The Paley Center for Media announced today The Peter Roth Internship Program, named in honor of the legendary television studio executive. Each year, the Paley Center will now provide twenty talented undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds and underserved communities with an unrivaled paid apprenticeship experience for those interested in a career in television. This prestigious internship has been created to inspire the next generation of television professionals to embody Peter Roth’s visionary ideals including his commitment to innovative storytelling, his love of writers, and his passion for the art form of television. The program will also underscore the critical importance of nurturing a diverse array of creative voices and portrayals on television—a hallmark of Peter Roth’s career. The Peter Roth Internship Program has been endowed through generous grants from Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY Alliance, The Berlanti Family Foundation, The Chuck Lorre Family Foundation, and The Katie McGrath & J.J. Abrams Family Foundation.
“The Paley Center for Media is proud to announce this internship program in honor of Peter Roth, whose career has tremendously shaped the TV industry,” said Maureen J. Reidy, the Paley Center’s President and CEO. “With a new class of interns from diverse backgrounds and underserved communities each year, the program will create ongoing access and opportunity to help build more diversity in the industry and inspire the next generation of television professionals. We’re incredibly grateful to Greg Berlanti, Ava DuVernay, Chuck Lorre, Katie McGrath, and J.J. Abrams, who helped make this program possible for years to come.”
“I am deeply honored and humbled by the creation of this internship program that will support the next generation of television professionals,” said Peter Roth. “My love for this industry is matched only by my admiration and respect for the work of The Paley Center for Media and for the indefatigable Maureen Reidy, who is a long term friend and colleague. Most especially, I am profoundly grateful to my dear friends, Ava, Greg, Chuck, and JJ and Katie for this wonderful gift. Their vision and dedication towards creating a program that will ensure greater equity and diversity is as admirable as it is vitally important. This is, without question, one of the most generous and meaningful initiatives of my career.”
“When I met Peter Roth, he broke every previous assumption about what an executive with such reach, influence and power could be. He has guided and guarded me, encouraged and empowered me as a passionate champion of artists and the stories we tell,” said Ava DuVernay. “The Peter Roth Internship Program at the Paley Center is a fitting tribute to a titan of an executive who has championed creators his entire career. ARRAY Alliance is proud to recognize his rich legacy with a program that lays the foundation for the next generation of great leaders in our industry. May they follow in his mighty footsteps.”
?“Peter Roth had a profound impact on my life and the lives of countless artists in this business. There isn’t an executive I’ve met who is more passionate about making great television,” said Greg Berlanti. “The Berlanti Family Foundation is honored and thrilled to be a part of helping found this paid internship, focused on creating more diverse leaders in our business and named after Peter Roth, a man whose legacy and passion are unparalleled.”
“Peter Roth loves television. And strange as it may seem, that love, that passion, is a rare commodity in the business of television,” said Chuck Lorre. “I’m forever grateful for his friendship, support and all the laughter we’ve shared. I love you, Mister Roth. You’re one of the greats!”
“In a cut-throat business, Peter Roth is one of the very few — perhaps one of one — that is famously wonderful. His passion for TV, for story and storytellers, his kindness and generosity are legendary,” said Katie McGrath and J.J. Abrams. “If there is anyone whose wisdom, insights and spirit of collaboration should endure, it’s Peter. We are honored to contribute in a small way to his well-earned legacy.”
Starting this fall, the Paley Center will offer students a comprehensive paid internship that expands upon the institution’s long-running accredited internship programs and includes three key components for an unparalleled educational experience. Using the renowned Paley Archive and its unmatched collection of television programming, the Paley Center is uniquely positioned to provide an extensive course to help students better understand the importance of diverse voices and portrayals on television. Interns will also attend guest lectures, meet-and-greets, and Q&A sessions with television executives, talent, showrunners, writers, and other members of a creative team to gain an appreciation for the art of storytelling. The program will also include first-hand experience working at the Paley Center, along with site visits to networks, sets, and studios, to provide a valuable understanding of the business side of television.
After completing the program, students will join a thriving alumni community with ongoing engagement and support from the Paley Center as they navigate their careers. Through a Paley intern alumni association, they will continue to receive expert advice and counsel, special networking opportunities and events, and make lifelong connections within the television industry.
Applicants must be rising junior or senior students currently enrolled in a four-year undergraduate degree program at an accredited college or university. The selection is highly competitive and based on a combination of criteria including evidence of exemplary academic achievement and exceptional leadership skills. The application process will open in April for the inaugural program, which starts in the fall of 2021. Detailed information on the process and timing is available at paleycenter.org/rothinternship.
Peter Roth’s inspiring and visionary leadership has earned the respect and admiration of his colleagues, as well as actors, writers, directors, and the millions of viewers the world over who have benefitted from his enduring body of work. Peter’s acumen for mentoring young talent and developing widely successful programming made him a vital part of the success behind iconic series that have resonated with audiences everywhere, including hits such as All American, Arrow, Cherish the Day, Fringe, George Lopez, Gilmore Girls, Nip/Tuck, One Tree Hill, Pretty Little Liars, Queen Sugar, Shameless, Smallville, Supernatural, The Big Bang Theory, The Closer, The Flash, The Mentalist, The Middle, The Vampire Diaries, The West Wing, Two and a Half Men, Westworld, and countless others. During his twenty-two-year tenure at Warner Bros. Television Group, as President and then Chairman, thirty-two scripted primetime television series have reached the coveted hundred-episode milestone.
Previously, Peter Roth served as President, Fox Entertainment, President of Production at Twentieth Network Television, and President of Stephen J. Cannell Productions, where during a six-year tenure, he was involved with the creation and sale of many critically acclaimed series. He spent ten years at the ABC Television Network, where he began his television career in 1976 as Manager of Children’s Programs. He was promoted that same year to Director and was responsible for ABC’s number-one-rated Saturday morning schedule. In June 1979, he was named Director of Current Primetime Programs and was promoted to Vice President, Current Primetime Series, in November 1981.
Roth currently serves on the esteemed Los Angeles Board of Governors of The Paley Center for Media.
The Paley Center for Media is grateful to Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY Alliance, The Berlanti Family Foundation, The Chuck Lorre Family Foundation, and The Katie McGrath & J.J. Abrams Family Foundation for generous contributions to make The Peter Roth Internship Program possible.
For more information, please visit paleycenter.org.