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CBS, NAACP name JV president

CBS Television Studios and US civil rights organisation the NAACP have named industry veteran Sheila Ducksworth as the president of their joint production venture.

Sheila Ducksworth

Ducksworth will head CBS/NAACP Production Venture, which was set up after the two agreed a multi-year partnership to create content for broadcast, cable and streaming together earlier this year.

She will supervise development and production of scripted, unscripted and documentary content for linear television networks and streaming platforms. She will assume her new role on November 9.

The CBS/NAACP partnership includes a commitment to develop content for the CBS network and sell programming to third-parties.

The partnership will focus on producing premium content that expands the number of diverse voices contributing to an ever-evolving society, by telling inclusive stories that increase the visibility and impact of black artists in a growing media landscape, CBS Television Studios and the NAACP said.

Founded in 1909 in response to violence against black people in the US, the NAACP is the largest civil rights organisation in the country.

Ducksworth most recently served as head of scripted television and production for Will Packer Media, where she developed and managed projects produced for broadcast, cable and streaming services.

She oversaw development and production of the Night School pilot for NBC, which is currently awaiting a series pick-up. She also served as executive producer on the upcoming Wendy Williams biopic for Lifetime as well as Will Packer Media’s OWN series Ambitions.

Prior to joining Packer, Ducksworth headed her own production entity, Ducksworth Productions, and oversaw television for Susanne Daniels’ First Move Television and Tracey Edmonds’ Edmonds Entertainment.

She produced the 2013 Showtime documentary Why We Laugh: Funny Women with comedy legend and executive producer Joan Rivers. The film featured Whoopi Goldberg, Lily Tomlin and a host of comedians, actors and writers.

Ducksworth also produced the 2015 Lifetime movie With This Ring, which earned three NAACP Image Awards nominations. Additionally, she served as a producer on the Showtime drama series Soul Food for its five-season run, which garnered seven NAACP wins. Ducksworth began her entertainment career at Big Ticket Television in LA.

Earlier this year, CBS committed 25% of its script development budget to projects from creators and producers who are black, indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC).

In addition, the network has announced a target for its writers’ rooms to be staffed with a minimum of 40% BIPOC representation, beginning with the 2021/22 broadcast season, and aims to increase that to 50% during 2022/23.

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