CBS announced the 21 participants they have selected for their annual CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase. The performers will appear in six shows beginning January 15 at the El Portal Theatre in Los Angeles.
The showcase has been a way for emerging talent to be seen by executives, showrunners and casting directors from CBS and other networks for over a decade. While the showcase has strived to highlight underrepresented groups, it has been called out for having issues of racism and sexism in the past. The former director, Rick Najera, also had to step down over harassment allegations in 2017.
This year the showcase will be directed by Stephen Guarino with assistant director Tess Paras. Sheila Carrasco will act as head writer with a first writers’ room of 11 former showcase participants.
Participants in last year’s showcase went on to roles on shows like Criminal Minds, NCIS, Life in Pieces, Hawaii 5-0, American Vandal, Charmed and Jane the Virgin. To date, 397 actors have appeared in the showcase, including notable alums like Kate McKinnon and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s Eugene Codero.
This year’s 21 participants are Alex Ellis, Andy Bustillos, Anna Rajo, Carolina Montenegro, Chris Renfro, Dan Lee, DJ Pryor, Emily Fightmaster, Filip Jeremic, Fray Forde, Katy Fullan, Lou Gonzalez, Marc-Sully Saint-Fleur, Mike Millan, Nikki Mckenzie, Rashawn Nadine Scott, Rasheda S. Crockett, Shukri R. Abdi, Tien Tran, Waleed Mansour, and Yasmin Kassim.