The Television Academy Foundation announced the official launch of its new Diversity and Inclusion Unscripted Internship Program for Los Angeles-area college students from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds. The program was established with personal donations totaling $1 million from five leaders in reality-based television: Cris Abrego, Chairman of the Americas at Banijay and President and CEO of Endemol Shine Holdings; Jim Berger, Co-founder & Chairman of High Noon Entertainment and Strategic Advisor at ITV America; Rasha and Stephanie Drachkovitch, Co-Founders and Co-CEOs of 44 Blue Productions; and Jonathan Murray, Co-founder of Bunim/Murray Productions.
“About two years ago, Jon Murray first called me to talk about the lack of diversity in unscripted TV; and after talking with him at great length, we decided to do something about it and hopefully make a lasting difference within our industry. So we are thrilled that other unscripted leaders have joined us and the Television Academy Foundation to launch this unprecedented new internship program designed to give underrepresented groups an opportunity to work in the reality TV business. As a Latino kid who grew up just outside of Los Angeles, I know firsthand how important it is to get that first break and to learn directly from those who are developing and producing unscripted series at the top studios in this town,” said Cris Abrego, who was recently elected chair of the Television Academy Foundation.
“Expanding inclusivity within the industry means we have to support those aspiring students who may not have the means or connections to fulfill their career goals in television. This program will prioritize internship opportunities for local students from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds that may ultimately lead to full-time employment. Now that the program has been established, we look forward to expanding the endowment with the support of additional reality television leaders,” added Jonathan Murray, Vice Chair of the Television Academy Foundation, who, with Abrego, spearheaded the fundraising for this initiative.
Five students will be selected by Television Academy members and the Foundation’s board of directors to participate in the program each year. Eligible students from Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Ventura and San Bernardino counties may apply for the 2021 Diversity and Inclusion Unscripted Internship Program from April 7 to May 5, 2021. For more information, visit TelevisionAcademy.com/internship/unscripted.
Expanding inclusivity within the industry means we have to support those aspiring students who may not have the means or connections to fulfill their career goals in television” Jonathan Murray Vice Chair of the Television Academy Foundation