TV Networks Are Finally Realizing Diverse Representation Pays Off

Photo: Courtesy of ABC.
Some of the biggest TV networks are making great strides when it comes to racial diversity, though their motives may not exactly be altruistic. USA Today found that a third of the characters currently on major networks are racially diverse. A GLAAD report similarly found that one third of characters on broadcast shows in 2015 were people of color. ABC got the best diversity score from USA Today, which points out that the network has a black programming chief and broadcasts shows like Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder, and Black-ish with black stars. "TV has done a really good job of having diverse representation, diverse storylines, whereas the movie studios, especially the Big 6, are light years behind," GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis told USA Today. The motive behind this development? Most likely profit. "We recognized pretty quickly this was not about social good, this was about good commerce," Fox Television Group co-chairman Gary Newman told the site. "People have begun to recognize how much money they can make by targeting underserved audience," echoed Courtney A. Kemp, co-creator of the Starz show Power, which has a black protagonist. They have a point: A recent UCLA study found that movies with more diverse casts make more money and TV shows with more diversity have higher ratings. Maybe this means people will finally stop defending whitewashed shows on the grounds that they'll get more viewers. And hopefully, the film industry will soon come to the same realization.

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