12:15pm PT by Bryn Elise Sandberg
Rideback TV Incubator Unveils Writers and Mentors for Inaugural Session
Two months after MRC teamed with prolific producer Dan Lin and his production company Rideback for a TV incubator, the inaugural 2019 session has found its writers and mentors.
Eight writers (or writing teams) were selected for the inclusion-focused program from more than 200 applicants. The lucky scribes are Iden Baghdadchi (Agents of SHIELD), Brian Buccellato (The Flash, Batman), Jalysa Conway and Rebecca Murga (Grey’s Anatomy, The Letter), Desta Tedros Reff (Sorry for Your Loss), Jovan Robinson (The Code), Susan Cohen and Sydnie Suskind (How to Beat Your Sister-in-Law (at everything)), Robert Taylor (Spirit Riding Free) and Tracy A. Whitaker (Blindspot).
The incubator aims to financially and creatively support TV drama writers from diverse backgrounds who want to create their own cable or streaming series. The initiative offers a paid eight-month residency program for the writers, each of whom have previously been staffed on series and now want to create their own dramatic show. They also will be paired with experienced showrunners and/or executive producers who act as mentors.
The mentors participating are Amy Berg (Counterpart, Caper, Eureka), Jeremy Doner (Damages, The Killing), Susanna Fogel (The Spy Who Dumped Me, Booksmart), David Iserson (Mad Men, New Girl), Doug Jung (Big Love, Banshee), Melissa Scrivner Love (Fear the Walking Dead, Person of Interest), Glen Mazzara (The Walking Dead, The Dark Tower) and Charles Murray (Luke Cage, Sons of Anarchy).
The incubator curriculum focuses on story and character development. Writers and mentors, which are referred to in the program as "creators and producers," will work both in pairs and as a group in the writers room. The writers also will have one-on-one sessions with creative advisor Kiri Hart. The program formally kicks off May 1 and will run through the remainder of the year.
The goal for each writer is to create a market-ready, straight-to-series project. Each effort will be produced by Rideback, with financing and other studio support by MRC, which is funding the Rideback TV Incubator. Scribes whose projects successfully move to series become executive producers and are awarded writing credits as determined by the WGA. Producer-mentors will be attached to their respective projects as non-writing executive producers. Rideback and MRC will jointly take the projects out.
“We’re thrilled to have found such a dynamic group of ambitious creative voices and to have the commitment of so many accomplished writer-producers who will be their mentoring partners," said Elsie Choi, executive director of the Rideback TV Incubator. "Along with MRC, we’re eager to help our creators bring their ideas to life in new series that reflect their backgrounds and contribute to the cultural zeitgeist.”
(Valence Media, the parent company of The Hollywood Reporter, also owns MRC.)