Viacom International Studios (VIS) has signed a quintet of first-look deals with emerging British talent as part of a drive to hand more opportunities to diverse creators.
Morgan Bailey, Bec Boey, Chris Bush, Iman Qureshi, and Kaamil Shah will spend the next two years pitching five ideas to ViacomCBS’ in-house producer and VIS has committed to commissioning at least two projects to the treatment stage of development, and taking one of those to script.
VIS Vice President Kate Laffey and VIS UK Head of Development Claire Sowerby-Sheppard are overseeing the program, which will be repeated with another set of under-represented writers at some point in the near future.
The program comes off the back of the launch of VIS’ Social Impact division, which is dedicated to the development of social-impact-driven content.
VIS said the quintet were chosen “based on their proven scriptwriting talent, their variety of interests and writing styles, and potential to collaborate on distinctive development projects intended for [new streamer] Paramount+.”
Laffey said: “Since inception, VIS has been on the front lines of finding and partnering with diverse creatives from around the world. This initiative will ensure we continue to infuse diversity, equity, and inclusion into every aspect of our work, particularly our U.K. originated content.”