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CBS, NAACP agree content partnership

CBS Television Studios and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) have agreed a multi-year partnership to create content together.

Derrick Johnson

The deal, which covers scripted, unscripted and documentary content for broadcast, cable and streaming, will see the two parties establish a dedicated development team for NAACP-produced content.

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

CBS Television Studios’ creative leaders will work with the NAACP to establish a dedicated team of executives and infrastructure to acquire, develop and produce the programming.

The partnership will focus on producing premium content that expands the number of diverse voices contributing to an ever-evolving society. It will aim to tell inclusive stories that increase the visibility and impact of black artists in a growing media landscape, the two organisations said.

The collaboration includes a commitment to develop content for broadcast on CBS and the ability to sell programming to third-party platforms.

“An important way to diversify and grow our storytelling is to expand our horizons beyond the traditional studio-producer system,” said George Cheeks, president and CEO of the CBS Entertainment Group.

George Cheeks

“There is no better partner than the NAACP – the preeminent civil rights organisation in our country – to help us find, develop and tell these inclusive stories. At the same time, this is a strategic opportunity for CBS to build upon as well as reimagine our pipeline for existing and emerging creative talent.”

Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, added: “In this moment of national awakening, the time has never been better to further tell stories of the African American experience.

“Programming and content have the power to shape perspectives and drive conversations around critical issues. This partnership with CBS allows us to bring compelling and important content to a broad audience.”

Earlier this week, 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, with aims to increase that to 50% during 2022/23.

The initiatives are part of a broader initiative within the network to more accurately reflect diversity both on screen and behind the camera. The development programme will start with the 2021/22 season.


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