ViacomCBS and some of Hollywood's top stars are working together to give diverse storytellers a bigger platform.
The company's Entertainment & Youth (E&Y) Group announced on Wednesday the First Time Directors program in partnership with Angela Bassett, Courtney B. Vance, Idris Elba, Salma Hayek, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, John Leguizamo, Eva Longoria and their respective production companies.
The deal calls for 50 made-for-TV movies that will premiere on MTV, Paramount Network and Comedy Central, all helmed by BIPOC filmmakers and women directors.
The A-list producers will work closely with E&Y's president of content and chief creative officer Nina L. Diaz and her team to identify the directors, match them with inclusive projects and mentor them through the filmmaking process to help bring their stories to a global audience.
"We are thrilled to partner with these icons of entertainment to cultivate first-time BIPOC and first-time women directors," said Diaz in a statement. "Together, we will give rise to multi-cultural narratives and voices that resonate with audiences around the world."
Production companies include Bassett and Vance's Bassett Vance Productions, Elba's Green Door Pictures, Hayek's Ventanarosa Productions, Chopra Jonas' Purple Pebble Pictures, Leguizamo's Rebel Productions and Longoria's UnbelieEVAble Entertainment.
The First Time Directors program falls under E&Y Group's recently launched original movie and limited series division.
The news comes after ViacomCBS announced that Paramount Network will be rebranded as the Paramount Movie Network within the next year. The plan is to shift the focus from long-form series television to starry made-for-TV movies.