Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Diversity on Network Television Lags

For the past four years, I've read the same article. It's like déjà vu during the time when new network television shows get green lighted for a pilot. Today the NY Times reported on the lack of diversity on network shows - new or existing. No news here.

The fact that network television gets whiter every year, while the population gets browner is yet more evidence of the Big 4 networks' demise. Few programs feature prominent African American or Hispanic characters. Programs with primarily African American casts are disappearing. (Forget about an all Hispanic cast - we haven't seen that since the George Lopez Show, cancelled and now rerun in syndication.) And ratings continue to migrate to cable where casts are more diverse and program concepts are more adventurous.

Given that African Americans and Hispanics generally like to watch their programs live instead of DVR-time delayed, one would imagine that networks would be clamoring to better address these audiences. Unfortunately, in the Big 4 networks efforts to be of general interest (i.e. appeal to mostly Anglo sensibilities), they fail to connect with anyone at all.

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