NBCUniversal’s Writers on the Verge Class of 2021 Has a Promising Latina In Its Cohort

Writers on the Verge BeLatina Latinx
Top (L-R): Hussain Pirani, Kim Tran; Middle (L-R): Shawn Parikh, Julian Johnson, Eric Anthony Glover; Bottom (L-R): Sujana Gowni, Hakim Hill, Cristina Boada. Courtesy of NBCUniversal.

How many of us have dreamed of writing for television? How many storybooks have we written over the years with the hope of one day bringing them to the small screen?

NBCUniversal offers a unique opportunity for talented writers who are “on the verge” to get into television, helping them hone their writing and pitching skills, through its Writers on the Verge program, created in 2005.

This year, to celebrate its 15th anniversary, the organization has introduced its 2020-2021 class, one of the most diverse yet.

NBCUniversal announced in a press release that it has selected comedy writers Kim Tran, Shawn Parikh, and Hakim ‘Kimo’ Hill along with drama writers Cristina Boada, Julian Johnson, Hussain Pirani, Sujana Gowni, and Eric Anthony Glover for this year’s Writers on the Verge class.

“Chosen from a highly talented applicant pool of more than 2,400 submissions, the new class joins the long-tenured initiative for emerging writers of diverse backgrounds. This year’s program is taking place virtually,” the organization explained.

For Cristina Boada, born and raised in South Florida and of Puerto Rican and Argentinean descent, this is a unique opportunity to change the narrative with which the community of color is represented on television.

“For the last decade, I have worked my way through Hollywood, and to be honest, it’s not been without challenges,” she told BeLatina. “It is because of my personal experience that I understand how rare and special a program like Writers on the Verge is, especially to those of us who are underrepresented in this industry.”

Boada reflects on Latino writers’ lack of representation on the teams behind programs that reach millions of people daily.

“Hispanic-Latinos represent just 8.7% of TV writers, a statistic I think about often. Sometimes it feels like I’m not supposed to be successful in this industry by design. But yet, here I am. I feel incredibly lucky to be part of this year’s Writers On The Verge class, which has not only provided me with a unique opportunity, it has brought together a diverse and insanely talented group of emerging writers,” she added.

“Working and growing together through this program has been a special and unforgettable experience, especially during these unprecedented times. We’ve formed an incredible bond, and I cannot wait to see us all rise the ranks of Hollywood together, bringing new and diverse voices into the television industry.”

The program includes executive producers Brandon Margolis and Brandon Sonnier (“LA’s Finest”), Keto Shimizu (“DC’s Legends of Tomorrow”), and Gina Monreal (“NCIS”), among its alumni.

After NBCUniversal’s recent announcement that the company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts across Film, Television, and Streaming would be unified under one umbrella, Writers on the Verge is now under the purview of the Global Talent Development & Inclusion team that services the Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, the entertainment television networks, streaming platforms, and Universal Studios Group.