Disney Television has announced that it will extend the Directing Program into unscripted content. For the first time, the program will offer emerging directors guaranteed segment directing opportunities on some of ABC’s most popular unscripted series, as well as shadowing, mentoring and professional development in the genre.
The DET Creative Talent Development & Inclusion (CTDI) team, in partnership with the ABC Unscripted and Alternative Programming team, invited aspiring unscripted television directors to apply earlier this year. Six finalists were selected to participate in professional development and craft workshops with seasoned Disney unscripted directors and producers and meet with unscripted programming executives.
From the finalists, CTDI and the Unscripted Programming team selected two directors. First assistant director Rachel Shimko was chosen to shadow Emmy-nominated unscripted and daytime director Ken Fuchs (“The Bachelor,” “Family Feud” and “Shark Tank”) on the set of “Shark Tank,” and direct a segment of the upcoming season of “The Bachelor.” Long-time camera operator Kerry Clemens will shadow “Dancing with the Stars”‘ lead director, double BAFTA-winning Phil Heyes, and direct a segment on ABC’s upcoming season of the show.
Rob Mills, executive vice president, Unscripted and Alternative Entertainment, Walt Disney Television said in a statement:
“The DET Directing Program has nurtured some of the most incredible talent through unique storytelling opportunities, and we are excited to work with them for the first time across ABC’s unscripted slate. All six finalists were exceptional and have a breadth of experience that would benefit any show. We look forward to collaborating through this initiative and celebrate the fresh perspectives of the new and emerging directors that will help us continue to push boundaries in dynamic ways.”
Since its inception in 2011, the DET Directing Program has helped launch the careers of notable directors including Tessa Blake (“A Million Little Things”), Pete Chatmon (“black-ish”), Ryan Coogler (“Black Panther” franchise), Zetna Fuentes (“Jane the Virgin”), Regina King (“Insecure”), Marvin Lemus (“Gentefied”), Jaffar Mahmood (“Young Sheldon”), Nzingha Stewart (“Little Fires Everywhere”), Jude Weng (“grown-ish”) and Valerie Weiss (“Outer Banks”). For the past two years, it has guaranteed episodes to first-time episodic directors on DET scripted series. Last year, the program expanded into daytime television with the addition of “General Hospital.”
Tim McNeal, senior vice president, CTDI added:
“Our collaboration with ABC Unscripted Television to expand the Directing Program is already creating exciting opportunities for emerging directors to grow and excel in this genre. We have ambitious plans to extend our program’s reach across more Disney brands, further enriching the diversity and creativity of our storytelling.”
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