CBS has announced the six writers who will participate in its 2019-2020 Writers Mentoring Program.
The eight-month mentoring program, set up in 2004, aims to provide access and opportunity for writers by pairing them with a CBS executive mentor who helps them develop a new piece of material. Following the mentorship period, the writers will participate in a 16-week workshop designed to teach them everything about the television business, as well as provide them access to agents, managers, executives, showrunners and producers.
This year’s crop of writers are Mike Diaz, who has written, directed, and produced several features and docs, Gia Gordon, whose writing has been selected for the Black List Feature Screenwriters Lab, Gabriel Ho, who started in the mailroom at WME and later worked as a writers’ assistant on TNT’s “Animal Kingdom” and Amazon’s “The Dark Tower,” Lydia Teffera, who co-wrote her first episode of network television for “God Friended Me” earlier this year, Chandra Thomas, who works as a writer, actor and producer with a background in theater, television and film, and Minoti Vaishnav, who works as an unscripted TV producer, helping develop content for NatGeo, History Channel and Netflix among other networks.
“Our initiative focuses on professional growth that we believe lay the foundation for sustainable success in a very competitive marketplace,” said Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i, executive vice president of entertainment diversity, inclusion and communications at CBS Entertainment. “Now in its 17th year, the exposure, access and opportunity this program gives our writers is key in creating game-changers in our industry. Many of our alumni have gone on to become executive producers on various television shows.”
According to CBS, all the participants from last year’s program are currently staffed on shows such as “Hawaii Five-0,” “NCIS: New Orleans,” “Seal Team,” “Nancy Drew” and “Broke.” Writers who have previously emerged from the mentoring program include Munis Rashid, Gina Monreal, Bo Yeon Kim & Erika Lippoldt, Aaron Thomas, Howard Jordan Jr., Ashley Charbonnet and Lisa Bao.