NBC has launched a new directing initiative for unscripted programming.

The new program will center around finding female and ethnically diverse aspiring directors.

The annual program will help launch the careers of aspiring filmmakers on alternative shows on NBC as well as shows proceed by Universal Television Alternative Studio. The program is lead by Meredith Ahr, the president of Universal Television Alternative Studio, and Karen Horne, NBC’s senior VP programming talent development and inclusion, who oversees the company’s behind-the-camera diversity programs.

The Alternative Directors Program will offer five aspiring directors the opportunity to shadow a professional director over several weeks including preparation, production, and post-production.

NBC’s shows for the first year include America’s Got Talent, Hollywood Game Night, The Voice, The Wall and World of Dance. The directors who will serve as mentors are Alan Carter, Ivan Dudynsky, Russell Norman and Alex Rudzinski.

“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.”

Added Horne: “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. 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.”

NBC has been committed to landing new and aspiring actors, writers and filmmakers. The network’s existing programs include Female Forward and the Emerging Director Program are two programs designed for directors with an interest in scripted programming.

Directors can apply for the program’s initial 2018-19 season at NBCUniTIPS.com. The submission deadline is Friday, June 29. 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.

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