CBS Drama Diversity Casting Initiative Debuts

‘Real opportunity’ for network to tap larger pool of actors, says Geller
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CBS has launched the network’s Drama Diversity Casting Initiative, designed to find diverse talent for CBS’ series and upcoming pilots. Part of the CBS Diversity Institute, the program aims to reach untapped talent around the country, including areas “with limited access to industry professionals,” said CBS, and steer them toward a screen test in Los Angeles.

CBS has been taken to task for years for what its critics say is a glaring lack of diversity reflected on its air. Glenn Geller, entertainment president, fielded several pointed questions on the topic at the TCA press tour in August.

The initiative targets underrepresented groups and individuals that CBS identifies as African American, Asian American, Latino, Native American, Pacific Islander, LGBTQ and performers with disabilities. It builds on CBS’ Sketch Comedy Showcase.

“This outreach is a real opportunity for CBS to discover actors located across the country, outside of Los Angeles and New York, who haven’t had the chance to meet or be seen by network casting executives,” said Geller. “We’ve had great success with our CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase, which launched the careers of numerous actors, and we are confident this will do the same.”

From Oct. 13 to Oct. 28, actors 18 and older can submit a self-taped monologue via www.CBSDiversity.com. Actors should, according to CBS, “possess strong dramatic talent and a technical skill set.”

CBS casting executives will review all submissions and make selections for regional callback auditions in Chicago (Nov. 2-4), Austin (Nov. 3-4), Atlanta (Nov. 7-9) Miami (Nov. 10-11) and San Francisco (Nov. 10-11). From that group, 14-16 actors will be selected to travel to Los Angeles for a screen test.

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