Lori Openden is stepping down as EVP for Talent and Casting for the CW and is retiring after more than 40 years as Casting Director and Executive. Her long-time lieutenant Dana Theodoratos, currently SVP, Talent and Casting, will be in charge of all casting series, pilots and original digital programs.
Openden, with Theodoratos by her side, has been with CW since it started in 2006 and has overseen the network’s list of pilots and series for the past 14 years. These include the DC series from CW, All American, Gossip Girl, Riverdale, Girlfriends, The Game, 90210, The Vampire Diaries and Jane the Virgin, which earned star Gina Rodriguez a Golden Globe and the first major acting award for The CW. Both joined the CW predecessor UPN.
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Openden has been SVP, Talent and Casting, UPN since August 2005 and has worked on shows such as Veronica Mars, Everybody Hates Chris and Kevin Hill. Since July 2003 she has been working as a consultant and casting manager for UPN.
From 1985 to 1999 Openden worked in the casting department of NBC and rose to the position of SVP, Talent and Casting. During her tenure, she was part of the cast of Seinfeld, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Crazy About You, Frasier, Friends, Will & Grace, LA Law, Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Unit for Victims, Emergency Room, Freaks and Geeks involved and the west wing. She was also responsible for casting over 500 long form projects in the network.
As an independent casting director, she has worked on series / pilots such as Hill Street Blues, Cheers (from season three) and 8 Simple Rules, as well as several television films for radio and cable networks.
Theodoratos was appointed SVP, Talent and Casting, The CW by VP in 2014. She joined The CW from UPN in 2006, where she was promoted to director through the ranks of the talent and casting department, overseeing the casting for several hours, multi-camera and single-camera drama and comedies. Some of the series she’s worked on include Veronica Mars with Kristen Bell in her breakout role, Girlfriends, All of Us, Everybody Hates Chris and Kevin Hill with Taye Diggs.
From 1999 to 2002 Theodoratos was casting manager at Michael Ovitz’s Artists Television Group.
“Under the guidance of Lori and Dana, discovering and showcasing emerging talent has been a hallmark of The CW brand since its inception, and gives this network a proud legacy of bringing unparalleled breakout stars to market,” said Mark Pedowitz , Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the CW Network. “With her vast experience and so many memorable casts and merits for her name, Lori has made an indelible mark on both this network and this industry, and we cannot thank her enough for all of her contributions. And with everyone here at The CW wishing Lori all the best, we’re thrilled to have Dana take the reins and guide our casting efforts going forward to ensure that The CW’s tradition of putting together dynamic casts and breaking new talent is continued. “