The All-Female Class of Experienced Directors to Helm Segments on Hit Shows, “American Ninja Warrior,” “America’s Got Talent,” “Hollywood Game Night,” “Making It,” “The Voice,” “The Wall” and “World of Dance”

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – Dec 4, 2018 – NBC has announced the inaugural class for its landmark Alternative Directors Program, the industry’s first directing pipeline program for unscripted shows. With the new initiative, NBC takes a step toward equal representation behind the scenes on alternative series – an unserved part of the industry when it comes to inclusion efforts, despite the prevalence of unscripted shows on TV. The program gives experienced female and ethnically diverse directors access to expand their repertoire of alternative formats and complex directing styles with the ultimate goal of opening the door to future projects.

The seven program finalists and the celebrated directors who will serve as their mentors are: Madeline Fuste (“Hollywood Game Night,” Ivan Dudynsky), Sarah De La O (“The Voice,” Alan Carter), Sharon Everitt (“The Wall,” Alan Carter and “World of Dance,” Alex Rudzinski), Carrie Havel (“The Voice,” Alan Carter), Annetta Marion (“Making It”), Cari Townsend (“American Ninja Warrior,” Patrick McManus) and Lizz Zanin (“America’s Got Talent,” Russell Norman).

The inaugural class are experienced directors who have worked on acclaimed unscripted content including shows like “Oprah’s Master Class,” “Dancing with the Stars,” “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert,” and “The View” as well as sports events such as the FIFA World Cup™ and the Olympic Games, and concert films for platinum-selling recording artists.

Launched in May 2018 as part of the network’s robust talent infusion programs (NBC TIPS), the Alternative Directors Program gives female and ethnically diverse directors with at least one directing credit the opportunity to shadow a seasoned director on an NBC show over several weeks including prep, production and post. The initiative will feed the pipeline for unscripted directors on NBC as well as shows produced by Universal Television Alternative Studio. The network’s ultimate goal is to extend the industry’s pool of experienced diverse directors who can work in various alternative formats.

The initiative is spearheaded by Meredith Ahr who was recently announced as NBC’s new President, Alternative and Reality Group, and Karen Horne, NBC’s Senior Vice President, Programming Talent Development & Inclusion, who oversees the company’s robust onscreen and behind-the-camera diversity efforts.

“Given the sheer number of viewing hours unscripted shows make up each week, we have a huge opportunity to make a meaningful difference to the overall television landscape by forging a future for new directors in this space.” said Ahr. “We want the Alternative Directors Program to not only start a path to equal representation behind the scenes on NBC’s shows, but to also kick off a chain reaction for similar efforts in the rest of the industry.”

“With the addition of the Alternative Directors Program to our pipeline programs that already includes scripted directing initiatives, Female Forward and the Emerging Director Program, NBC now has a holistic approach to service the need for diverse directors across our entire primetime lineup,” said Horne. “Our inaugural class of seven women represents a community of experienced directors who need key decision makers to recognize their talent and provide them with opportunities. In our program, along with expanding their repertoire of alternative formats, they will forge critical relationships with the best in the business who can serve as advocates for the rest of their careers.”

To be eligible for the program, candidates were required to have at least one unscripted or scripted television directing credit. Unscripted programming included, but was not limited to, live sports, award shows, game shows and variety shows.

More information about the inaugural Alternative Directors Program class including their bios can be found here.

About the Alternative Directors Program

The Alternative Directors Program is NBC’s new annual directors’ initiative that addresses the need for more representation behind the camera in unscripted programming. Intended for female and ethnically diverse talent with at least one directing credit, the program will give unscripted directors the opportunity to shadow over several weeks on NBC and Universal Television Alternative Studios unscripted series including prep, production and post. NBC’s participating shows for the program’s inaugural year are “American Ninja Warrior,” “America’s Got Talent,” “Hollywood Game Night,” “Making It,” “The Voice,” “The Wall” and “World of Dance.” The directors who will serve as mentors are Alan Carter, Ivan Dudynsky, Patrick McManus, Russell Norman and Alex Rudzinski. The Alternative Directors Program is one of the tent pole initiatives within the NBC Talent Infusion Programs (NBC TIPS) that promotes and encourages people of diverse backgrounds to become the next generation of storytellers. For more information, visit

About the NBC Talent Infusion Programs (NBC TIPS)

Since 2000, NBC has been dedicated to discovering and nurturing on screen and behind-the-camera talent of diverse and inclusive backgrounds through the NBC Talent Infusion Programs (NBC TIPS). NBC TIPS are amongst the most extensive and robust diversity and inclusion programs in the television industry. They feature more than 20 programs including Writers on the Verge, the Diverse Staff Writer Initiative, Female Forward, Emerging Director Program, Alternative Directors Program, StandUp NBC nationwide search for stand-up comedians and the NBCUniversal SHORT FILM FESTIVAL that celebrates diverse stories and the filmmakers who create them. Program alumni are celebrated producers, writers, directors and actors in the entertainment industry who have gone on to win Emmys, Golden Globes and SAG Awards and include Alan Yang, Mindy Kaling, Deon Cole, Lil Rel Howery, Keto Shimizu, Natasha Rothwell, Danny Pudi and Danielle Sanchez-Witzel. For more information, visit

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