Diversity in Hollywood: Some Good News and Some Bad News

The UCLA College of Social Sciences has released its annual Hollywood Diversity Report, and the news is mixed. First, here’s the share of minority leads in various kinds of programs:

The good news: minority leads have increased steadily over the past five years. The bad news: there still aren’t very many. And for those hoping that digital shows might be an antidote to corporate Hollywood whiteness, forget it. They’re actually the worst.

Here are the same figures for women:

The good news is that scripted shows on cable and digital are getting very close to 50 percent. The bad news is that the numbers have actually gone down for scripted and reality shows on broadcast TV.

Behind the camera, as usual, the news is just plain bad. Minority and female representation among directors, show creators, and writers is dismal—and not improving. For example, here are show creators for both broadcast and cable scripted shows:

And then there’s China, which has an ever-increasing influence on American films. The big question is: Will Chinese audiences go to films starring blacks or Hispanics? Unfortunately, we can’t really say: of all films released in 2016 with black or Hispanic leads, only one was even distributed in China.

There’s a lot more in the full report. It’s worth browsing through to get a firm grasp on the reality behind the sometimes heated rhetoric. For the most part, it turns out that the heated rhetoric is pretty accurate.

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In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

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