NBCU LAUNCH, the leading diversity, equity, and inclusion brand within NBCUniversal’s entertainment television portfolio, is furthering its commitment to representation in the industry with the launch of two groundbreaking initiatives. These initiatives, the NBCU LAUNCH Unscripted Producers Initiative and the NBCU LAUNCH Unscripted Assistant Editor Initiative, aim to cultivate behind-the-camera talent in unscripted television. With these additions, NBCU LAUNCH continues to pave the way for increased diversity and inclusion in critical roles across its unscripted productions.
The NBCU LAUNCH Unscripted Producers Initiative:
The NBCU LAUNCH Unscripted Producers Initiative is designed to nurture emerging showrunners and high-level producers. By providing on-the-job experience and mentorship to qualified mid-level producers, this initiative creates a pathway for participants to advance their careers. Selected participants are hired on an NBCUniversal unscripted show in an applicable producer role, working closely with the show’s senior-level producing team. Notably, participants receive producer credit commensurate with their title. Upon completion of the program, they are considered for future placement on an NBCUniversal unscripted series. This initiative offers two distinct tracks: Lifestyle and Documentary Series, and Formats and Competition Series.
The Lifestyle and Documentary Series track prepares segment, talent, field, and supervising producers to become the next generation of executive producers and showrunners in their respective genres. Participants gain valuable experience by working on one of NBCUniversal’s unscripted series for a full season. The opportunity to receive guidance from senior producing teams and establish valuable industry connections further enhances their professional growth. To date, five producers have been placed across multiple Bravo shows, including popular franchises like The Real Housewives (Miami, New York, and Salt Lake City) and Winter House.
Within the Formats and Competition Series track, participants with varying levels of experience focus on roles such as supervising, post, challenge, and field producers. Similar to the Lifestyle and Documentary Series track, participants are assigned to an NBCUniversal unscripted series for a full season. They benefit from support and mentorship provided by the show’s senior producing team. This track has already seen four producers hired on NBCU series, including hits like American Ninja Warrior, America’s Got Talent, Password, and The Voice.
The NBCU LAUNCH Unscripted Assistant Editor Initiative:
The NBCU LAUNCH Unscripted Assistant Editor Initiative serves as a valuable pathway for production assistants (PAs) to transition into assistant editor roles. This initiative focuses on creating opportunities for PAs, especially those from historically underrepresented backgrounds, to advance within NBCUniversal productions and the industry as a whole. Partnering with The Handy Foundation, NBCU LAUNCH identifies former production assistants eligible to be considered for the talent pool. Candidates must have completed the Foundation’s AE Training Program and meet employment criteria for NBCU productions.
Expanding Inclusion Efforts:
In addition to the Unscripted Producers Initiative and Unscripted Assistant Editor Initiative, NBCU LAUNCH continues to expand its inclusion efforts with previously announced programs. The Talent and Casting Assistant program aims to develop aspiring episodic and unscripted casting directors by providing six months of support within NBCU’s television portfolio, followed by six months at an independent casting office in Los Angeles or New York. The Below-the-Line Traineeship and Production Assistant Initiative focuses on increasing the pool of experienced talent, including underrepresented backgrounds, who can be directly hired onto productions.
The NBCU LAUNCH Below-the-Line Traineeship:
The Below-the-Line Traineeship, developed in partnership with various IATSE Locals in the United States and Canada, aims to cultivate the next generation of heads of departments in crucial production roles such as costumes, props, grips, and set lighting. This program provides participants with paid, on-the-job production experience. Trainees in the United States are sourced through Hollywood Cinema Production Resources (Hollywood CPR), Georgia Film Academy, and New Orleans Video Access Center (NOVAC). Over the past 18 months, the program successfully placed 24 trainees across 10 Universal Studio Group (USG) productions. Trainees working on Los Angeles-based productions fulfill their on-the-job production hours as part of their certification through Hollywood CPR, which qualifies them for placement on applicable local IATSE rosters. The program recently expanded to include the first international production in partnership with Cinespace Studios, allowing qualified trainees from the CineCares Workforce Training Program to access USG productions in Toronto.
The NBCU LAUNCH Production Assistant Initiative:
The NBCU LAUNCH Production Assistant Initiative focuses on boosting representation among production assistants (PAs) in NBCUniversal’s television productions in the United States. Since its launch in fall 2022, the initiative has successfully placed 15 PAs from underrepresented backgrounds across seven NBCU unscripted series. These PAs work in both production and post-production roles, contributing to the overall diversity of the production crews. The initiative is set to expand into scripted programming later this year, broadening its impact.
NBCU LAUNCH’s comprehensive diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts are making substantial strides in unscripted television. By establishing these groundbreaking initiatives, the company is committed to creating meaningful change behind the camera and increasing representation in critical roles. The Unscripted Producers Initiative, Unscripted Assistant Editor Initiative, Below-the-Line Traineeship, Production Assistant Initiative, and other programs collectively contribute to a more inclusive and diverse industry landscape. Through mentorship, support, and on-the-job experiences, NBCU LAUNCH continues to foster the next generation of talented professionals from underrepresented backgrounds, driving lasting change in the entertainment industry.
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