As television has grown and expanded to include new, innovative formats and platforms, westerns have remained a popular genre and consistent source for stories among writers and show creators. In this panel discussion, writers and producers from the latest crop of TV westerns share insight into the creation of their series, how they’re reimagining the genre, and why stories out of the American West continue to inspire.
Hunt Baldwin – writer and executive producer, Longmire
Kevin Murphy – writer and executive producer, The Son, Defiance
John Wirth – writer and executive producer, Hap and Leonard, Hell on Wheels, The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.
Moderated by WGF Executive Director Katie Buckland
PLUS, the Autry Museum and Cafe will be open to ticket holders before the program. The Autry's Crossroads West Cafe will offer a limited menu from 5pm to 7pm. Beer, wine, and light dinner fare will be available for purchase. Arrive early and check out the awesome exhibits on display!
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About the Panelists
Hunt Baldwin grew up in Lake Bluff, Illinois. He majored in English at Yale University, then moved to Chicago where he had a mildly successful career in advertising before moving to Los Angeles in 2002 to pursue his true passion: writing for film and television. He wrote for several seasons on TNT’s “The Closer” before leaving to co-create “Trust Me,” which ran for one season on TNT, and then the modern western “Longmire,” which concluded a six season run in November, 2017.
Kevin Murphy has worked as a writer and producer on many television shows. His credits include: Desperate Housewives (head writer, Golden Globe winner, two-time Writers Guild Award nom, Emmy nom), The Son (showrunner), Defiance (creator/showrunner), Battlestar Galactica prequel Caprica (showrunner), Valentine (creator/showrunner), Hellcats (creator/showrunner), Honey I Shrunk the Kids (syndicated series, creator/showrunner), Martial Law, Ed, Reaper, Jack & Jill, So Weird, Get Real and Weird Science.
Kevin also writes and produces for the stage. In partnership with Laurence O’Keefe, he co-wrote book, music and lyrics and also produced the original LA and Off-Broadway productions of Heathers (Drama Desk nomination for score). He partnered with producers Andrew Lloyd Webber and Bill Kenwright to workshop the show in London which led to a record-breaking sold-out production at The Other Palace Theatre. That production subsequently transferred to The Theatre Royal Haymarket in the West End where it is currently running.
Kevin also provided lyrics and co-wrote the book for the stage musical Reefer Madness and was a producer on the original run which swept the three major Los Angeles theatre awards, including triple wins for Best Musical and Best Score. Kevin was a producer on the subsequent Off-Broadway run and his lyrics were nominated for a Drama Desk Award. Both Heathers and Reefer Madness are regularly produced around the world and have received many local awards. Kevin co-adapted Reefer Madness into a Showtime Original film which premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival and screened in competition at the 2005 Deauville Film Festival, winning the Premiere Audience Award. The movie received three Emmy nominations and Kevin won a statue for Outstanding Music & Lyrics.
John Wirth has written and produced hundreds of hours of television and continues to be one of Hollywood's most sought after television Showrunners. He is currently serving as Executive Producer/Showrunner on the Netflix original series Wu Assassins, which he created. He is in development on a series at AMC, and has served as Executive Producer on Hap And Leonard; Hell On Wheels; The Cape; Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles; Love Monkey; Ghost Whisperer; The District and Nash Bridges.
He’s worked as a Consulting Producer on Falling Skies and V, and as a Supervising Producer on the award winning Picket Fences and the cult favorite The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. He also worked as an Executive Story Editor on Remington Steele.
Mr. Wirth has held development deals with AMC, Touchstone Television, 20th Century Fox Television, Sony Television, Grant Tinker Television, and Warner Brothers Television, producing pilots for all four major networks, USA, CW and A&E.
Mr. Wirth conceived and co-edited the WGA's TELEVISION WRITER'S HANDBOOK, and sits on the Showrunner Training Program Committee as well as the WGA's Television Writers Council.
He has been honored with three Western Heritage Awards, an Environmental Media Award, an Angel Award, and the 2004 Ribbon of Hope Award for AIDS Awareness and Education.