UPDATED, 11:23 AM: Fox Audience Strategy said today that Ester Lou Weithers has been named Fox Writers Intensive Fellow for 2016, winning for her script Sparrow. She receives a script development deal with Fox Broadcasting and 20th Television. Weithers worked at MTV in New York before relocating to Los Angeles to pursue a writing career. She first was an assistant in the writers room of Showtime comedy House of Lies and in 2015, co-created and directed the web series Sexless and Chef Julian.
Fox also said that six of this year’s FWI finalists have been staffed on Foxdramas premiering in 2016-17, including APB, Empire, Lucifer, Pitch, Shots Fired and Star.
PREVIOUSLY, February 3: Fox Audience Strategy has announced the finalists for its fifth annual Fox Writers Intensive. The company’s advanced writers platform is designed to nurture experienced writers who have diverse voices, backgrounds and life experiences for potential staffing on Fox television, feature film and digital entertainment productions.
This year’s 10 FWI finalists and two alternates were selected from more than 500 nominations and submissions by talent representation and arts organizations across the country. The finalists will spend 14 weeks honing their crafts and establishing deeper connections with a wide range of Fox staff writers, showrunners, screenwriters, directors and creative executives.
The 2016 FWI writers/teams and their respective representatives are:
Ahmadu Garba (Epicenter)
Peter Chen (independent)
Jamila Daniel (Circle of Confusion and Don Buchwald & Associates)
Julia Fontana (Circle of Confusion)
Leon Hendrix (independent)
Ann Kim (independent)
Jasmine Elist & Benjamin-Shalom Rodriguez (independent)
Jamie Rosengard (CAA & Management 360)
Ester Lou Weithers (independent)
Jake Zebede (Laurelmont)
Tricia Johnson (Kaplan-Stahler Agency)
Jorge Rivera (Independent)
This year, FWI also has partnered with the Young Storytellers, which is dedicated to inspiring young people to discover the power of their own voices. As part of their FWI experience, the 2016 finalists will mentor elementary school students who are participating in the Young Storytellers “Script to Stage” program, a semester-long program in which students write their own original short script, then see it performed live by professional actors.
Curated with Film Independent, the initiative offers trained writers a rigorous, four-month curriculum focused on developing original material, learning and honing writing skills for multiple mediums and exploring the business of media and entertainment. Selected writers will have the opportunity to receive detailed feedback and guidance on their scripts through interactive master classes and will engage in intimate guest speaker sessions with experienced writers, showrunners, executives and directors to discuss case studies of their films and television shows, and learn about their writing processes. Upon successful completion of the program, finalists will receive priority staffing meetings for the established FWI Staff Writer position on Fox entertainment productions.
At the end of the program, one FWI finalist will be named the 2016 FWI Fellow. The FWI Fellow will be awarded either a purchase and development deal on his/her original script or a so-called “first-look” deal from Fox Broadcasting Company or any of its affiliated entities; an announcement across all Fox entertainment businesses and through entertainment trade publications; one-on-one creative meetings with network and other Fox entertainment business heads, as well as senior cross-divisional current and development executives; and priority staffing efforts across Fox entertainment properties. All FWI finalists will receive staffing meetings for current Fox entertainment series and a first-look agreement to option their original and new scripts.
Fox Audience Strategy is a department within 21st Century Fox designed to identify programming and operational opportunities that reflect diverse perspectives across all of its entertainment platforms.