Disney-ABC Television Selects Eight Writers for 2019 Writing Program
Disney|ABC Television (DAT) has selected eight writers for its 2019 Writing Program. Widely recognized as one of the entertainment industry's most successful, the writing program offers advanced professional development before participants are hired as staff writers on DAT shows during the program year.
On the comedy side, participants include children's literacy advocate Aadip Desai (Sacramento, California); Jesse Esparza, writer and performer at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre (Sacramento, California); technical project manager Jessica Combs (Miami, Florida); stand-up comedian Marina Quintero (Pasadena, California); and former international aid director and investment analyst Nayna Agrawal (Vienna, Virginia). Drama writers include actor Racheal Seymour (Fairbanks, Alaska), digital producer Tracy Taylor (Chicago, Illinois) and writers' assistant Will J. Watkins (Chicago, Illinois).
This past season, the 2018 writers collectively secured eight script assignments with the support of creative executives and producers across ABC, FreeForm and Disney Channel. In addition, program alumni wrote and produced on multiple shows, from Disney Channel's "Bizaardvark" and Freeform's "The Bold Type" to ABC's "Splitting Up Together," "Single Parents" and "The Good Doctor." Finally, two alumni - Zahir McGhee and Raamla Mohamed - each signed ABC Studios production overall deals, bringing the total count to four alumni with overall deals across DAT.
The program has launched the careers of many established and award-winning writers, producers and showrunners for hit shows across broadcast, cable and streaming platforms, including "Grey's Anatomy," "Scandal," "Breaking Bad," "Mad Men," "Psych" and more. It also was the starting point for show creators, such as Veena Sud ("The Killing"; "Seven Seconds"), Jane Espenson ("Warehouse 13") and Erica Montolfo-Bura ("Zoe Ever After"); showrunners Dailyn Rodriguez ("Queen of the South"), Saladin Patterson ("The Last O.G."), Ayanna Floyd Davis ("The Chi") and Aseem Batra ("I Feel Bad"); and alumni with overall production deals at DAT including Peter Saji and Tim Doyle, creator and showrunner of "The Kids Are Alright."
"The Creative Talent Development & Inclusion team is excited to continue expanding the pool of talent with this diverse group of writers on the cusp of breaking through," said Tim McNeal, vice president, Creative Talent Development & Inclusion. "We look forward to championing their careers as they move up the ranks to join our showrunner and producer alumni in continuing to change the face of Hollywood."
Created in 1990 in partnership with the Writers Guild of America West, the one-year staffing program's primary goal is to secure participants' first staffing assignment via Disney|ABC Television series. Though staffing is not guaranteed, the program has had a nearly 100 percent hiring rate for the past decade.