CBS Is Being Called Out For Its Lack Of Diversity...Again

Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS.
Today, CBS Entertainment’s President, Kelly Kahl, and its Senior Executive Vice President of Programming, Thom Sherman, made an announcement during the Television Critics Association's summer press tour. That announcement being their 2017–2018 fall lineup will have one entire show with a non-white lead: S.W.A.T.'s Shemar Moore.
"We want our slate to be inclusive," Sherman said, according to BuzzFeed. "We want it to be diverse. We want all sorts of programming — all sorts of different types of programming, and we believe that we will get that."
This change comes just one year after Glenn Geller, ex-executive vice president of programming, was criticized for their 2016 lineup, which included six new programs, all led by white men. Needless to say, it was a problem.
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In a statement noted by BuzzFeed, Kahl recognized the sluggish pace of the network he lords over: "We can debate or have a discussion about the pace of the change, but there is change happening on CBS. We have two shows with diverse leads this year that we didn't have on the schedule last year; we have a midseason show with a lead character who is gay [Alan Cumming on Instinct], and over the last few years, if you look at the number of diverse series regulars, it's up almost 60%. The number of writers we have with diverse backgrounds is up over the last few years, as is directors. So we are absolutely moving in the right direction. We are making progress."
Long ago, before words like inclusion, intersectionality, and even diversity entered the mainstream lexicon, most networks failed to grasp the concept. Now, despite networks still having their work cut out for them, there is a bas -level of diversity millennial audiences expect and no: Shemar Moore on S.W.A.T. does not meet the criterion.