The networks have been slow to reflect the changing demos in major cities like Los Angeles and New York, according to a study released Tuesday by UCLA.
The report, compiled by UCLA’s Chicano Studies Research Center, found that of the eight primetime skeins set in Los Angeles this fall, just 14% of characters are Latino — and they all appear on the same show, ABC’s “George Lopez.”
By comparison, Los Angeles County is actually 45% Latino and 12% Asian-American. The study found no Asian-American characters on L.A.-set series.
“Shows set in Los Angeles, the very heart of the entertainment industry, are among the most segregated series with respect to white, Latino and African-American regular characters,” said Chon Noriega, the center’s director.
The third annual study found the number of Latino characters had actually declined from previous years, comprising just 4% of all regular cast members. (Latinos make up 13% of the population nationally.)
The study applauded ABC for showcasing half of all Latino characters in primetime (13 out of 26), and criticized Fox, WB and UPN for lacking any real presence.
Looking at other major metropolitan areas, the study found Latinos make up 27% of characters on shows set in Miami (compared with 57.3% in real life) and just 8% on shows that take place in New York (compared with 27%).