UPFRONTS WEEK: TV networks look forward to Upfronts but few showcase media or actor diversity

Media Diversity - CW Upfronts 2016 - BlacksinHollywood(www.BlacksinHollywood.com) – When the CW started, it relied quite heavily on African American viewership to build its numbers. When the network got to a respectable viewing number, they backed away from “ethnic” content and focused on producing TV for White people. Fast forward to 2016 and little has changed. For the purpose of this article, The CW network was used for the case study.

At its 2016 Upfronts, The CW’s show line up is depressingly vanilla.

Although the event was upbeat and happy, the number of scripted, live-action shows on The CW Riverdale on The CW #CWupfronts 2016network with All-Black (or predominantly minority, for that matter) casts is exactly zero.

“Black people are starved for shows which not only feature lots of black actors but that put Black culture front and center in a way they enjoy,” veteran TV critic Eric Deggans.

In 2010, The CW- which was created when UPN and The WB merged a few years back – took over some shows from UPN network also had more than its share of Black sitcoms, and several were brought over to the new CW network. But the ethnic sitcoms never jelled with the CW’s other young, female-skewing shows and were eventually dropped.

diversity at #CWUpfronts BlacksinHOllywoodOne of those sitcoms, “The Game,” about the personal lives of football players on a fictitious professional team, was later picked up by BET, which has contracted for more original episodes with primarily the same cast. That will begin running on the cable network this fall. Back then, while the CW has no scripted shows left with Black casts or Black leads. Little has changed.
But even BET over the years has been lax in producing original scripted series with all-Black casts. The network most broadcasts run off-network shows in syndication but lately has shown more initiative to create Black TV content.
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