Guild offers newbie scribes a lesson in the industry

HOLLYWOOD — The Writers Guild of America West has launched its first Showrunner Training Program with studios and nets. Aim is to give young scribes the behind-the-scenes knowledge they’ll need to become series showrunners.

Program was approved during last year’s negotiations between the guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers. It’s open to guild members employed as executive story editors (or above) or involved in active network/studio pilot development.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to work together with the guild to support this innovative program, developing the future showrunners of our industry,” CBS chairman Leslie Moonves said in a statement. “The lifeblood of our business lies in its ability to train the most promising of its professionals into people capable of turning a creative vision into a real television program that pleases viewers week after week.

“That’s the showrunner’s job — and the more of these talented individuals we at the networks and studios can draw on, the better.”

Guild credits “Alias” showrunner Jeff Melvoin with overseeing development of the program along with John Wells (“ER,” “The West Wing”), WGA West exec director John McLean and program administrator Carole Kirschner. The AMPTP companies and nets provided initial funding.

Program’s committee includes showrunners Yvette Lee Bowser (“Half & Half”), John Wirth (“Ghost Whisperer”) and Nicole Yorkin (“The Brotherhood”); CBS exec Harry Isaacs and Marc Sandman of Touchstone TV are consultants.

Program will launch in January with approximately 20 candidates in the initial class. WGA will solicit exec producers and studio execs for candidates and must receive a letter of recommendation on behalf of candidates by Aug. 31; prospective candidates then will be sent applications.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more