Cue “Pomp and Circumstance.” Fox has selected Thomas Wong as the first fellow chosen from the participants in its inaugural Fox Writers Intensive program.Wong was one of 10 scribes who just completed the four-month training program designed to hone the skills of promising writers with some film or TV experience. In selecting him as the FWI Fellow, the Fox network has inked a deal to develop Wong’s script “Queen,” a look at the off-stage lives of drag queens in Gotham. The other nine FWI participants will also be considered for writing opportunities on Fox TV and film projects, or even books through HarperCollins. Wong described the FWI workshops and sessions, led by a range of seasoned writers and producers, as “overwhelming and humbling.” “The other writers are amazingly talented people,” Wong said. “I never thought it could be possible that I’d be chosen” as the fellow. Wong said the script that emerged from the program, “Queen,” is a mix of dark drama with “a good amount” of comedy. FWI is the first program launched by the Fox Audience Strategy group, which aims to promote diversity through the studio’s entertainment operations. The FWI, run in partnership with Film Independent, established a rigorous process of evaluating referrals from industry insiders and orgs to identify the 10 finalists. The Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment, which referred Wong to the program, will receive a $15,000 grant from FWI to support the org’s writer development programs. “This is a business, and great entertainment is the incorporation of diverse voices,” said Nicole Bernard, senior veep of Fox Audience Strategy. “The more people we sell to from a marketing perspective, the better our business does, period. That means staying on top of cutting-edge talent.” “Bones”creator-exec producer Hart Hanson, who worked with FWI scribes, emphasized that diversity in the writers room is more important than ever before. “The world is expanding and it’s getting tougher and tougher to find an audience,” he said. “Putting together a staff of people who are not all from the same background and experience is one way to cast a wider net.” Fox Audience aims to launch the second installment of the Writers Intensive in February in tandem with pilot season. The candidate referral process will begin in the fall.
Data provided by:Nielsen Media Research (Preliminary Results)