Lori Openden (Left) and Dana Theodoratos (Right)
After decades in the industry, The CW’s executive vice president of talent and casting Lori Openden is retiring this month. In her stead, the network’s senior vice president of talent and casting Dana Therodoratos — who has worked with Openden at the network since 2006 — will step into the role to oversee casting of all CW series, pilots and original scripted digital programming.
“Under Lori and Dana’s guidance, discovering and showcasing rising new talent has been a hallmark of The CW brand since its inception, providing this network with a proud legacy of launching breakout stars that is second to none,” said CW chairman and CEO Mark Pedowitz. “With her vast experience and so many memorable casts and credits to her name, Lori has left an indelible mark on both this network and this industry, and we cannot thank her enough for all of her contributions. And as everyone here at The CW wishes Lori all of the best, we are extremely pleased to have Dana taking the reins and leading our casting efforts going forward, ensuring The CW’s tradition of assembling dynamic casts and breaking new talent will continue.”
Openden’s Hollywood career stretches back through the past 40-plus years. Between 1985 and 1999, she worked at NBC, ultimately rising to senior vice president of talent and casting and overseeing the casting of hundreds of shows, including “ER,” “Friends,” “Seinfeld,” “Frasier,” “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Will & Grace,” “Homicide: Life on the Street” and “West Wing.” She had a hand in casting over 500 long-form NBC projects. As an independent casting director, Openden’s work includes series such as “Hill Street Blues,” “Cheers” and “8 Simple Rules.”
She spent time at UPN after NBC, serving as senior vice president of talent and casting, working on “Veronica Mars,” “Everybody Hates Chris,” and “Kevin Hill,” among other shows.
Openden and Theodoratos both joined The CW from its network predecessor UPN in 2006, and have had a hand in casting a number of key shows, including “All American,” “Gossip Girl,” “Riverdale,” “Girlfriends,” “The Game,” “90210,” “The Vampire Diaries,” “Jane the Virgin,” and the network’s DC series.
Theodoratos went on become a director in the department, casting one-hour dramas, multi-camera and single-cam comedies, before moving up to become VP and then senior VP in 2014. Her career includes several years in the early aughts as the manager of casting at Michael Ovitz’s TV studio Artists Television Group.
Variety's Elaine Low contributed to this post.