Historically underrepresented performers will have more opportunities on television starting with the 2022-2023 broadcast season with the CBS Performers with Disabilities Talent Initiative announced today.
The CBS Network aims to create what it calls “meaningful representation and inclusion of all underrepresented groups, including performers with disabilities”. Opportunities are provided in regular series, guest stars or lead roles in ongoing series and pilots, playing characters specifically written with disabilities, and roles in which he is not credited.
“By focusing on the professional growth and support of these performers, this initiative helps provide opportunities and much-needed information in the industry,” said Claudia Lyon, executive vice president of talent and casting at CBS Entertainment. “There are so many talented performers who are often overlooked and not considered for roles, so our goal with this initiative is to help close that gap.”
She cited the support of Eric Goldberg, director of talent and casting, and Rosalie Joseph, Marva Smalls, executive vice president, global head of integration at Paramount and executive vice president of communications, children’s and family entertainment brands at Paramount, and See also Tiffany Smith-Anoai. executive vice president of entertainment diversity and inclusion at Paramount.
In 2019, CBS became the first network to sign the Ruderman Family Foundation’s commitment to expand listening opportunities for performers with disabilities. The commitment also aims to improve the portrayal of persons with disabilities on television by increasing the number of roles played by actors with disabilities.
As part of the new initiative, CBS has created an expanded database of performers with disabilities in consultation with advocacy groups, outreach, independent research, and open calls. CBS applied these new resources in the 2022–2023 broadcast and pilot season. and actively implements them for Paramount Global brands.
The CBS Performers with Disabilities Talent Initiative will also provide selected performers with the opportunity to participate in a series of individual promotion programs during the broadcast season. These include:
- CASTING 101: Fall 2022 Entertainment Industry Dashboard Offering Career Recommendations: What Casting Directors Look For During Auditions, How To Get Representation, Headshot/Resume/Demo Reel Tips, How Casting Directors Discover And Track Talent. and a question and answer session with CBS executives.
- ACTOR’S WORKSHOPS: Three acting workshops designed to provide feedback and advice on acting to be held throughout the year with one in-person event in Los Angeles and New York and one national event via Zoom.
- OPEN COMPETITION: An annual open competition prior to each pilot season to consider new and promising performers with disabilities.
In October, the Paramount Office of Global Inclusion will present the Disability Performers Summit in honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Additional details about this event will be announced soon.
This new initiative adds to the Network’s previously announced commitments to improve the inclusion and representation of Black, Indigenous and Colored People (BIPOC) in writers’ rooms, casting calls, and in the creation and development of new series.
This is another example of Paramount’s company-wide, global cross-brand initiative. Content to changein partnership with the Global Integration Authority, which seeks to harness the power of the company’s content creation ecosystem to disrupt the narratives that allow intolerance, harmful stereotypes and systemic racism to exist and grow.