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Elizabeth Boykewich: Casting a wide net for young stars

Youth Impact Report 2012: Channeling Talent

As vice president of casting and talent at ABC Family, Elizabeth Boykewich oversees all casting for movies, pilots, live action series, animation and reality TV, and since assuming the influential post in 2005, has been integral in defining the brand and servicing the fickle tastes of the millennial audiences.

“It’s hard work but a really fun job,” she says, citing such successes over the past year as “Switched at Birth.” “That show was very important for us as a network, and especially exciting for me to work on a project for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. After a huge nationwide search, we found Katie Leclerc, a hearing-impaired actress, and Sean Berdy, who has so resonated with our audiences and became this big heartthrob.”

Boykewich is also proud of “Pretty Little Liars,” which won four Teen Choice Awards this year. “All the leads are on magazine covers now,” she beams.

The exec’s keen eye for talent is “both a gift and a learned skill,” says Boykewich, who helped find Lindsay Lohan for Disney’s “The Parent Trap” remake and Angus T. Jones for “See Spot Run.” “When I was a kid growing up in New Jersey, I’d always pay attention to actors and who was cast in what show. I was always attuned to that.

“But you also need to love doing this, as it involves a lot of different personalities and getting everyone to play nice in the sandbox,” she continues. “I really feel my job is giving people a platform to shine, and it’s especially gratifying in this 18-to-25-year-old range.”

Impact: ABC Family’s casting honcho has a keen eye for fresh talent.
Next: “Bunheads,” “Baby Daddy” and “Melissa & Joey” were all picked up. Boykewich is starting work on ABC Family’s 2013 Christmas movie.
Causes: Smile Train, Modest Needs.

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