2016 PROGRAM WRITERS JOIN DISNEY|ABC RANKS, MONDAY, FEBRUARY 1
2015 Drama Writers Land Five Script Assignments, and
All Comedy Writers Secure Program Extensions
Now in its 27th year, the Disney|ABC Television Group Writing Program will launch the 2016 group of eight writers on Monday, February 1. On the comedy front are directors' assistant Dayo Adesokan (Lagos, Nigeria), writers' assistant Amanda Idoko (Bronx, NY) and reality segment producer Andrew Mathieson (Fairfax County, VA). This year's drama line-up includes award-winning playwright and financial consultant Ron McCants (Springfield, MO), USC Law School graduate and showrunners' assistant Miguel Ian Raya (Los Angeles, CA), playwright and Occidental College Adjunct Professor Janine Salinas Schoenberg (Lima, Peru and Walnut Creek, CA), writers' production assistant Christina Walker (Virginia Beach, VA) as well as engineer and writers' assistant Jeffery Wang (Monterey, CA).
Thanks to the support of Disney Channel executive producers Linda Videtti Figueiredo and Rob Lotterstein, as well as Freeform showrunner Dan Berendsen, options have been exercised for 2015 comedy writers Julia Grob ("Stuck in the Middle"), Amy-Jo Perry ("KC Undercover") and Graham Thiel ("Baby Daddy") to continue staff writer services. Additional successes include ABC staffed drama writers Brandon Easton ("Agent Carter"), Jewel McPherson ("Wicked City"), David Renaud ("Blood & Oil") and Matt Turner ("The Family"), as well as Freeform writer Miguel Nolla ("Stitchers"), who each received script writing assignments while staffed on their respective series during the 2015-16 season.
The Disney|ABC Writing Program has been an integral part of launching the careers of many successful television writers, including George Mastras ("Breaking Bad"), Veena Sud ("The Killing") and Maria Jacquemetton ("Mad Men"). This season nearly 20 Writing Program Alum staffed on series across Disney|ABC, including co-executive producer Jane Espensen ("Once Upon A Time," ABC), supervising producers Zahir McGhee ("Scandal" ABC) and Peter Saji ("black-ish"), co-executive producer Roger Grant ("Stitchers," Freeform) and showrunner Sylvia Cardenas Olivas ("Elena of Avalor," Disney Channel).
Tim McNeal, vice president, Creative Talent Development & Inclusion, said, "Incorporating multi-cultural and unique life experiences into the creative process affords Disney|ABC the opportunity to create compelling storylines in its storytelling." He added, "The continued support we have received from Disney|ABC producers and creative executives is a testament to the company's commitment to diversity, and seeing so many of our writers rise through the ranks in various writers' rooms validates the program's effectiveness."
Disney Channel's "KC Undercover" executive producer Rob Lotterstein commented, "As a showrunner who is continuously thinking of ways to make my shows original and fresh, nothing makes me happier than hiring and mentoring new and up-and-coming talent. Thanks to the Creative Talent Development & Inclusion Programs, I've been lucky enough to work with both their Program Writers and Program Directors. 2014 Program Writer Lucas Brown Eyes and 2015 Program Writer Amy-Jo Perry are not only amazing writers, but with their distinct perspectives and varied backgrounds they help make my scripts smarter and funnier." He added, "I also met Kimberly McCullough when she was in the Disney-ABC Directing Program and gave her her first directing assignment. After the network received the cut of the episode she directed, they called me and raved about it! I just hope these talented people remember me when I need a job one day!"