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Janet Leahy, Fall 2021, Screenwriter


Janet Leahy is a name often associated with prestige television. Ms. Leahy spent the past fifteen years writing and producing one-hour television dramas, including Mad Men, Boston Legal, and Gilmore Girls, for which she has received six Emmy nominations, two Writers' Guild Awards and a Peabody Award for best drama.

Ms. Leahy's career began in comedy, writing and producing Cheers, The Cosby Show, Newhart, and Roseanne, among many others. Ms. Leahy recently returned to comedy as consulting producer for HBO's Crashing. To date, Ms. Leahy has produced and written over three hundred hours of quality television. Ms. Leahy is currently adapting the UK hit series No Offence for American television.


Janet Leahy taught FTVM 411: Screenwriting for Television II in Fall of 2021. In addition to her class, Leahy hosted a visit from comedy writer Barton Dean in Space 2435 North Quad. and she conducted a workshop for our Mitchell Scholars about working in the industry.


TV writer Barton Dean visited FTVM on Monday, October 4, 2021, as the special guest of FTVM's Mitchell Scholar Visiting Professor, Janet Leahy.

Barton Dean (Taxi, Newhart, The Larry Sanders Show) learned his craft from his mentor, the world-renowned Jim Brooks.  Mr. Dean later mentored TV writer Janet Leahy (Cheers, Cosby, Roseanne, Gilmore Girls, Boston Legal, Mad Men).  During his visit, Dean and Leahy discussed the pivotal role a mentor plays in the lifelong career of a television writer and producer, and the ins and outs of finding a mentor today. 

On Monday, November 15, 2021, Janet Leahy met with the 2020 and 2021 recipients of the Mitchell Scholarship in our FTVM conference room. Ms. Leahy and the scholars examined the inner workings of the Mad Men writers' room, the relationship between writing and producing for television, and how to transition from life at U-M to the working world in LA and elsewhere.