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Network Television Diversity Report Card released: grades are better, not great

LatinaLista — In 1999, of 24 shows that premiered on the major television networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX), not one show had a single person of color in a lead or regular role.


Ten years later, the report is better, not great, but better.

According to the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), of the TV and film roles for 2008:

72.5% went to Caucasians, 13.3% African-American, 6.4% Latino-Hispanic, 3.8% Asian & Pacific Islander, .03% Native American and 3.8% other/unknown.

The ninth annual Network Television Diversity Report Card, issued by the National Latino Media Council (NLMC), notes that while there has been “incremental” progress at all four of the networks, there are still some glaring omissions of Latina/o talent being perpetuated.

For example, both ABC and NBC lack enough Latino directors. The only network that excels in this category is CBS who not only grants directing opportunities of hit shows to Latino directors but lets them direct multiple episodes.

However, CBS had the lowest number of Latino contestants on their reality shows in the past three years and NBC received a “F” for failing to include Latinos/as in its creative team.

Another area the report card gave low marks to was casting.

…it became apparent that there is a lack of diversity in the casting teams of each of the networks. Predictably, a diverse casting team will be better at reaching people of color through their networks and relationships.

The NLMC also gave poor grades to mainstream media for not doing enough to combat hate speech.

In the last couple of years we have seen countless reports of vicious hate crimes against Latinos that result in death and great bodily harm. Indeed, the FBI has reported that there was a 40% increase in hate crimes against Latinos in just the past few years.

We are certain that this is a direct result of the “immigration hysteria” fueled by
irresponsible TV and radio talk show hosts that spread inaccurate and hateful messages about Latinos…

Mainstream media needs to do a better job at covering the stories on hate crimes to raise awareness of this problem. And because of the significant lack of positive media images of Latinos in the U.S., and because we do not have sufficient access to the airwaves, the American Latino community is at great risk.

If hate speech is allowed to continue, it will be a tremendous disservice to Latinos and non-Latinos across the country, who hear anti-Latino speech and may assume the information being disseminated is correct.

The final overall diversity grades for the networks for the 2008-2009 season were:


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