Top Row (L-R): Michele Azenzer Bear, Lily Mariye Bottom Row (L-R): Tara Miele, Anne Renton
Top Row (L-R): Michele Azenzer Bear, Lily Mariye
Bottom Row (L-R): Tara Miele, Anne Renton

LOS ANGELES – Dec. 8, 2016 – CBS today announced the participants in its 2016-2017 Directors Initiative. The Initiative provides a platform of opportunity for talented television directors to be introduced to the CBS family.

The participants selected this year are:

  • Michele Azenzer Bear:  Michele served as a 1st Assistant Director on “Mike & Molly” and went on to direct an episode in the show’s final season.
  • Lily Mariye: Lily recently completed her second episode of “Nashville,” and directed, wrote and produced the independent feature “Model Minority,” which had a successful film festival run.
  • Tara Miele: Tara has directed multiple movies of the week for Lifetime, including “The Lost Boy,” “Thinspiration” and “Gone Missing.”  She got her start as a screenwriter and independent feature director.
  • Anne Renton: Anne directed an episode of “The Fosters” and as well as “Bones.”

“The participants in the CBS Director’s Initiative receive professional guidance, access to accomplished creative executives and shadowing opportunities on CBS Network and Studio shows. The goal of our program is to minimize the perceived ‘risk’ of hiring rising directors through constant exposure and collaboration on the sets of established television series. The ongoing support from our showrunners has been vital in helping our director’s book episodes,” said Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i, Executive Vice President, Entertainment Diversity, Inclusion and Communications, CBS Entertainment.

This year the DGA recognized CBS as #1 in their annual 2015-2016 Episodic Television Diversity Report, with 41% of the 357 episodes of television produced being directed by female or minority directors.


The CBS Directors Initiative also hosts an annual mixer that invites emerging diverse directors to meet with CBS creative executives in a one-on-one format. This year’s event featured 15 directors, of whom six went on to book an episode, some of them multiples.

Past participants of the CBS Directors Initiative include: Laura Belsey (“Arrow,” “Criminal Minds: Beyond Boarders,” NCIS: NEW ORLEANS), Steph Green (“The Americans,” “Scandal,” “American Gothic”), Anna Mastro (“Jane the Virgin,” “Awkward”), Eric Dean Seaton (“Dr. Ken,” LIFE IN PIECES), David Rodriguez (“Stalker,” NCIS: LOS ANGELES, “Queen of the South,” “Chicago PD”) and Zetna Fuentes (“Jane the Virgin,” MADAM SECRETARY, “How To Get Away With Murder,” “Scandal”).

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Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and Entertainment Critic at, a website that aggregates showbiz news curated for, and written by, insiders of the entertainment industry. (@HwoodTimes @TheHollywood.Times) Milano, whose extraordinary talents for networking in the famously tight-clad enclave of Hollywood have placed her at the center of the industry’s top red carpets and events since 1984, heads daily operations of a uniquely accessible, yet carefully targeted publication. For years, Milano sat on the board and tour coordinator of the Television Critics Association’s press tours. She has written for Communications Daily, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International, and contributed to countless other magazines and digests. Valerie works closely with the Human Rights Campaign as a distinguished Fed Club Council Member. She also works with GLSEN, GLAAD, Outfest, NCLR, LAMBDA Legal, and DAP Health, in addition to donating both time and finances to high-profile nonprofits. She has been a member of the Los Angeles Press Club for a couple of years and looks forward to the possibility of contributing to the future success of its endeavors. Milano’s passion for meeting people extends from Los Feliz to her favorite getaway, Palm Springs. There, she is a member of the Palm Springs Museum of Art and a prominent Old Las Palmas-area patron.