NBCU Launch, NBC Universal's brand for the company's diversity and inclusion programs and initiatives for its entertainment television portfolio, has announced Whitney Baugh and Miah Giavonni Harris as its casting assistants for its 2022-23 Talent & Casting Assistant Program.
The Talent & Casting Assistant Program is part of NBC Universal's focus on expanding opportunities for minorities. The program aims to create "a pipeline for diverse casting professionals in scripted and unscripted programming." Baugh and Harris will spend 10 months in the paid program.
Baugh and Harris will spend the first half of their time in the program working with NBCU's internal Talent and Casting departments for both scripted and unscripted programming. Baugh will support Grace Wu, Executive Vice President of Entertainment Casting and Tomii Crump, Senior Vice President of Talent and Casting, and the Entertainment Network Group team. Harris will work with Steven O'Neill, Executive Vice President of Casting, UCP, Christine Cowan, Vice President of Talent and Casting at the Universal Television Alternative Studio and the Universal Studio Group.
After their time with their respective teams, Baugh and Harris will work at an independent casting office that either focuses on unscripted or scripted casting in New York or Los Angeles. At the end of the program, both Baugh and Harris will be considered for job opportunities internally or at an independent casting office affiliated with NBCU.
Harris and Baugh were chosen for program via NBCU Launch's partnership with Casting Society Cares, the Casting Society of America's educational arm offering training for prospective casting professionals. Both Harris and Baugh were alumna of the society's Assistant Training and Education Program.
Announced this February, NBCU Launch serves as the hub for NBC Universal's various diversity, equity and inclusion efforts across the suite of networks under NBCU, Television and Streaming, including NBC, Bravo, E!, Oxygen, SYFY, Universal Kids, USA and Peacock. The hub also includes the Universal Studio Group, comprised of Universal Television, Universal Television Alternative Studio, Universal Content Productions (UCP), and Universal International Studios.
NBCU Launch was created to support "the company's goal to produce authentic and compelling content by developing the next generation of diverse content creators through talent development programs, partnering with internal creative executives and producers to hire diverse talent in meaningful positions in front of and behind the camera across the company's extensive breadth of programming, and strengthening the company's meaningful partnerships with key advocacy groups and organizations."