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Turner, Refinery29 Host Women’s Comedy Writers Lab, With Winner Getting TBS Digital Pilot

Time Warner’s Turner cable group and digital-media firm Refinery29 are jointly hosting a two-day comedy writing workshop this weekend aiming to nurture new comedic female voices.

The Riot Comedy Lab, taking place Dec. 2-3 in New York, will bring eight emerging women comedy creators together with mentors from the TV comedy world to provide feedback on their series concepts. At the end of lab, Refinery 29 and Turner will pick one web series idea for the creation of a pilot episode, to be distributed on TBS’s digital platforms — with the potential for it to be picked up as a full series on TV.

The mentors for the Riot Comedy Lab are: Sasheer Zamata, former “Saturday Night Live” cast member; Ashley Nicole Black, writer for TBS’s “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee”; Lakshmi Sundaram, writer-producer for Fox’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”; and Meredith Scardino, former writer on “The Colbert Report.”

The partnership comes after Turner led a $45 million round of funding in Refinery29 last year. Refinery29 announced plans for the Riot comedy writer’s event at its Digital Content NewFront presentation in the spring.

Refinery29 targets a millennial female audience. It launched the Riot comedy channel about a year ago, and since then has worked with more than 100 women in comedy.

“When we launched Riot, we made it our mission to identify, support, and amplify up-and-coming female comedic talent,” said Amy Emmerich, Refinery29’s chief content officer. “And now, we’re so excited to work with TBS and some of the brightest stars in comedy to create a space to develop this group of emerging voices.”

The eight participants in the Riot Comedy Lab — selected from 243 entries submitted by female comedy writers — are: Jonterri Gadson; Kim Blanck; Andrea Simons; Christina Anthony; Ariana Seigel; Susannah Bohlke; Atsuko Okatsuka; and Fareeha Khan.

Refinery29 said it will create additional content out of the lab, including testimonials, behind-the-scenes footage and an “Advice to My Younger Self” video, which will be distributed on its channels.

Separately, YouTube has launched a female-comedy production program in partnership with Elizabeth Banks and her digital-media company, WhoHaHa. Under the program, YouTube and WhoHaha are mentoring around 100 women comedy creators around the globe.

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