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CBS Television Studios and NAACP strike deal to develop programming

NAACP President Derrick Johnson is shown in 2017
NAACP President Derrick Johnson in 2017.
(Susan Walsh / AP)

CBS Television Studios and the NAACP have entered into a multi-year agreement to develop and produce scripted and unscripted programming in addition to documentary content, executives from the two parties announced in a joint statement.

George Cheeks, president and CEO of the CBS Entertainment Group, and Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, added in the statement that CBS Television Studios’ creative leaders will work with the civil rights organization to establish a dedicated team of executives and infrastructure to acquire, develop and produce programming.

The focus will be on producing “premium content that expands the number of diverse voices contributing to an ever-evolving society, and by telling inclusive stories that increase the visibility and impact of Black artists in a growing media landscape.”

The partnership includes a commitment to develop content for CBS as well as the ability to sell programming to third-party platforms across the media landscape.

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CBS will commit at least 25% of its development budget to projects with BIPOC creators and wants its writers rooms to be 40% nonwhite by the 2021-22 season.

Said Cheeks: “An important way to diversify and grow our storytelling is to expand our horizons beyond the traditional studio-producer system. There is no better partner than the NAACP — the preeminent civil rights organization in our country — to help us find, develop and tell these inclusive stories.”

Johnson added, “Programming and content have the power to shape perspectives and drive conversations around critical issues. This partnership with CBS allows us to bring compelling and important content to a broad audience.”

The announcement follows a commitment by CBS earlier this week to increase the proportion of Black, indigenous or people of color (BIPOC) writers on CBS series beginning with the 2021-22 season, as well as earmark script development money for projects with BIPOC creators or producers.


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