. ^ Lewis, Hilary (27 December 2013). "'Orange Is the New Black' Creator Jenji Kohan: Netflix 'Cryptic' About Show's Popularity". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  21. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (15 March 2012). "Jenji Kohan inks new pact with Lionsgate TV". Variety. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  22. ^ Barragan, Bianca (13 March 2014). "HBO Writers Moving Into Westlake's Historic Hayworth Theatre". Curbed (L.A.). Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  23. ^ a b Ng, David (13 March 2014). "Historic Hayworth Theatre is entering a new stage of life". LA Times. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  24. ^ Berrin, Danielle (29 October 2015). "Christopher Noxon: A Hollywood husband converts". Jewish Journal. Retrieved 23 January 2016. 
  25. ^ Noxon, Christopher (23 June 2015). "Douchebaggery And The Stay-at-Home Dad". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 23 January 2016. 
  26. ^ Jewish Journal: "Christopher Noxon: A Hollywood husband converts" by Danielle Berrin October 29, 2015
  27. ^ David, Mark (23 February 2009). "Weeds Creator Jenji Kohan Gets a New Nest". Variety. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  28. ^ "Orange Is The New Black". Television Academy. Retrieved June 11, 2015. 
  29. ^ Tapley, Kristopher (January 5, 2015). "'Gone Girl,' 'Nightcrawler,' 'Whiplash' score PGA". hitfix.com. HitFix. Retrieved January 6, 2015. 

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