With the blockbuster success of ABC’s Black-ish, Fox’s record-breaking first season of Empire, as well as the success of Shonda Rhimes‘ How to Get Away With Murder and Scandal, it would seem as though network television is welcoming more diverse programming.
It comes down to show me the numbers, which happens far more quickly on the small screen, explained Bevy Smith, co-host of Bravo’s Fashion Queens. “As you’ve seen on TV for women and with people of color, [television networks] are much more welcoming because TV is a really kind of strict business model,” she told Shannon LaNier of Arise TV during a panel discussion about the National Urban League‘s 2015 State of Black America report.
“They understand the ratings are a direct correlation to what they can get from the advertisers. So with a film, they’ve already paid for it and then they have to hope that they recoup, but with TV it’s like instant — it comes on that week and then they can go out and sell it and get the advertising dollars immediately.
So I think that’s the reason why you’re seeing more diversity in television versus what you are seeing in film, but, yes, there is still a long way to go.”
Watch the rest of their discussion about whether TV still has a diversity problem in the clip above.
For more information about the State of Black America Report, visit www.StateOfBlackAmerica.org or use the hashtag #SaveOurCities.