Kal Penn to Host Joint Virtual 2021 Writers Guild Awards Ceremony
New York and Los Angeles (February 24, 2021) – Kal Penn, acclaimed actor, writer, and producer is set to host the joint 2021 Writers Guild Awards virtual ceremony on Sunday, March 21.
Upon accepting hosting duties, Penn said, “I’m very honored that the Writers Guild, of which I’m a member, chose me to bring together a wildly diverse range of people, from liberal writers on the West Coast to liberal writers on the East Coast. I’m just that unifying.
Penn is known for his memorable starring roles in the Harold and Kumar franchise, House, Designated Survivor, and Sunnyside, which he co-created and co-wrote with Matt Murray for NBC-Universal and Hulu. He can currently be seen in the CBS Drama Clarice, based on Silence of the Lambs and Disney Junior’s Mira, Royal Detective.
He has also appeared in independent films, most notably Mira Nair’s adaptation of Pulitzer-winner Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel The Namesake, about which The New York Times called his lead role a “crackling, star-making performance.”
Penn has maintained simultaneous careers in both entertainment and public service. A campaign organizer and advocate, he was an Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement from 2009 to 2011, where he served as the President’s liaison to Young Americans, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, and the Arts community.
Penn is also a staunch supporter of trade unions: In September 2020, he leveraged his role as creator and host of Freeform’s politically-themed comedy/variety talk series Kal Penn Approves This Message in order to ensure that the show and its writers would be covered under the Writers Guild Minimum Basic Agreement. “It was important to me that the sketches in which I wear a judge’s robe and rap with a blue puppet in a hot tub were union,” Penn added.
In addition to roles on Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, New Girl, 24, and Law & Order: SVU, Penn has taught courses on film, media, and sociology at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Originally from New Jersey, Penn received his BA in Sociology with a specialization in Theater, Film, and Television from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a graduate certificate in International Security from Stanford University.
The 2021 Writers Guild Awards team this year includes Co-Executive Producers Bonnie Datt and Karen Harris, Associate Producer Shannon Walker, and Head Writer Ann Cohen, along with Writers Bill Scheft, Don Hooper, Timothy Michael Cooper, Shelly Goldstein, Zoe Marshall, Andrea Whipple, and Kaja Martin. Directed by Heather Arnson, the 2021 Writers Guild Awards is Executive Produced by Broadway Virtual. Spearheaded by Executive Producer Jim Kierstead and Creative Director Heather Arnson, Broadway Virtual is an all-inclusive one-stop-shop for virtual production, direction, design, management, and promotion to effectively create quality virtual programming that elevates quality and exceeds expectations. The company’s Technical Director, Asad Javed, and Production Manager, Claudia Marino round out the core team. Graphic design, branding, and social media promotion is provided by Rachel | Media.
The Writers Guild Awards honor outstanding writing in film, television, new media, news (broadcast and digital), radio/audio, and promotional categories. The 2021 Writers Guild Awards (73rd Annual) will be held on Sunday, March 21, 2021. For more information about the 2021 Writers Guild Awards, please visit www.wga.org or www.wgaeast.org.
Please direct inquiries regarding the 2021 Writers Guild Awards to Jason Gordon in the WGAE Communications Department (212-767-7809, email@example.com) or Bob Hopkinson in the WGAW Communications Department (310-801-8563, firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) and the Writers Guild of America West (WGAW) are labor unions representing writers in motion pictures, television, cable, digital media, and broadcast news. The Guilds negotiate and administer contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of their members; conduct programs, seminars, and events on issues of interest to writers; and present writers’ views to various bodies of government. For more information on the Writers Guild of America, East, visit www.wgaeast.org. For more information on the Writers Guild of America West, visit www.wga.org.
Broadway Virtual is an all-inclusive one-stop-shop for virtual production, direction, design, management, and promotion to effectively create quality virtual programming that elevates content and exceeds expectations. Their clients include Roundabout Theater Company, Writers Guild of America East, Writers Guild of America West, American Alliance for Theater and Education, TheaterWorksUSA, and more. The company consists of Jim Kierstead as Executive Producer, Heather Arnson as Creative Director, Asad Javed as Technical Director, and Claudia Marino as Production Manager. Broadway Virtual partners with Rachel | Media to include comprehensive branding, graphic design, and social media strategy, content creation, management and promotion for comprehensive virtual production aesthetic, engagement, and success.
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