ABC is seeking out U.K. actors it can take to the U.S. with a new trans-Atlantic talent search. The network’s casting department has expanded its ABC Discovers: Digital Talent Competition to the UK for the first time, with the aim of bringing a British actor to the US under a one-year $25K (£19K) talent deal. Ayo Davis, Senior Vice-President of Talent and Casting for ABC, told Broadcast that growing the five-year-old competition was a “natural next step” following the network’s recent work with UK talent, which “has been successful”. British actor Minnie Driver stars in sitcom Speechless, which has been one of ABC’s best-performing comedies and will return for a second series this autumn. Hayley Atwell also starred in ABC’s Marvel drama Agent Carter across its two series and Ricky Gervais is set to star in and exec produce the network’s forthcoming game show Child Support.
Davis, who has overseen casting for Modern Family and How To Get Away With Murder, said: “This competition is about access and opportunity for up and coming actors. We are incredibly proud of the U.S. talent that has surfaced in the first few years of the competition and by expanding to the U.K., we are looking to further deepen our relationship with its hugely talented acting community…The goal is to have this happen before pilot season starts, so we can set the actor up with meetings, and get them talking to producers and directors, and getting them into rooms with our casting directors who are currently on shows…As they’re going into the season, if they have a role this actor could be right for, we can get them into it now,”.
Previous winners have gone on the become U.S. TV regulars: 2014 victor Cornelius Smith, Jr. stars in ABC’s Scandal and 2015 winner Sam Adegoke has gone on to appear in Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, Switched at Birth and is currently in the CW’s Dynasty reboot. Last year’s US winner, Beth Triffon, was cast in ABC’s forthcoming Kyra Sedgwick-starring drama Ten Days in the Valley.
The competition is open to actors 18 years and over. ABC is looking for a range of experience levels and is open to talent with no prior acting credits. Interested applicants must submit a filmed performance of a comedy or drama scene via ABCDiscoversUK.com. Submissions will close on 9 July, and a winner will be announced on 10 August. ABC is looking to eventually expand the competition worldwide.
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