Ilene Chaiken

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Ilene Chaiken
Ilene Chaiken 1.jpg
Born (1957-06-30) June 30, 1957 (age 63)
OccupationTelevision director, producer and screenwriter
Years active1988–present
Partner(s)LouAnne Brickhouse

Ilene Chaiken (born June 30, 1957) is an American television producer, director, writer, and founder of Little Chicken Productions. Chaiken is best known as being the co-creator, a writer and executive producer on the television series The L Word and was recently an executive producer on the hit television series Empire.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Chaiken was born in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania[2] to a Jewish family.[3] She studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and graduated with an undergraduate degree in graphic design in 1979.[4]


She began her career as an agent trainee for Creative Artists Agency, and as an executive for Aaron Spelling and Quincy Jones Entertainment. In 1988, she was the coordinating producer for the Fresh Prince of Bel Air and the associate producer for Satisfaction. She then wrote the screenplay Barb Wire (1996), and the television films Dirty Pictures (2000), and Damaged Care (2002). Dirty Pictures won the Golden Globe for Best Television Movie in 2000.[5] In 2004 she co-created The L Word, inspired largely by her own experiences as a lesbian woman.[6] In 2007, Chaiken, and a group of women in the entertainment and tech industries, launched a social networking site called OurChart for lesbians and their friends.[5] OurChart was online until 2008, when it was shutdown.[7] In 2008, a spin-off show of The L Word entitled The Farm was in development and two pilots were being written by Chaiken, although Showtime never bought the series.[8][9] She is credited with first developing the idea for a TV adaptation of novel The Handmaid's Tale, which is now a successful Hulu original show. Chaiken left the project to become the show-runner on Fox's Empire.[10] She is credited as an executive producer for The Handmaid's Tale.[10] In January 2019, Showtime announced that it had ordered a full season of the sequel to The L Word.[11] The show aired December 8, 2019, titled The L Word: Generation Q, and picks up where the original series ended, set ten years later.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Chaiken has stated that her experiences as a lesbian were the primary inspiration for her show The L Word. Her first romance with another woman, which ended in heartbreak when the woman revealed she had a long-distance girlfriend, served as a loose inspiration for the relationship of the characters Marina and Jenny.[6] Chaiken has been married to LouAnne Brickhouse, a former executive at Disney, since 2013.[13] They live in the Hollywood Hills area of Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles and have nurtured more than 100 species of birds and other fauna, which they document regularly on an Instagram account.[13] Chaiken is co-parent to twin daughters Tallulah and Augusta with her former partner, English architect Miggi Hood.[14]


Year Title Notes
1988 Satisfaction Associate Producer
1996 Barb Wire Screenwriter
2000 Dirty Pictures Screenwriter
2002 Damaged Care Screenwriter


Year Title Notes
1991–1992 Fresh Prince of Bel Air Producer
2004–2007 The L Word Writer, Co-creator, and producer
2010–2012 The Real L Word Creator and producer
2015–present Empire Executive Producer
2017–present The Handmaid's Tale Executive producer
2019–present The L Word: Generation Q Executive producer


Year Nominated work Award Category Result
1997 Barb Wire 17th Golden Raspberry Awards Worst Screenplay Nominated
2000 Dirty Pictures 58th Golden Globe Awards Best Television Movie Won
2008 The L Word 20th GLAAD Media Awards Davidson/Valentini Award Won
2016 Empire 73rd Golden Globe Awards Best Television Series- Drama Nominated
2017 The Handmaid's Tale 69th Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Drama Series Won
2017 The Handmaid's Tale PGA Awards 2017 Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama Won
2017 The Handmaid's Tale Writers Guild of America Awards 2017 Drama Series Won
2017 The Handmaid's Tale Writers Guild of America Awards 2017 New Series Won
2018 The Handmaid's Tale 70th Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Drama Series Nominated
2018 The Handmaid's Tale PGA Awards 2018 Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama Nominated
2018 The Handmaid's Tale Writers Guild of America Awards 2018 Drama Series Nominated

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Showrunner Hopes 'Empire' Is 'On The Crest Of A Wave Of Change'". Retrieved August 3, 2016.
  2. ^ "Ilene Chaiken is a breakout star of 2004". Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  3. ^ Jewish Journal: "The Jewish writer and actor who’s ‘the voice of black America’" by Curt Schleier September 11, 2015
  4. ^ "RISD XYZ Spring/Summer 2015". Issuu. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Biography of Ilene Chaiken for Appearances, Speaking Engagements". Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  6. ^ a b "L Word Creator Ilene Chaiken on Her 'First Romance' and Coming Out: 'I Didn't Know How to Lie'". Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  7. ^ " Pulls the Plug". November 22, 2008. Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  8. ^ Chen, Joyce; Chen, Joyce (July 11, 2017). "'The L Word' Sequel in Works at Showtime". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  9. ^ "Showtime Won't Buy "The Farm"". AfterEllen. April 3, 2009. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  10. ^ a b Vineyard, Jennifer (June 18, 2017). "'The Handmaid's Tale' Showrunner Bruce Miller on the Season 1 Finale". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  11. ^ "'The L Word' creator Ilene Chaiken on what fans can expect from the reboot". NBC News. Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  12. ^ Janes, DeAnna (August 23, 2019). "The L Word: Generation Q Is Coming This Fall! Watch the Trailer". The Oprah Magazine.
  13. ^ a b "From 'L Word' to 'Empire': Ilene Chaiken Has Changed Television Twice". September 21, 2016. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  14. ^ Strohm, Deidre (January 22, 2004). "A Conversation With Ilene Chaiken". POWER UP. Archived from the original on November 5, 2007. Retrieved November 17, 2007.

External links[edit]