Magazine article Variety

No Surprise: Old-Boy Networks Still Going Strong

Magazine article Variety

No Surprise: Old-Boy Networks Still Going Strong

Article excerpt

despite the success of series like "Black-ish,""Empire," and "Fresh Off the Boat," the broadcast networks' push for diversity hit a stumbling block with the rollout of the new fall lineup. A Variety investigation into new scripted shows for the 2016-17 season reveals that 90% of showrunners are white, and almost 80% are male. This is based on information provided by the five broadcast networks, which gave Variety the names of the showrunners of their new scripted programs (a total of 50 across 38 new series). Variety independently confirmed the race and gender of each, via multiple sources.

Showrunners not only determine the creative direction of their programs; they also oversee the hiring, firing, and mentoring that gives the next generation of creators a chance to ascend. Shows run by white men tend to lead to more shows led by white men.

A lack of inclusion behind the scenes also affects storytelling. A study from USC Annenberg's Institute for Diversity and Empowerment noted that actresses are more likely to receive speaking roles if women are creators. Meanwhile, for the 2014-15 season, 19% of broadcast network programs had no speaking roles for African-American characters, and 59% had none for Asian characters, Annenberg says. …

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