ViacomCBS Announces Five Participants For 2021-2022 Directors Initiative (TV News Roundup)

CBS Directors Initiative
Courtesy of CBS

ViacomCBS announced the five participants for its 2021-2022 Directors Initiative: Julie Herlocker, Bao Tran, Joy T. Lane, Pat Santana and Steven J. Kung.

The initiative provides a platform for experienced directors to gain access to showrunners, executives, managers and agents as well as the opportunity to shadow CBS Television Network and CBS Studio shows throughout the year. The program helps directors develop relationships with industry professionals, networks that are essential to finding work in the field. In its 18th year, the program will guarantee all participants of the initiative an episode of television to direct on the CBS Television Network.

“The ViacomCBS Directors Initiative gives television directors the access, exposure and opportunity to be successful in this industry,” said Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i, executive vice president of entertainment diversity and inclusion and global inclusion at ViacomCBS. “Last year’s participant, Morenike Joela Evans, has recently helmed the ‘iCarly’ reboot for Paramount Plus and ‘How I Met Your Father’ [for Hulu]. The success of this initiative has created a growing community of support, where past participants, who are now in positions of influence, are mentoring and hiring current participants.”

Also in today’s TV news roundup:


Hulu announced that upcoming limited series “The Dropout” will premiere with three episodes on March 3, with new episodes streaming weekly afterwards. The series tells the story of Elizabeth Holmes (Amanda Seyfried), the founder of health tech company Theranos, which is now defunct after the blood testing technology was proven invalid. Its executives have since been indicted on fraud charges. Naveen Andrews also stars as Theranos executive Sunny Balwani. Executive producers include showrunner Elizabeth Meriwether, Liz Heldens, Liz Hannah, Katherine Pope, Rebecca Jarvis, Victoria Thompson and Taylor Dunn. Michael Showalter is set to direct multiple episodes and will executive produce via Semi-Formal Productions with Jordana Mollick. Searchlight Television and 20th Television produce. See several first look images below.

The Dropout

The Dropout

The Dropout -- Money. Romance. Tragedy. Deception. Hulu’s limited series “The Dropout,” the story of Elizabeth Holmes (Amanda Seyfried) and Theranos is an unbelievable tale of ambition and fame gone terribly wrong. How did the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire lose it all in the blink of an eye? Elizabeth Holmes (Amanda Seyfried), shown. (Photo by: Beth Dubber/Hulu)

The Dropout -- Money. Romance. Tragedy. Deception. Hulu’s limited series “The Dropout,” the story of Elizabeth Holmes (Amanda Seyfried) and Theranos is an unbelievable tale of ambition and fame gone terribly wrong. How did the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire lose it all in the blink of an eye? Sunny Balwani (Naveen Andrews) and Elizabeth Holmes (Amanda Seyfried), shown. (Photo by: Beth Dubber/Hulu)

The Roku Channel announced that the docuseries “Slugfest” will premiere on Dec. 24. The 10-part series explores the decades-long relationship and rivalry between Marvel and DC Comics, as each episode dives into the story from the company history to the superhero phenomena. “Slugfest” is executive produced by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo. Kevin Smith narrates the series. Don Argott and Sheena M. Joyce served as directors, and producers include Todd Makurath, Peter Rieveschl, Nick Gilhool and Jen Casey. The series was created in partnership with AGBO.


Apple TV Plus premiered “Ted Lasso: The Missing Christmas Mustache.” In the stop-motion short, Ted’s (Jason Sudeikis) famous mustache goes missing. His friends at the AFC Richmond soccer team help him look for it so that his son Henry (Gus Turner) will recognize him on their Christmas FaceTime call. See the short below.

Netflix debuted a trailer for “Crime Scene: The Times Square Killer,” which premieres on Dec. 29. As the second installment of director Joe Berlinger’s “Crime Scene” docuseries, the three-episode season will tell the story of the 1979 investigation of a Manhattan serial killer who targeted sex workers, with interview subjects including police officers and Jennifer Weiss, the daughter of one of the victims. Berlinger executive produces along with Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Sara Bernstein, Justin Wilkes, Jon Kamen, Jon Doran, Jen Isaacson, Samantha Grogin and Leslie Mattingly. “Crime Scene: The Times Square Killer” is an Imagine Documentaries and RadicalMedia production in association with Third Eye Motion Picture Company. Watch the trailer below.


AMC Plus announced the acquisition of the six-part British thriller “The Ipcress File” from ITV Studios. Based on the Len Deighton novel set in the 1960s, the series follows British army sergeant Harry Palmer (Joe Cole) who is enlisted to become a spy in order to avoid going to prison. He goes on to investigate the kidnapping of a nuclear scientist, the journey taking him from London to Berlin to Beirut. Along with Cole, the series stars Lucy Boynton and Tom Hollander. Executive producers are Will Clarke and Andy Mayson for Altitude Television, Andrew Eaton for Turbine, Sandy Lieberson, director James Watkins, Hillary Saltzman and Steven Saltzman. The series is produced by Paul Ritchie.

iHeartMedia and The CW announced a new multi-year agreement for The CW to remain the exclusive television broadcast and video streaming partner for both the iHeartRadio Music Festival and the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball event. The CW and iHeartMedia have been partners on these events since 2012. This year’s iHeartRadio Jingle Ball tour will culminate with The CW television special, which first airs on Dec. 15 at 8 p.m. and featuring performances from Ed Sheeran, BTS, Doja Cat and more; it will re-air on Dec. 25 at 8 p.m.


Fox First Run has renewed four original programs: “You Bet Your Life” with Jay Leno, “25 Words or Less,” “Dish Nation” and “Divorce Court.” These programs will continue to run on the Fox-owned stations through the 2022-2023 season. “Your Bet Your Life” debuted in September of 2021 with Tom Werner and David Hurwitz serving as executive producers. “25 Words or Less” debuted as a preview show in August 2018 and is hosted by Meredith Vieira, who also executive produces along with Lisa Kudrow, Dan Bucatinsky, Mary McCormack, Michael Morris, Michael Canter and Bruce Sterten. “25 Words or Less” is produced by Dino Bones Productions. The entertainment news program “Dish Nation” debuted in July 2011; its team includes Headkrack, Gary with da Tea, Da Brat, Sherri Shepherd, Heidi Hamilton, Frank Kramer and Chuey Martinez. “Divorce Court,” the longest running court show on television, is hosted by Judge Faith Jenkins and produced by Lincolnwood Productions.


Penélope Cruz, Kid Cudi and Joanna Stern will appear on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” while Ben Affleck and Jay Ellis will be on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei and Turnstile will be on “Late Night With Seth Meyers.” “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” will feature Denzel Washington Maggie Gyllenhaal and special guests in celebration of the 20th anniversary of “Lord of the Rings.” Ariana Grande, RuPaul and Jimmie Allen will be on “The Late Late Show with James Corden.”