As its Television Writers Program enters its 16th year, the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) marks another important milestone: it has graduated 150 Latino writers from the program, 35 percent of whom are now working throughout the industry.
NHMC created the program to improve the portrayal of Latinos in television and address the underrepresentation of Latinos who, in 2016, comprised only 3.3. percent of television show writers, according to the Writers Guild of America West. An NHMC-commissioned national poll found that non-Latinos primarily form their perceptions of Latinos and immigrants based on what they see in news and entertainment, including television.
The five-week workshop annually trains 10 participants in format, character development and storyline structure of shows already on air. It is mentored and led by Geoff Harris, former NBC vice president of script development. Writers complete the workshop with at least one pilot in hand ready to seek representation and staffing positions.
Rising Latino writers
NHMC program graduates are staffing television shows at ABC, Amazon, BET, CBS, CW, Disney, Fox, HBO, Hulu, NBC, Netflix, Nickelodeon,, Showtime, Starz and VH1. Some have been accepted into top writing programs, including the Disney/ABC Writing Program, CBS Writers Mentoring Program, NBC Writers on the Verge, Sundance Lab and Warner Bros. Writers’ Workshop.
To mark the 16th anniversary of the program we decided to identify one alumni from every year that has gone on to work professionally on a show(s) at the major television studios and streaming services. This list is not a complete list of all the working alumni but just a taste of some of their successes:
- 2003 – Victor de Jesus: Third Watch (NBC), Criminal Minds (CBS), SMILF (Showtime)
- 2004 – Maria Escobedo: Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), Dora the Explorer (Nickelodeon), Go, Diego, Go! (Nickelodeon), Special Agent Oso (Disney), East Los High (Hulu), Elena of Avalor (Disney), Nina’s World (Sprout)
- 2005 – Davah Avena: Watch Over Me (20th Century Fox Television), Wicked Games (MyNetworkTV), Medium (20th Century Fox Television), East Los High (Hulu), Devious Maids (Lifetime), Daytime Divas (VH1), Kevin (Probably) Saves the World (ABC)
- 2006 – Benjamin Lobato: The Unit (CBS), Justified (FX), Against the Wall (Lifetime), Gang Related (Fox), Shades of Blue (NBC), ICE (Audience Network), Queen of the South (USA)
- 2007 – Zoila Galeano: The Fosters (Freeform), East Los High (Hulu)
- 2008 – Robert Sudduth: GCB (ABC), The New Normal (NBC), The Crazy Ones (CBS), Red Band Society (Fox), Telenovela (NBC), The Real O’Neals (ABC), On My Block (Netflix)
- 2009 – Silvia Olivas: The Nanny (CBS), Moesha (UPN), The Proud Family (Disney), Raising Dad (The WB), The Brothers Garcia (Nickelodeon), Fatherhood (Nickelodeon), Maya and Miguel (PBS), Just Jordan (Nickelodeon), Olivia (Nick Jr.), Special Agent Oso (Disney), Martha Speaks (PBS), Jessie (Disney), Pound Puppies (Hasbro Studios), East Los High (Hulu), Elena of Avalor (Disney)
- 2009 – Emilia Serrano: Connected (AOL On), My Generation (ABC), Rizzoli & Isles (TNT), The Finder (Fox), Cristela (ABC), The Comedy Get Down (BET), Jane the Virgin (CW)
- 2010 – Mercedes Valle: Elena of Avalor (Disney)
- 2011 – Judalina Neira: Hit the Floor (VH1), The Flash (CW)
- 2012 – Ariella Blejer: Containment (CW), Hand of God (Amazon), Sharp Objects (HBO), Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger (Freeform)
- 2013 – Chris Garcia: Pilot in development at Fox
- 2014 – Zayre Ferrer: Tijuana (Netflix and Univision’s Fusion Media Group)
- 2015 – Christopher Encell: The Good Place (NBC)
- 2016 – Renier Murillo: Tijuana (Netflix and Univision’s Fusion Media Group)
- 2017 – Lauren Otero: Undone (Amazon)
Program application and information
Applications will be accepted from April 9 through Aug. 5, 2018, with successful candidates being announced in September. Information and an application form are available at http://www.nhmc.org/writersprogram.
The 2018 program runs from October 8 through November 9 and is conducted in Burbank, Calif.
Program sponsors and supporters include ABC, NBC, Southwest Airlines and Final Draft.