Tuesday, 1 August 2017

CBS Cannot Seem to Solve Their Diversity Issues...



The vast majority of the new shows CBS ordered for the upcoming season are headlined by white males, a problem TV's most watched network cannot seem to shake.
There are no shows starring female actors and the only show with a non-white lead is the TV adaption of the film S.W.A.T. which stars former Criminal Minds (another CBS show) lead Shemar Moore.

At the TCA meeting held on 1st August 2017, new CBS execs Kelly Kahl and Thom Sherman were grilled by journalists regarding why CBS continues to forgo casting ethnically diverse or female actors for their lead roles. The critics in attendance also directed questions to the CBS heads regarding the departure of the two Asian leads from Hawaii Five-0 following a dispute over pay. 

Sherman mentioned the diverse shows he has developed including Jane The Virgin, The Flash, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Lost and Grey's Anatomy. Ironically, none of the shows he mentioned were aired on CBS. 

CBS definetely has its own recognisable brand of programming which works in its favour. When one thinks of a typical CBS show, police procedural dramas including NCIS, CSI, Criminal Minds, and Hawaii Five-0 whilst on the comedy side, old school multi-camera shows with simple plots and recognisable, "big name" sitcom stars like The Big Bang Theory, Kevin Can Wait and Man With A Plan come to mind. Not only is CBS the most watched network, it is also the oldest skewing, and their dependable, predictable and comfortable programming appeals to an older, middle-aged white audience, particularly heterosexual white males.

Shows like Jane The Virgin, and other network shows such as Scandal, Empire, or even The Flash (considering the fact Supergirl flopped when it first aired on CBS) would merge well with the CBS brand and would likely be too young skewing to meet CBS' high standards. 

There obviously won't be any changes anytime soon due to CBS already having a packed slate of new and returning programming. Hopefully the grilling the new heads received today will turn into a greater number of projects written by and starring ethically diverse talent and women as we head into the 2018 pilot season. 

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