DiversityLatest News and Opinion
Posted Tuesday 8/14/18 at 1:57PM EDT
Stephen Colbert: We had to take "extraodinary" steps to get a diverse writers' room
The Late Show host was "frustrated" with the challenge of making his writing staff diverse, until he realized the process of finding diverse writers was flawed. As he recounted to The New York Times, “It wasn’t until we said, no please, don’t send us anyone but women. Because we would say, you know it’s very important, we want writers of color, we want women, and you would get 150 packets and there would be eight women. And we’re like, ‘God, that’s so frustrating.’ Until I said no, only women, and then I got 87 women.” He added: "We realized we had to take an extraordinary step to get an extraordinary room. And now it’s half, you know, white guys and half either women or writers of color.”
Posted Friday 7/20/18 at 7:53PM EDT
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is being rebooted with a black female lead
Joss Whedon will be on board as executive producer, but Midnight, Texas creator Monica Owusu-Breen will serve as the writer, executive producer and showrunner of the new Buffy, which will build on the mythology of the Sarah Michelle Gellar-led original series. It will be pitched to cable and streaming services this summer. "Like our world, it will be richly diverse, and like the original, some aspects of the series could be seen as metaphors for issues facing us all today," according to producers." According to Deadline, "the diversity in the show’s description reflects the producers’ intention for the new slayer to be African American." Owusu-Breen and Whedon previously worked together on Marvel's Agents of SHIELD. According to The Hollywood Reporter, "talks for a new Buffy began last fall. A decision to move forward was determined after Breen was identified as the right writer for the reboot. A script or director has not yet been determined. Casting for the central role of Buffy has also not yet been determined."
Posted Thursday 7/12/18 at 5:29PM EDT
More people of color were nominated for Emmys this year than ever before
Source: TV Guide
According to TV Guide's tally, 38 people of color were nominated in the top categories, form Lin-Manuel Miranda to Sandra Oh to Trevor Noah. That's nearly double from 2016, when 21 people of color were nominated. ALSO: Sandra Oh and Darren Criss' nominations show the two ways to diversity casting.
# TOPICS: Emmys, 70th Primetime Emmy Awards, Darren Criss, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Sandra Oh, Trevor Noah, African Americans and TV, Asian Americans and TV, Diversity, Indian-Americans and TV, Latinos and TV
Posted Friday 6/22/18 at 5:17PM EDT
Wilmer Valderrama signs deals to return to NCIS and to produce diverse programming for CBS TV Studios
Valderrama will continue playing Special Agent Nick Torres on the CBS drama, while also producing scripted and unscripted projects focused on diversity for CBS Television Studios. “As someone who immigrated to the United States at 14 years old, I am immensely passionate about this opportunity to create engaging and culturally relevant projects with CBS Television Studios,” says Valderrama.
Posted Thursday 5/31/18 at 9:13PM EDT
Late Night with Seth Meyers writers tout the benefit of having a diverse staff
Writer/performer Amber Ruffin says "it's just impractical today" to have an all-white writing staff. Fellow writer/performer Jenny Hagel adds: “If you have 14 identical people in a writer’s room you’re going to get 14 identical jokes off that headline. But if you have people with all different backgrounds, different ages, different genders, ethnicities, people are going to see a different way into that story or have a different reaction. So I think you just get a wider variety of jokes.”
Posted Friday 5/25/18 at 7:45PM EDT
Racial jokes on network sitcoms too often reinforce stereotypes instead of subverting them
There is nothing wrong with jokes about race, says Yoonj Kim, who spent a week in March studying every network sitcom for racial jokes. But, he adds, "there’s a crucial distinction between gratuitous one-stop references and thought-provoking humor: The latter will feature another moment in the same episode that dispels or shows another side to the stereotype being invoked. Context turns the joke from a zero-sum remark to subversive humor that serves as a segue into meaningful commentary. To put it in facetiously simple terms, it’s the difference between 'No offense, but you’re really ugly,' and 'No offense, but you’re really ugly when you do this.'"
Posted Wednesday 5/16/18 at 12:18PM EDT
CBS says "we're feeling good about our diversity" next season
CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl noted that new series God Friended Me, The Neighborhood, FBI, Happy Together and Magnum P.I. all have people of color in leading roles. “We sat in front of a lot of you at (Television Critics Association press tour) and said that we were going to do it,” Kahl said. “I think quite frankly there were a lot of eye rolls, and I think if you look at the schedule, we did what we said we were going to do.”
Posted Monday 5/14/18 at 11:28PM EDT
Jessica Jones addressing its diversity problem after showrunner admitted “there aren’t enough women of color in meaningful roles”
The Netflix series is reportedly adding four new roles, two of which are for minority women. "Jessica Jones does an excellent job of depicting its white female characters as three-dimensional people with rich, complicated interior lives," says Charles Pulliam-Moore. "But more often than not, that richness comes at the expense of the characters of color who end up being hurt or killed as a result of their connections to Jessica, Trish Walker, and Jeri Hogarth."
