Hurwitz was born in 1963 to a Jewish family in Anaheim, California. In 1976, when Hurwitz was 12, he co-founded a chocolate-chip cookie business, called the Chipyard, with his older brother, Michael, and his father, Mark. The Chipyard is still in operation in Boston. He graduated from Estancia High School in Costa Mesa, CA, and from Georgetown University in 1985 with a double major in English and Theology.
Hurwitz worked on several sitcoms in the 1980s and 1990s, including Nurses, The Golden Girls, The Golden Palace, The John Larroquette Show, The Ellen Show and the Michael J. Fox-produced pilot Hench at Home. He also created Everything's Relative, a midseason comedy starring Jeffrey Tambor and Jill Clayburgh for NBC in 1999.
Hurwitz was chosen by Ron Howard to create a sitcom about a rich dysfunctional family, which eventually turned into Arrested Development. Hurwitz wrote the pilot in 2002, which was filmed in March 2003. Fox added the show to its schedule in May. Although the show premiered to stunning reviews from television critics around the country, the show was plagued by low ratings throughout its three-season run. In July 2004, the show was nominated for 7 Primetime Emmy Awards and won 5, including Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series.
In the second season, ratings decreased further and the show was cut down to 18 episodes instead of the planned 22 episodes. Nevertheless, the show was still critically acclaimed and was nominated for 11 Emmy Awards.
In the show's third and final season on Fox, Hurwitz tried to keep Arrested Development on the air, but did not have the advertising funding to promote the series. The show was again cut down, from 18 episodes to 13. Fox announced the cancellation of the show before the production of the final five episodes.
After seven years off the air, Arrested Development returned for a fifteen-episode fourth season on the online movie and television streaming service Netflix on May 26, 2013.
Hurwitz created Fox's animated comedy Sit Down, Shut Up, based on an Australian TV series of the same name, for the 2008 season.
Hurwitz created Running Wilde, which aired for one season from 2010 to 2011. It was a collaboration with Arrested Development star Will Arnett.
Hurwitz signed a multiyear deal with Netflix in 2014. He will be executive producing Flaked starring Will Arnett and producing/co-creating Lady Dynamite starring Maria Bamford for the network.
Among Hurwitz's projects have been the US television adaptations of the British comedy shows The Thick of It (which was not picked up in the running for ABC's 2007–2008 TV season, though other networks such as HBO, Showtime and NBC have expressed interest) and Absolutely Fabulous.
My World And Welcome To It was a 2009 CBS television pilot, executive produced by Hurwitz, Jay Kogen, Kim Tannenbaum, and Barry Sonnenfeld. It was a comedy based on an earlier series My World and Welcome to It about being a dad in the 1960s which, in turn, drew material from James Thurber's collection of essays of the same name. Happiness Isn't Everything was also a 2009 CBS pilot, written by Hurwitz and Jim Vallely, starring Richard Dreyfuss, Jason Biggs, Ben Schwartz and Mary Steenburgen.
Hurwitz co-starred as "Cool Eric" in an episode of Workaholics titled "Dry Guys." In this role, Hurwitz plays the clan's HR representative and is aiding them in their pursuit to become sober.
Hurwitz starred as "Koogler" in the Community episode "App Development and Condiments" (episode 8, season 5), which aired on March 6, 2014. He reprised that role in "Modern Espionage" (episode 11, season 6), which aired on May 19, 2015.
Hurwitz is married to actress Mary Jo Keenen. They have two daughters: May Asami, born in 2000, and Phoebe Hitomi born in 2002. The name of Arrested Development character "Maeby" was the result of combining the names of Hurwitz's daughters.2004 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series – Won
2004 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series – Won – "Pilot"
2005 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series – Nominated
2005 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series – Won – "Righteous Brothers" (with Jim Vallely)
2006 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series – Nominated
2006 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series – Nominated – "Arrested Development" (with Richard Day, Chuck Tatham and Jim Vallely)
2009 16th Annual Austin Film Festival – Outstanding Television Writer Award – Won