The History of The Caucus and The Caucus Foundation

PrintThe Caucus for Producers, Writers & Directors
is an institution unlike any other in the entertainment field. The Caucus is an organization of creative people whose main purpose is to elevate the quality and diversity of all television. By restoring to all members of the creative community those rights assumed over a period of years by broadcasters, we will regain creative freedom and may exercise creative judgment on material and personnel.

The Caucus is not concerned with those issues incorporated in the contracts of the guilds. But they do work to invigorate the collaboration between the DGA, PGA, WGA and SAG on industry issues.

The Caucus is also an honor society. To become a member, one must have a body of quality work, a sine qua non for membership. Many of the creative individuals who played a role in the growth of television are members as are many of today’s top creative forces. In addition, we seek leaders who have a record of achievement and we urge them to join even if they have secured their own creative rights through their personal success.

The Caucus formed a Foundation in 2000 to fund grants for disadvantaged students to complete their student film. Since its inception, The Caucus Foundation has awarded $1.5 Million in grants to 154 students to improve diversity behind the camera.

What has The Caucus achieved in its 33 year history? They were instrumental in leading the battle to retain the Financial Interest and Syndication Rules. It has been recognized throughout the interested government agencies as a legitimate voice of the television creative community on a wide range of issues from the V-Chip to media consolidation to runaway production to the survival of the independent producer. We have become not only the rallying point for our own members, but, “the conscience and the voice of the creative community.”

Here are a couple ways we have made an impact:

— We have made creative freedom and creative rights major issues and have won concessions dealing with producer credits at the network and cable broadcast level.

— We have influenced network television through our concerned efforts on diverse issues ranging from required educational programming for children, and the use of seat belts, to asking the creative community to exercise responsibility in matters dealing with excessive and gratuitous violence. In that connection the Caucus had a significant involvement with the groups chosen to monitor violence: The Center for Communications Studies at UCLA sponsored by the networks, and Media Scope, which was funded by the National Cable Association.

— Our website is becoming a focal point for people outside the industry to reach positions and issues of concern to our business. Through the publication of The Caucus Journal, The Caucus and The Caucus Foundation has covered a variety of industry issues and the publication has made an impact on the FCC, on various public interest groups, on the MPAA, the media and academia.

— Through our Caucus Connection Breakfasts, and annual panel, Television: A Year In Review and other events, we seek to assist our members in coping with the vast changes enveloping the industry.

To paraphrase Longfellow: “In union, there is strength.” We believe the entire community can be reached by the voice of The Caucus and The Caucus Foundation.


Caucus members have won every major national and international television award and created most of the dominant forms of television programming: filmed and videotaped series, motion pictures for television, docudramas, live specials and miniseries.

The Founders of The Caucus included Bob Cinader, George Eckstein, William Froug, James Komack, Norman Lear, Richard Levinson, John Mantley, Aaron Ruben, Bill Sackheim, Aaron Spelling and Leonard Stern.


Caucus Founders 20 Years Later (1977-1997)

David Levy and Charles W. Fries, Chairman (seated left to right) with founders: (standing left to right) John Mantley, James Komack, Aaron Ruben, Mrs. Richard Levinson (for her husband), Leonard Stern, George Eckstein,

Founders not pictured: Robert Cinader, Bill Froug, Norman Lear, Richard Levinson, Wiliam Sackeim, Aaron Spelling.