MAKERS Profile

Diane English

Creator, "Murphy Brown"

In this video

Diane English on working in television, creating "Murphy Brown," and her unexpected role in a presidential race.

Diane English is an Emmy-winning film and television producer, director, and screenwriter. She is best known for creating the show "Murphy Brown," which ran on CBS from 1988 to 1998.

English was born in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1948. Her father was an electrician at the Niagara Mohawk Power Plant and her mother, a former singer, worked as a bookkeeper. Upon visiting New York City for the first time as a twelve-year old, English decided she was destined for life in the big city.

After discovering her talent for playwriting as an undergraduate at Buffalo State University, English moved to New York in 1971. She went to work for New York’s PBS station WNET, working her way up from a secretary to associate director of the station’s experimental division. In 1980, she received her first writer credit, on PBS’s first made-for-TV movie, The Lathe of Heaven, and earned a Writer’s Guild of America Award nomination.

Following this success, English moved to Los Angeles. Once there, English truly hit it big—first as a writer/producer for Foley Square and My Sister Sam, and soon after, as the creator of Murphy Brown. English’s work on Murphy Brown earned her an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series and two more for Outstanding Comedy Series.   With her former production company, English went on to produce a host of television series, including Love & War, Double Rush, and Living in Captivity. In 2008, she saw a 14-year dream come to fruition when she finished raising the money to produce the film The Women, for which she also wrote the screenplay and directed.

In addition to her Emmy’s, English has been honored with two Writers Guild of America Awards, a Genie Award from American Women in Radio and Television, a Freedom-to-Write-Award from PEN Center USA West, and the Commissioners’ Awards from the National Commission on Working Women for her positive portrayal of working women on television.

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