Juan Avella will make his TV directorial debut on tonight’s episode of “The Blacklist” as part of NBC’s Emerging Director Program, one of the only industry programs that guarantees participating directors will direct an episode of scripted television.

The Los Angeles-based Venezuelan writer-director’s work focuses on gritty and social genre stories set in multicultural worlds. Among his filmography are award-winning shorts “Hijo Por Hijo” and “Her Body,” the latter of which is streaming on HBO. In 2019, he received the TFI Sloan Film Fund grant from the Tribeca Film Institute for his thriller “Bolichicos.” Taking his talent to NBC, Avella’s “The Blacklist” episode sees the Task Force hatch a plan to steal a Soviet-era cipher machine in order to decrypt coded messages. It airs at 8 p.m ET/ 7p.m. CT. Watch the exclusive clip below.

Also in today’s TV news roundup:


Showrunner Alena Smith will make her directorial debut in Season 3 of “Dickinson,” Variety has exclusively learned. Production of the new season of the Apple TV Plus comedy has not been announced, though the script has been written remotely, with and Smith in the process of its finalization. The Peabody-winning show follows Emily Dickinson (Hailee Steinfeld) as she grapples with the reality of being a published author. In addition to TV writing, Smith is known for her work as a playwright on “Icebergs.”


James Spader, Abbi Jacobson and Beach Bunny will be on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” while “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” will have Jane Fonda, John Oliver, Ringo Starr and Teddy Swims.

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