The Paley Center for Media has launched a new paid internship program named in honor of longtime television-studio chief Peter Roth. The new program has been endowed through grants from Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY Alliance, the Berlanti Family Foundation, the Chuck Lorre Family Foundation, and the Katie McGrath & J.J. Abrams Family Foundation.
The Peter Roth Internship Program has been designed to embody Roth’s love for the business and art of television and deep appreciation of TV writers. It will also emphasize the importance of increasing inclusion and representation in the creative community and on screen.
“The Paley Center for Media is proud to announce this internship program in honor of Peter Roth, whose career has tremendously shaped the TV industry,” said Maureen J. Reidy, the Paley Center’s President and CEO. “With a new class of interns from diverse backgrounds and underserved communities each year, the program will create ongoing access and opportunity to help build more diversity in the industry and inspire the next generation of television professionals. We’re incredibly grateful to Greg Berlanti, Ava DuVernay, Chuck Lorre, Katie McGrath, and J.J. Abrams, who helped make this program possible for years to come.”
“I am deeply honored and humbled by the creation of this internship program that will support the next generation of television professionals,” said Peter Roth. “My love for this industry is matched only by my admiration and respect for the work of The Paley Center for Media and for the indefatigable Maureen Reidy, who is a long term friend and colleague. Most especially, I am profoundly grateful to my dear friends, Ava, Greg, Chuck, and JJ and Katie for this wonderful gift. Their vision and dedication towards creating a program that will ensure greater equity and diversity is as admirable as it is vitally important. This is, without question, one of the most generous and meaningful initiatives of my career.”
The program’s first class will begin their internships this fall. Students will be offered an extensive course rooted in the Paley Center’s renowned archives, one that will explore television and the importance of diversity and inclusion in the medium. Through guest lectures and Q&A sessions, students will gain access to television executives, talent, showrunners and writers, and be able to visit sets, studios and networks.
This fall’s class will begin their internships remotely, with the hopes of eventually transitioning to in-person work. Applications for the program will open in April.
Roth recently stepped down as chairman of Warner Bros. Television after two decades at the studio, which he first joined as president in 1999. Among the shows he shepherded at WBTV were “The Big Bang Theory,” “Two and a Half Men,” “The West Wing,” “Gilmore Girls,” “Smallville,” “Gossip Girl,” “Shameless,” “George Lopez,” “The Flash,” “Supernatural,” “The Vampire Diaries” and “One Tree Hill.” He came to WBTV from Fox Entertainment, where he developed “Ally McBeal,” “That ’70s Show” and “Family Guy.” He began his historic career as a manager of children’s programming at ABC in the 1970s.
“When I met Peter Roth, he broke every previous assumption about what an executive with such reach, influence and power could be. He has guided and guarded me, encouraged and empowered me as a passionate champion of artists and the stories we tell,” said DuVernay. “The Peter Roth Internship Program at the Paley Center is a fitting tribute to a titan of an executive who has championed creators his entire career. ARRAY Alliance is proud to recognize his rich legacy with a program that lays the foundation for the next generation of great leaders in our industry. May they follow in his mighty footsteps.”
“Peter Roth had a profound impact on my life and the lives of countless artists in this business. There isn’t an executive I’ve met who is more passionate about making great television,” said Greg Berlanti. “The Berlanti Family Foundation is honored and thrilled to be a part of helping found this paid internship, focused on creating more diverse leaders in our business and named after Peter Roth, a man whose legacy and passion are unparalleled.”
“Peter Roth loves television. And strange as it may seem, that love, that passion, is a rare commodity in the business of television,” said Chuck Lorre. “I’m forever grateful for his friendship, support and all the laughter we’ve shared. I love you, Mister Roth. You’re one of the greats!”
“In a cut-throat business, Peter Roth is one of the very few — perhaps one of one — that is famously wonderful. His passion for TV, for story and storytellers, his kindness and generosity are legendary,” said McGrath and Abrams. “If there is anyone whose wisdom, insights and spirit of collaboration should endure, it’s Peter. We are honored to contribute in a small way to his well-earned legacy.”