Walt Disney Television Launches New Initiatives For Talent From Underrepresented Backgrounds
In an effort to expand diversity and inclusion behind the camera, Walt Disney Television said Monday that it has launched two new programs to develop talent from underrepresented backgrounds.
The initiatives are an Executive Incubator Program and Television Studios Intern program, with both to launch later this year. They will join other established programs designed to create opportunities for individuals with diverse and varied perspectives including women, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, military veterans, people with disabilities and others aspiring to hold network executive roles and behind-the-camera positions across the Walt Disney Television studios.
The Executive Incubator Program looks to create a pipeline of next-generation network executives through a two-year rotational program. The apprentice-style pilot program will operate across ABC Entertainment and Freeform. Outreach for candidates will include organizations and nonprofits who advocate for inclusion across a wide range of communities. Individuals selected for the program will gain experience in all aspects of network business, including development, current, casting and marketing with the goal of job placement within the company. The first cohort is expected to join the program in October. Interested applicants can apply now.
“Our jobs allow us the privilege to nurture great storytellers and it’s imperative that these stories come from different places, with authentic points of view and varied perspectives,” said Karey Burke, president, ABC Entertainment. “It’s incumbent on us to help find and nurture the next generation of executives who will create new opportunities for storytellers. The Executive Incubator Program is another step in making our ranks more diverse and our stories more reflective of the world we live in.”
As for the Walt Disney Television Studios Intern Program, it offers a career path for talent from underrepresented backgrounds behind the camera. Qualified candidates will be sourced from nonprofits including Academy Gold, Ghetto Film School, Los Angeles City College, Manifest Works and Evolve Entertainment Fund. Participants will develop their skills with the studios’ production, post-production, writing and casting teams, and come away from the program with real job experience and a network that will help them take their first steps to an entertainment industry career. The initiative is scheduled to begin in time for the 2019 fall season.
“Our Studios program creates opportunity for underrepresented talent to access an incredible range of career opportunities at Disney Television Studios,” said Craig Hunegs, president, Disney Television Studios. “This new initiative is a win-win-win – it helps us discover talent in underrepresented areas, gives candidates real experience as they grow their careers and ultimately leads to more diverse stories being told.”
The new initiatives are added to a list of other programs at Walt Disney Television that champion inclusion and diversity including ABC Discovers, a series of landmark initiatives created by ABC Talent and Casting that identify, develop and mentor talent from around the world; the Disney|ABC Writing Program; Disney|ABC Directing Program; Women’s Production Program; and National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) TV Writers Program.