Rick Najera Signs 3-Year Renewal Deal with CBS to
Direct its Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase
Award-winning television and film screenwriter, director, author and sketch comedian, Rick Najera has renewed his contract with CBS to direct its annual Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase for another three years.
“I’ve worked with Rick Najera for the past 11 years on The CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase and it has always been a special experience,” said Fern Orenstein, Senior Vice President of casting at CBS. “His ability to elevate a performance and find just the right nuances in a sketch are incomparable.”
Najera, (Hulu’s Emmy nominated East Los High, MAD TV, Latinologues on Broadway, In Living Color) most recently named by L.A. Times as Top 12 to Address Film Academy Diversity, has directed the CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase for the last 11 seasons.
“Rick is the consummate professional and under his direction, the showcase will continue to flourish,” said, Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i, Executive Vice President, Diversity, Inclusion & Communications.
The CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase highlights the talents of generally underrepresented ethnic groups such as Latinos, African Americans, Asian American and Native Americans with extensive sketch comedy experience. Additionally, actors with disabilities or LGBTQ actors of any ethnicity are cast and given the opportunity to play roles that point out the entertainment industry’s biases through satire and parody.
Each year, more than 4,000 diverse actors apply for this unique showcase, which operates under the direction of Rick Najera and CBS’ production team of Fern Orenstein, Senior Vice President of Casting; Josie Thomas, Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer; Peter Golden, Executive Vice President, Talent and Casting and Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i, Executive Vice President, Diversity, Inclusion & Communications. Under Najera and his keen eye for talent and direction, more than 65 showcase actors have gone on to land series regular roles including Mad TV, Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show among others.
“It has been an honor and privilege to have worked with Rick over the years, I look forward to continuing our partnership,” said Smith-Anoa’i,
Najera has received numerous industry awards for his portfolio of work in entertainment including: two Writers Guild of America (WGA) award nominations for Best Writer in a Television Series for Fox’s MAD TV, 50 Most Creatives in Hollywood by Variety, 100 Most Influential in America by Hispanic Business, an ALMA Award for co-writing the feature film, Nothing Like the Holidays starring Debra Messing, Alfred Molina, John Leguizamo and most recently, “Exemplar in Humanity-Centered Media & Community Engagement” by Media Done Responsibly. Rick Najera is also the host of Latino Thought Makers – a live stage series showcasing Latino celebrities, an award-winning author of four books and dives deep into the images of Latinos portrayed on television and in film in his latest memoir, Almost White: Forced Confessions of a Latino in Hollywood.
For more information on Rick Najera
Facebook at: www.facebook.com/ricknajerapage
Twitter/Instagram at: @ricknajera
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