Friday, March 6, 2009

Annual Progress Report on TV Diversity

The Multi-Ethnic Media Coalition, which is comprised of three major media advocacy organizations - the National Latino Media Council (NLMC), the American Indians in Film and TV (AIFT) and the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition (APAMC) - recently released its sixth annual diversity report card for the nation’s major television networks, outlining diversity performance grades for ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX.

Based on statistical information provided by each network, the report cards measure performance in eight categories of diversity: actors in regular and recurring roles, directors, writers, producers, entertainment creative executives, program development, suppliers and overall commitment to diversity initiatives.

Despite the devastating WGA writers’ strike that nearly crippled the 2007-08 season, retired U.S. Congressman Esteban Torres, who serves as the chair for the NLMC, reported that each network has achieved measured diversity improvements. He also congratulated FOX for being the only network to improve its overall diversity grade, earning a B+, versus its overall grade of B- in the previous season.

“After nine years of assessing the diversity efforts of ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX, we strongly believe that network television diversity for the American Latino community is finally taking hold,” Torres said in a recent press release. “But, there is still great room for improvement in the area of minority business procurement.”

However, as the APAMC pointed out, this progress is still small in comparison to the overwhelming white hegemony found in network television programs.

The AIFT cited CBS’s “unprecedented initiative to enhance access for actors of color who are 18 and over to the talent pool for the daytime dramas THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS and THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL.

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