Fox Entertainment prexy Peter Liguori has a warning for the net’s showrunners, producers and creators: Pay attention to diversity, or risk losing out on a series pickup.
Liguori laid down that ultimatum to more than 40 producers behind both current series and pilots during a town meeting Tuesday. Speaking at a theater on the Fox lot, Liguori told the producers that they needed to step up efforts to hire diverse casts, writing staffs and crew.
“We think as a network, it’s the right moral thing to do,” Liguori said. “And it’s the right business thing to do. When you look at the top 10, top 20 shows out there, they’re diverse. For TV and certainly for Fox to be vibrant, relevant and authentic, we need to be reflective of the general population.”
Liguori backed up his comments with a presentation from Fox diversity topper Mitzi Wilson, who pointed out that non-white auds count for several ratings points in most of the net’s primetime fare.
Liguori said it wasn’t easy to corral so many producers in the same room at the same time, but that he wanted to get the message out to pilot creators early, as they cast their projects and before they hire writers and crew.
“We felt it was important that we get out way ahead of it,” he said.