CBS Announces 2016-17 Directors-Writers Initiative Participants

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CBS has announced the participants for its 2016-17 Directors and Writers Mentoring Program initiatives.

The Directors Initiative provides a platform of opportunity for talented television directors to be introduced to the CBS family. This year’s participants are Michele Azenzer Bear, Lily Mariye, Tara Miele and Anne Renton.


Bear served as a 1st Assistant Director on Mike & Molly and went on to direct an episode in the show’s final season.

Mariye recently completed her second episode of Nashville and directed, wrote and produced the independent feature Model Minority, which had a successful festival run.

Miele has directed multiple movies of the week for Lifetime, including The Lost Boy, Thinspiration and Gone Missing. She got her start as a screenwriter and independent feature director.

Renton has directed an episode of The Fosters and as well as Bones.

“The participants in the CBS Directors Initiative receive professional guidance, access to accomplished creative executives and shadowing opportunities on CBS Network and Studio shows. The goal of our program is to minimize the perceived ‘risk’ of hiring rising directors through constant exposure and collaboration on the sets of established television series. The ongoing support from our Showrunners has been vital in helping our director’s book episodes,” said Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i, EVP Entertainment Diversity, Inclusion and Communications at CBS Entertainment.

Past participants of the CBS Directors Initiative include Laura Belsey (Arrow, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, NCIS: New Orleans), Steph Green (The Americans, Scandal, American Gothic), Anna Mastro (Jane the Virgin, Awkward), Eric Dean Seaton (Dr. Ken, Life in Pieces), David Rodriguez (Stalker, NCIS: Los Angeles, Queen of the South, Chicago P.D.) and Zetna Fuentes (Jane the Virgin, Madam Secretary, How to Get Away With Murder, Scandal).


Selected from more than 1,100 applicants, eight participants were selected for the 2016-17 Writers Mentoring Program Initiative, which provides mentorship, career building strategies and opportunities for emerging writers. They are Sabrina Almeida, Morgan Faust, Cynthia Furey, Michael Gemballa, Howard Jordan Jr., Paula Sabbaga, Joshua Troke and Julie Wong.

The eight-month mentoring program consists of two phases. For the first four months, writers will be supervised by a CBS executive mentor to develop a new piece of scripted material. Following the mentorship period, they will participate in a 16-week workshop designed to prime the mentees for the industry business and provide them access to executives, agents, managers, writers rooms and, most importantly, executive producers and showrunners.

“The Writers Mentoring Program provides mentorship and access for emerging writers to secure jobs where they will thrive and grow,” Smith-Anoa’i said. “The goal of program is to help new diverse voices break into the business and, more importantly help launch and groom future content creators.”

Now in its 13th year, the CBS Writers Mentoring Program initiative has helped launch the careers of 54 writers, including Jessica Chou (No Tomorrow), Lauren Goodman (American Gothic), Grete Heinemann (NCIS: New Orleans), Daniel K. Hoh (Pure Genius), Damir and Dario Konjicija (The Great Indoors), Gina Lucita Monreal (NCIS), Denise Thé (Person of Interest), Aaron Rahsaan Thomas (The Get Down, Sleepy Hollow) and Chantelle Wells (Jane the Virgin).

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