CBS Names New Diversity Comedy Showcase Co-Directors After Rick Najera Resignation

CBS has named the new co-directors and head writers of the network’s Diversity Showcase following the exit of former director Rick Najera, it was announced Monday.

Grace Parra and Stephen Guarino will co-direct with Nahreen Tarzi and Chris Eckert serving as the head writers. All four are previous participants of the CBS showcase. The next showcase will be held in Los Angeles at the El Portal Theater in January 2018.

Parra is a host, comedian, actress and writer. She was a performer and writer in the 2013 CBS showcase whose television and film credits include “How I Met Your Mother,”“Zeke & Luther,” “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” “Farah Goes Bang,” “The Bonnie Hunt Show” and “Greenberg.” Guarino is a writer, actor and director who performed and wrote for the 2011 showcase His credits include “Happy Endings,” “Dr. Ken,” “The Comeback,” “The Big Gay Sketch Show,” and “2 Broke Girls,” on the Network. He has directed at The Groundlings, Funny or Die, and Upright Citizens Brigade.

Tarzi is a writer and comedian who currently serves as head writer at Frederator Networks. She is a graduate of the Second City Conservatory and has performed stand-up for over eight years. Eckert is a main company member of the Groundlings Theatre where he has created and produced the ongoing LGBTQ show “The Gale.” His additional credits include “The Comeback,” “Raising Hope,” “Super Fun Night,” “MADtv” and “The Gay and Wondrous Life of Caleb Gallo.”

Parra is repped by UTA and Mosaic. Guarino is repped by CAA and 3 Arts Entertainment. Eckert is repped by Don Buchwald and Associates and Liberman Zerman Management.

The CBS Diversity Comedy Showcase is attended by senior level CBS Entertainment executives, showrunners and casting directors from series on CBS, as well as other networks and talent agents/managers from across the entertainment industry. Alumni of the showcase include Emmy Award winner Kate McKinnon, Justin Hires, Geoffrey Arend, and Eugene Codero.

Najera had helmed the showcase since it began, but he resigned in late October following allegations that he made inappropriate comments to performers. Najera has denied the allegations, saying in a statement shortly after his resignation that he and his family “are heartbroken and confounded by deliberate and cruel defamations. Anyone who has been slammed by libelous deceptions knows exactly how we feel.”

(Pictured: Stephen Guarino, left; Grace Parra, right)

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