Posted Sunday 5/13/18 at 2:39PM EDT
Sarah Jessica Parker: Sex and the City would be a lot different today -- it would likely be less white
Parker said recently that the HBO show -- which turns 20 next month -- is very much a product of its time. "There were no women of color . . . and there was no substantial conversation about the LGBTQ community," she says, adding: "You know, this city has changed – that was 20 years ago this June – this city has changed an enormous amount politically and economically and socially and I think it would be a different show, honestly."
Posted Saturday 5/12/18 at 12:41AM EDT
Netflix's The Witcher creator responds to small backlash over her diverse writing staff
Lauren S. Hissrich is adapting the beloved Polish book series by author Andrzej Sapkowski for television. But when she posted a photo of her writing staff featuring men and women of differences races, some Witcher fans feared that the Netflix series wouldn't hew to the book's European roots. So Hissrich has taken the time to respond to them, telling them she hired based on "blind hiring."
Posted Wednesday 4/11/18 at 5:05AM EDT
Is ABC ditching its reputation for diversity in wake of Roseanne's success?
Source: The Washington Post
Roseanne's emergence and ABC's "heartland strategy" come as Shonda Rhimes is leaving for Netflix, with Fresh Off the Boat on the bubble, and after a controversial Black-ish episode was pulled, prompting creator Kenya Barris to reportedly seek an early exit from his ABC Studios deal. "Recent signs suggest that ABC is entering a new and more complicated era" when it comes to diverse shows, says Alyssa Rosenberg, "and the network isn’t alone — the number of women and people of color creating new shows declined across the industry as a whole in the 2017-2018 television season. And it’s striking, if a little tricky to discuss, that ABC’s reputation for bold discussions of race has hit a rough patch under the leadership of Channing Dungey, who became the first African American woman to serve as president of a major broadcast television network in 2016." As Rosenberg notes, Dungey has used "the language of diversity" in trying to broaden the network's audience to appeal to so-called Heartland viewers. "So far, Dungey’s attempts to secure a broader audience have shown some success," says Rosenberg, pointing to The Good Doctor and Roseanne. ALSO: By trying to appeal to "heartland" viewers, is ABC becoming "Trump TV"?
Posted Wednesday 3/28/18 at 9:54PM EDT
Is the nostalgia TV trend a kind of backlash to TV's increasing diversity?
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
"Let's first get this out of the way: There are definite exceptions to the Make (White) TV Great Again trend," says Inkoo Kang, pointing to Netflix's One Day at a Time and the planned reboots of Party of Five, Roswell and Charmed. But from Will & Grace to Roseanne to Twin Peaks to Fuller House, "it's hard not to interpret the current iteration of nostalgic programming as a backlash to TV's increasing diversity — a throwback to the days of Friends and Frasier when people joked that 'NBC' stood for 'No Black Characters,'" says Kang. "Yes, these reboots and revivals comprise only a handful of the hundreds of scripted shows on the air, but many of them tend to be TV's highest-profile projects. The fact that, in their totality, they inadvertently re-entrench the normalcy of all-white casts while erasing women of color and queer people is notable and worrisome."
Posted Thursday 3/08/18 at 12:17PM EST
Jon Favreau to write and produce the live-action Star Wars TV series
Favreau has been tapped to helm the live-action Star Wars TV series for Disney's upcoming streaming service. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy made the announcement this morning, saying the Iron Man and Elf director "brings the perfect mix of producing and writing talent, combined with a fluency in the Star Wars universe. This series will allow Jon the chance to work with a diverse group of writers and directors and give Lucasfilm the opportunity to build a robust talent base.” For his part, Favreau said: "If you told me at 11 years old that I would be getting to tell stories in the Star Wars universe, I wouldn’t have believed you. I can’t wait to embark upon this exciting adventure.”
- Some fans are unhappy that "another straight white dude" was hired for Star Wars, especially on International Women's Day
- "Bad PR timing," tweeted IndieWire editor Ann Thompson. "But women have a tough time getting the experience they need to compete for plum jobs like this."
- Even movie theater chain Alamo Drafthouse criticized the decision not to pick a woman
Posted Tuesday 3/06/18 at 9:38PM EST
Netflix boss rejects Frances McDormand's "inclusion riders" proposal for increased diversity
Source: USA Today
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings isn't a fan of the proposal McDormand championed in her Oscar speech to have stars put "inclusion riders" in contracts to ensure diversity in cast and crew. "We’re not so big on doing everything through agreements," he said. "We’re trying to do things creatively." Hastings said he'd rather see his staff speak with producers directly when it comes to diversity.
Posted Wednesday 2/28/18 at 12:25AM EST
UCLA's diversity report finds that minorities are still underrepresented on TV
Source: Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Times, reporting on the annual study, notes that "overall, people of color remained underrepresented, considering they were 40% of the U.S. population in 2016... On TV, 18.7% of scripted broadcast leads, 20.2% of scripted cable leads and 12.9% of scripted digital leads were people of color."