CBS Aims for Inclusive Casting With New 'Drama Diversity' Initiative

NCIS - Pauley Perrette and Michael Weatherly  - H 2016
Courtesy of Bill Inoshita/CBS

The broadcast network will go on the road, with callback auditions outside of Los Angeles.

As pilot season approaches, CBS is making a push to rectify the network's admitted lack of nonwhite actors in its original dramas.

The network announced Thursday the launch of CBS Drama Diversity Casting Initiative, a program designed to meet with actors outside of the regular Los Angeles rotation. Applicants in underrepresented groups are invited to submit self-taped monologues to a dedicated website. Callback auditions will be held in Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Miami and San Francisco.

"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," said CBS entertainment president Glenn Geller. "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."

During the summer's TV critics press tour, Geller admitted that CBS' recent pickups for the 2016-17 season suffered from a lack of inclusivity, noting that the network will "do better" moving forward.

The end game for successful applicants is a trip to Los Angeles for a network screen test, with an estimated 14-16 actors being considered for casting opportunities in current series, pilots and other projects down the line.

CBS has set up a website with details for applicants.