Ilene Chaiken

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 a co-creator, writer and executive producer on the television series The L Word, and was recently an executive producer on Empire, The Handmaid's Tale, and Law & Order: Organized Crime.

Ilene Chaiken
Ilene Chaiken 1.jpg
Born (1957-06-30) June 30, 1957 (age 65)
Occupation(s)Television director, producer and screenwriter
Years active1988–present
Known forThe L Word
PartnerLouAnne Brickhouse

Early life and educationEdit

Chaiken was born in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania[1] to a Jewish family.[2] She studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and graduated with an undergraduate degree in graphic design in 1979.[3]


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 Miniseries or Television Film in 2000.[4]

Chaiken co-created The L Word in 2004, inspired largely by her own experiences as a lesbian.[5] 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 Ferrer and Jenny Schecter.[5]

In 2007, she and a group of women in the entertainment and tech industries launched a social networking site called OurChart for lesbians and their friends.[4] OurChart was online until 2008, when it was shutdown.[6] At that time, 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.[7][8]

Chaiken produced a documentary for Showtime in 2014 titles L Word Mississippi: Hate the Sin. The film focused on multiple lesbian women, telling their experiences of being gay in the Deep South.[9] During this time, Chaiken was also a showrunner on ABC's The Black Box, which was cancelled after one season.[9][10]

Chaiken is credited with first developing the TV adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale, which became a successful Hulu original show. Chaiken left the project during development to become the show-runner on Fox's Empire, but was still credited as an executive producer.[11]

In January 2019, Showtime announced that it had ordered a full season of the sequel to The L Word.[12] The show aired December 8, 2019, titled The L Word: Generation Q, and picks up where the original series ended, set ten years later.[13]

More recently, her company, Little Chicken Productions, signed an overall deal with Universal Television.[14] In 2020, Chaiken co-created the show Law & Order: Organized Crime, a spin-off of the long-running series Law & Order. [15] The following year, she worked as a writer and showrunner for the series, but was replaced by Barry O'Brien part-way through production of the second season.[16][15]

Personal lifeEdit

Chaiken has been married to LouAnne Brickhouse, a former executive at Disney, since 2013.[17] They live in the Laurel Canyon area of the Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles and have nurtured more than 100 species of birds and other fauna, which they document regularly on an Instagram account.[17]

Chaiken is co-parent to twin daughters Tallulah and Augusta with her former partner, English architect Miggi Hood.[18]


Year Title Notes
1988 Satisfaction Associate Producer
1996 Barb Wire Screenwriter
2000 Dirty Pictures Screenwriter
2002 Damaged Care Screenwriter
2014 L Word Mississippi: Hate the Sin Producer


Year Title Notes
1991–1992 Fresh Prince of Bel Air Producer
2004–2009 The L Word Co-creator, writer and producer
2010–2012 The Real L Word Creator and producer
2015–2020 Empire Executive Producer
2017–present The Handmaid's Tale Executive producer
2019–present The L Word: Generation Q Co-creator and executive producer
2021–2022 Law & Order: Organized Crime Co-creator, writer and 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 Miniseries or Television Film 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 alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Ilene Chaiken is a breakout star of 2004". Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  2. ^ Jewish Journal: "The Jewish writer and actor who’s ‘the voice of black America’" by Curt Schleier September 11, 2015
  3. ^ "RISD XYZ Spring/Summer 2015". Issuu. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Biography of Ilene Chaiken for Appearances, Speaking Engagements". Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ " Pulls the Plug". November 22, 2008. Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  7. ^ Chen, Joyce (July 11, 2017). "'The L Word' Sequel in Works at Showtime". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  8. ^ "Showtime Won't Buy "The Farm"". AfterEllen. April 3, 2009. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  9. ^ a b Goldberg, Lesley (May 28, 2014). "Showtime Orders 'L Word' Documentary From Ilene Chaiken". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 16, 2022.
  10. ^ "'Black Box' Canceled by ABC After One Season - Ratings |". August 8, 2014. Archived from the original on August 8, 2014. Retrieved June 16, 2022.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ "'The L Word' creator Ilene Chaiken on what fans can expect from the reboot". NBC News. Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  13. ^ Janes, DeAnna (August 23, 2019). "The L Word: Generation Q Is Coming This Fall! Watch the Trailer". The Oprah Magazine.
  14. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (December 10, 2020). "Ilene Chaiken Inks Overall Deal With Universal Television, Joins 'Law & Order: Organized Crime' As Showrunner". Deadline. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  15. ^ a b Alter, Rebecca (February 28, 2022). "Law & Order: Organized Crime Replaces Showrunner Ilene Chaiken". Vulture. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  16. ^ Caruso, Nick (February 26, 2022). "Law & Order: OC: Barry O'Brien to Replace Ilene Chaiken as Showrunner". TVLine. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  17. ^ a b "From 'L Word' to 'Empire': Ilene Chaiken Has Changed Television Twice". September 21, 2016. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  18. ^ 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 linksEdit