Nellie Andreeva

It was comedy ladies’ night at the Primetime Emmys as women swept both the comedy writing and directing categories for the first time in history. 30 Rock creator/executive producer Tina Fey and writer Tracey Wigfield won the writing Emmy for the series finale, while Gail Mancuso was recognized for the “Arrested” episode of ABC’s Modern Family. Mancuso is only the second woman ever to win the Emmy for comedy directing, following Betty Thomas, who won for Dream On 20 years ago. Fey/Wigfield was the fourth woman/all-female team to snag the writing award, following Fey, who won for 30 Rock in 2008; Diane English for Murphy Brown in 1989; and Treva Silverman for Mary Tyler Moore in 1974. All those female writing winners share a bond — they worked for groundbreaking workplace shows with strong women at the center.

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The writing win for 30 Rock‘s Fey and Wigfield also is brimming with symbolism: the reigning comedy queen Fey teamed with a rising star writer. Wigfield started off as a writers assistant on 30 Rock before getting a shot at becoming a writer on the show and trusted with co-writing the series finale with Fey. “I want to thank Tina Fey for creating this wonderful show and giving me the job of a lifetime and teaching me how to write,” the deeply moved Wigfield said onstage. Following the end of 30 Rock, Wigfield has gone to another comedy created and toplined by a woman, Fox’s The Mindy Project.

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