CBS Launches Drama Diversity Casting Outside of LA and NY

October 13, 2016

CBS has launched a Drama Diversity Casting initiative, and is seeking new talent for their current series as well as upcoming pilots. So, from October 13-28, actors ages 18 and up are encouraged to submit self-taped monologues through their website

According to the site, the CBS Diversity Casting Initiative is a nationwide program geared to find new break-out talent, and is specifically designed to provide opportunities for underrepresented talent. “This initiative is focused on increasing exposure for people who belong to groups that have traditionally been under-represented, including African American, Asian American, Latino, Native American, Pacific Islander, LGBTQ actors and/or performers with disabilities,” the network states.

CBS Casting Executives will join together with casting directors from Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Miami, and San Francisco to work with the selected talent during callbacks in these five cities. Actors will then rehearse scenes with the casting professionals before being taped. Please note that interested actors should only apply if they’re able to travel to one of the five regions, and pay their own expenses.

Here are the locations and dates of the Callbacks:

  • Atlanta, Georgia on November 7-9
  • Austin, Texas on November 3-4
  • Chicago, Illinois on November 2-4
  • Miami, Florida on November 10-11
  • San Francisco on November 10-11

After that, 14-16 actors will be selected from these callbacks. CBS will fly those fortunate few to Los Angeles for a screen test. For this reason, it’s important that talent only apply if they’re able to travel to Los Angeles during the week of December 12, 2016. These actors will be given opportunities to be cast in current network series, pilot season, and more.

“This outreach is a real opportunity for CBS to discover actors located across the country, outside of Los Angeles and New York, who haven’t had the chance to meet or be seen by network casting executives,” the president of CBS Entertainment, Glenn Geller said. “We’ve had great success with our CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase, which launched the careers of numerous actors, and we are confident this will do the same.” 

Indeed, CBS had received criticism over the years, but especially this fall when its new fall series lacked diversity among the lead performers. That’s when the network pledged to take action to cast more diverse actors.

CBS’s Sketch Comedy Showcase has been going strong for eleven years now, and is likewise designed to highlight diverse talent through the CBS Diversity Institute Talent Showcases. To date, it has featured 354 actors who have been on thousands of auditions, and landed over 600 roles. The upcoming annual Sketch Comedy Showcase is set for January 2017 where selected talent will perform before a packed theater of agents, managers, studio and network executives, and Hollywood tastemakers.

If the new launching of the Drama Diversity Casting Initiative succeeds as well as the Sketch Comedy Showcases, then it can be a great opportunity for aspiring talent. After all, past sketch comedy participants include Justin Hires (Rush Hour), Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live), Geoffrey Arend (Madam Secretary), Eugene Codero (Crazy Ex-Girlfrind), Masi Oka (Hawaii Five-O), and more.