TU student sharpens comedy writing at CBS

Taylor Chukwu read the writing on the wall. Although she was a toddler and it was mostly crayon scribbles, she knew she was destined to be a writer. As a media studies senior, Chukwu landed the prestigious Television Academy Internship in comedy writing, and after eight weeks in Los Angeles, Chukwu is ready to put her funny bone to the test.

“During my time at CBS Network, I worked for the Current Programming Department, where I was able to read material and scripts from CBS shows currently on the air,” Chukwu said. From shows like Madame Secretary to NCIS, she studied character development, plot construction and background research.

Chukwu’s intern duties were not just the typical coffee runs and print jobs. She was allowed to visit the sets of shows. “I also worked on a new show called 9JKL, and they premiered this year. I got to watch them build a show from the ground up,” she said.

Sitting alongside executives and producers, Chukwu discussed what show elements create quality comedy, which could be adjusting a lighting cue or changing the body language of a character. “The actors, writers, producers, directors, and lighting and sound technicians were all present taking notes to perfect the episode,” she said.

When she first set foot on the TU campus, Chukwu was drawn into the media studies program. She began volunteering at the university’s television station her freshman year. “One of my favorite ongoing memories is my involvement with TUTV, which is our live student-run news program that we do every week,” she said. “We do news, entertainment news, sports and a short interview segment.”

Media studies allows Chukwu to get in touch with her creative side similar to her television writing class. “I always had in the back of my mind that television and writing were things I could combine and do as a profession,” she said. “When I took that class, it cemented that this is what I wanted to do.”

Chukwu has fond memories of her family sitting around the television enjoying dramas like Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives, but she was destined for comedy.

“There are so many bad things happening in the world, and there is so much hurt in peoples’ lives, and to bring them joy even if it’s for a second is something I hold close to my heart,” she said.

Chukwu’s CBS internship helped her established industry connections and get a backstage peek at the television industry. Armed with her creativity and a laptop, she is ready to take on the entertainment industry. “I am truly a writer and storyteller at heart,” Chukwu said. “I love the idea of building a world, creating unique characters and then putting these characters into tough situations and watching them figure things out for themselves.”