UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – May 29, 2018 – NBC aims to change the landscape of unscripted programming with the launch of the Alternative Directors Program, the industry’s first directing initiative for alternative series.
Intended for female and ethnically diverse talent with at least one directing credit, the annual program will help feed the pipeline for new talent behind the camera on alternative series both on NBC as well as shows produced by Universal Television Alternative Studio.
The Alternative Directors Program will give five directors the opportunity to shadow a seasoned director over several weeks including prep, production and post. NBC’s participating shows for the program’s inaugural year are “America’s Got Talent,” “Hollywood Game Night,” “The Voice,” “The Wall” and “World of Dance,” and the directors who will serve as mentors are Alan Carter, Ivan Dudynsky, Russell Norman and Alex Rudzinski.
Starting today, eligible directors can apply for the program’s initial 2018-19 season at NBCUniTIPS.com. The submission deadline is Friday, June 29.
Spearheading the initiative are Meredith Ahr, President, Universal Television Alternative Studio, and Karen Horne, NBC’s Senior Vice President, Programming Talent Development & Inclusion, who oversees the company’s robust onscreen and behind-the-camera diversity efforts.
"The Alternative Directors Program creates a big opportunity to start changing the unscripted landscape and flip the paradigm on who calls the shots in our industry," said Ahr. "While much of the conversation around inclusion has been focused on scripted programming, we believe that a big piece of the puzzle is missing without equal concentration on the unscripted space, which makes up a big percentage of what audiences are watching every week. With this program, the goal is to not only give emerging directors the extraordinary opportunity to learn from the best in the business, but also to galvanize the industry as a whole to make strides towards increasing representation behind the camera on alternative series."
“NBC has always led the way in broadcasting an inclusive view of our world from airing the first African-American woman on television in 1939 to the first interracial kiss on ‘Star Trek,’” said Horne. “So it should be of no surprise that our legacy of groundbreaking ‘firsts’ also extends to our talent pipeline programs, where over the past almost two decades, we have created many of the industry’s first initiatives aimed at developing diverse talent in front and behind the camera. Our hope is that the Alternative Directors Program will follow in the tradition of our long standing scripted tent pole initiatives by creating a wider breadth of representation of people from different backgrounds in unscripted programming.”
With the new initative, NBC rounds out its directing programs that are designed to increase the pool of diverse talent. The network’s existing programs – Female Forward and the Emerging Director Program – are designed for scripted directors, and with the addition of the Alternative Directors Program, NBC has created the same opportunity for diverse unscripted directors. The new program also joins NBC’s robust diversity and inclusion initatives that have discovered and developed diverse onscreen and behind-the-scenes talent, including Kat Coiro, Hannelle Culpepper, Nisha Ganatra, Jenny Hagel, Lil Rel Howery, Mindy Kaling, Sharat Raju, Danielle Sanchez-Witzel and Alan Yang.
Eligible candidates are required to have at least one unscripted or scripted television directing credit. Unscripted programming can include, but is not limited to, live sports, award shows, game shows and variety shows.
The submissions requirements are:
- One letter of recommendation from an advocate of the director who is not a talent representative. Letters of nomination will not be accepted from anyone who works for or with talent, specifically managers, agents, publicists and lawyers.
- Resume detailing directing experience
- Reel summarizing the director’s work
- Up to three completed samples of work
- Responses to two essay questions
- One additional letter of recommendation (optional)
About the Alternative Directors Program
The Alternative Directors Program is NBC’s new annual directors’ initiative that addresses the need for more representation behind the camera in unscripted programming. Intended for female and ethnically diverse talent with at least one directing credit, the program will give five directors the opportunity to shadow over several weeks on NBC and Universal Television Alternative Studios unscripted series including prep, production and post. NBC’s participating shows for the program’s inaugural year are “America’s Got Talent,” “Hollywood Game Night,” “The Voice,” “The Wall” and “World of Dance,” and the directors who will serve as mentors are Alan Carter, Ivan Dudynsky, Russell Norman and Alex Rudzinski. The Alternative Directors Program is one of the tent pole initiatives within the NBC Talent Infusion Programs (NBC TIPS) that promotes and encourages people of diverse backgrounds to become the next generation of storytellers. For more information, visit the NBCUniTIPS.com.
About the NBC Talent Infusion Programs (NBC TIPS)
Since 2000, NBC has been dedicated to discovering and nurturing on screen and behind-the-camera talent of diverse and inclusive backgrounds through the NBC Talent Infusion Programs (NBC TIPS). NBC TIPS are amongst the most extensive and robust diversity and inclusion programs in the television industry. They feature more than 20 programs including Writers on the Verge, the Diverse Staff Writer Initiative, Female Forward, Emerging Director Program, Alternative Directors Program, StandUp NBC nationwide search for stand-up comedians and the NBCUniversal SHORT FILM FESTIVAL that celebrates diverse stories and the filmmakers who create them. Program alumni are celebrated producers, writers, directors and actors in the entertainment industry who have gone on to win Emmys, Golden Globes and SAG Awards and include Alan Yang, Mindy Kaling, Deon Cole, Lil Rel Howery, Keto Shimizu, Natasha Rothwell, Danny Pudi and Danielle Sanchez-Witzel. For more information, visit NBCUniTIPS.com.
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