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CBS announces Diversity Institute

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ CBS is setting up an institute to coordinate writing, directing and acting programs intended to foster diversity at the network.

It will combine a 2-year-old minority talent program with two new programs intended to identify and produce ethnic writers and directors, the network said Wednesday.

``The establishment of the Diversity Institute is an important step forward in CBS's ongoing effort to develop talent as diverse as our audience,'' said Leslie Moonves, CBS chairman and chief executive officer.

The programs will provide mentors and the chance to meet with producers, network executives and agents, CBS said. Applications for the writing and directing program are being accepted online.

In 1999, the major broadcast networks came under fire from civil rights groups for a lack of racial diversity in programming and agreed to make improvements.

Although some critics have said change is slow in coming, the networks contend they have made and continue to make strides.
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