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CBS Comedy Showcase Taps Into Diverse Talent

LOS ANGELES (CBSNewYork) -- Every year, CBS hosts a comedy showcase in Los Angeles to spotlight diverse, untapped talent.

The audience is filled with managers, agents and casting executives from major networks and studios.

"Some of the talent that we've discovered from our sketch comedy showcase include Kate McKinnon, Justin Hires, Geoffrey Arend as well as Randall Park," said  CBS Entertainment Executive Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion and Communications Tiffany Smith-Anoa'i.

It's how Justin Hires was discovered, which led to his leading role in CBS' "Rush Hour." He now co-stars as Wilt Bozer in CBS' reboot of "MacGyver."

"If it wasn't for the CBS comedy showcase I wouldn't have done 'Rush Hour' the TV series, and I wouldn't be doing 'Macgyver,' right now," he said.

The CBS Drama Diversity Casting Initiative is designed to expand from comedy and reach untapped dramatic talent across the country.

"We want more diversity on CBS and this really builds on other initiatives we have in diversity, and this is just another step in diversifying the network both in front of the camera and behind," CBS Entertainment President Glenn Geller said.

The focus is on increasing opportunities for people who have been traditionally under-represented -- people of color, LGBT actors and performers with disabilities.

"We go out to the community. We find great talent, and again to bring them to LA with the hope of creating a pipeline of new talent for our pilot season and long term to broaden the over-all talent pool for CBS casting for pilots," Geller said.

Actors 18 years old and older can submit a self-taped monologue at now through Friday October 28th.

CBS casting executives will hold callbacks at various locations nationwide:

Starting in Chicago on November 2, 3 and 4.
Austin on November 3 and 4.
Atlanta on November 7, 8 and 9.
Miami and San Francisco on November 10 and 11.

"This is going to be a screen test on one of the stage at CBS Television Studios at our Radford lot, and we're going to be putting the actors in real scenes and using those for the pilot process," Geller said of the callbacks.

They plan to audition 14 to 16 actors, with the benefits of exposure, access and opportunity.

"Every casting office I walk into, I have a little more confidence, a little more belief in myself, that I can do this, that I belong to be out here among all these other great and talented actors," Hires said.

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