October 15, 2013

Diverse TV shows get higher ratings

Study finds TV shows with ethnically diverse casts, writers have higher ratings

By Cynthia LeeTelevision viewers are more likely to watch shows that employ racially diverse casts and writers, according to a new study done at UCLA's Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies.

In an analysis of more than 1,000 television shows that aired on 67 cable and broadcast networks during the 2011–12 season, UCLA researchers studying racial diversity in the entertainment industry found that more viewers were drawn to shows with ethnically diverse lead cast members and writers, while shows reflecting less diversity in their credits attracted smaller audiences.

Racial diversity does make a marked and measurable difference to television's bottom line, said Bunche Center director Darnell Hunt, a professor of sociology in the UCLA College of Letters and Science and author of the new study, "Hollywood Diversity Brief: Spotlight on Cable Television."

"It's clear that people are watching shows that reflect and relate to their own experiences," said Hunt, who has worked for two decades on several projects exploring issues of access and diversity in Hollywood.

Yet, according to the study, released on Oct. 8 at the 27th annual National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications conference in New York, ethnic minorities and women remain woefully underrepresented on both cable and broadcast programs as lead actors, writers and show creators.
Comment:  Once again, facts puncture the "bottom line" argument offered by Hollywood and its apologists. If you want to make more money, you include minorities--at least in television.

Since the explanation isn't money, Hollywood needs to find another explanation for featuring mostly white actors. My explanation is that Hollywood execs are racists, either consciously or unconsciously. I wonder what their explanation is.

For more on the subject, see Adam Beach in Revolution and Late-Night Hosts = White Men.Diverse TV shows have higher ratings

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