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CBS Studios teams with Alex Kurtzman, Jenny Lumet on new production entity

ViacomCBS-owned CBS Studios is teaming up with veteran showrunners Jenny Lumet and Alex Kurtzman to launch a production entity aimed at amplifying diverse voices and creating sustainable career pathways from staff writer to showrunner.

Alex Kurtzman

25 Stories will be led by Bruce Evans, former executive VP of current programming at NBC Entertainment, as executive VP. CBS Studios will support Lumet, Kurtzman and Evans as they develop content for linear, cable and streaming platforms.

Lumet is already under an overall deal with CBS Studios, as is Kurtzman through his Secret Hideout production banner. The pair are frequent collaborators, having co-created Showtime’s The Man Who Fell to Earth and CBS crime drama Clarice, as well as co-writing an episode of the Emmy-nominated Star Trek: Short Treks series.

Individually, Lumet is the executive producer and writer on Showtime’s Blackbird: Lena Horne and America, based on the life of her grandmother Lena Horne, an entertainer and activist. She also serves as an executive producer on Star Trek: Discovery.

Jenny Lumet

Kurtzman has spearheaded the entire Star Trek franchise for CBS Studios, including Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, Star Trek: Lower Decks and the upcoming animated series Star Trek: Prodigy. He also exec produced Showtime’s The Comey Rule, based on James Comey’s book A Higher Loyalty.

Evans is a veteran programming executive who has worked on series including This Is Us, Manifest, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Good Place, New Amsterdam, The Blacklist, Grimm and Blindspot, as well as the Chicago and Law & Order franchises.

Lumet said: “25 Stories began in my kitchen in 2017 during a marathon screenwriting weekend for about 25 women of colour, all extraordinary writers. I knew I wanted to bring prestige television by writers of colour to the marketplace, and I began to think about how to create a space where marginalised voices are centred; a space where both seasoned and newer voices have room to breathe.

“I thought a lot about scale: intimate stories, family stories, positive stories. I wanted people to emerge from their experience with 25 Stories with the tools to start their own companies. Ultimately, a space that will launch creators. Those 25 writers in my kitchen led me right here.”

Kurtzman said: “The best way to stand up for everything Jenny and I believe in is to stand behind the mission of 25 Stories. Creating a company solely dedicated to this mission felt like an important next step, to expand on the work we’ve done at Secret Hideout. We’re thrilled Bruce is joining us and we’re grateful to CBS Studios for believing in this effort enough to make it a reality.”

David Stapf, president of CBS Studios, added: “It is imperative for us as a studio to support the growth of diverse storytelling, by providing a nurturing environment for creative voices to emerge and thrive. This new imprint is in line with the evolving goals of the studio to be more diverse, thoughtfully inclusive and strategically equitable in telling more kinds of stories.”

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