Vrinda Jagota
August 11, 2016 1:14 pm
CBS

Hold on to your hats people, because we just found out that CBS’s roster of new fall shows only features white male leads. Think about that for a second.

Let’s break it down. 31 percent of the U.S. population identifies as a white male. And yet CBS could not create a single new show featuring the narrative of a person of color. Not to mention their record for including LGBT characters isn’t all that great either.

Head of CBS Glenn Geller recently spoke about this issue at the 2016 TCA Summer Press Tour.

“I’m really glad this question came up first because we’re very mindful at CBS of the importance of diversity and inclusion. We need to do better and we know it. That’s really it, we need to do better. In terms of leads we are definitely less diverse this year than last year, and like I said we need to do better.”

He also pointed out that the network has several diverse ensemble shows (Laverne Cox will be appearing as the first transgender series regular ever on the legal drama Doubt), as well as diverse directors on several of their other programs.

It’s definitely good to know that this is on Geller’s mind. It would be even better if he had outlined specific ways in which the network plans on bringing about some change. And, of course, the use of the term “diversity” is open to interpretation. As Salon contributor Ellen Berrey writes,

“The term diversity has become so watered down that it can be anything from code for black people to a profit imperative.”

It’s also no secret that so many people of color on TV play roles written by white writers, and often just end up playing reductive stereotypes.

CBS/ Giphy

While publicly addressing these issues is definitely a step in the right direction, let’s hope CBS follows through with real change and embraces the stories and experiences of all people (not just the white dudes).

Can we get an AMEN?!

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