Report: Audiences Demand More Diversity in Film and TV

Blackish TV Review ABC

Hollywood needs diversity in its movies and TV to stay attractive to the increasingly diverse U.S. audience, according to a new “Flipping the Script” by UCLA’s Ralph Bunche Center.

“Diversity sells,” the report concluded. It covers theatrical film releases in 2012 and 2013 and all broadcast, cable and digital platform television programs from the 2012-13 season in order to document the degree to which women and minorities are present in front of and behind the camera.

“The Hollywood race and gender problem documented in this report is nothing new,” wrote Darnell Hunt, head of the center. “From the earliest days of the industry, white males have dominated the plum positions in front of and behind the camera, thereby marginalizing women and minorities in the creative process by which a nation circulates popular stories about itself.”

Hunt asserted that the audience is demanding more projects with diverse themes and casts.

“What’s new is that business as usual in the Hollywood industry may soon be unsustainable,” he said. “Evidence from this report (and its predecessor in the series) shows clearly that America’s increasingly diverse audiences prefer diverse content created with the input of diverse talent. Diversity sells.”

The UCLA report examined 172 theatrical films released in 2012 and 175 released in 2013 along with 1,105 TV shows airing during the 2012-2013 season.

The report noted that minorities will soon become the majority in the U.S. but said minorities remain under-represented in Hollywood. It also said women have seen even smaller gains in Hollywood than in the previous report.

The center issued a report a year ago showing that minorities and women were falling far short in making inroads into influential Hollywood positions compared with the actual demographics of the U.S. population. That document asserted that the percentages of female and minority actors, writers, directors and producers in films and TV ranges from less than 10% to 50% of their actual population percentage.

That study, dubbed “The 2014 Hollywood Diversity Report: Making Sense of the Disconnect,” also asserts that movies with relatively diverse casts generate above average performance at the box office and that TV shows reflecting U.S. diversity excel in ratings.

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  1. GaneshDyal says:

    Thanks for giving this kind of information. There are some many useful tips to organize the useful tips before the timeline.

  2. Gary says:

    I agree more diversity, not just blacks. At the Dunkin Donuts that I am currently sitting at while on my computer, everyone speaks a foreign language. I just hope they’re not talking about me. And I live in the heartland of apple pie America.

  3. JR says:

    What’s killing Hollywood isn’t a lack of “Diversity,” but “tokenism.”

    No one complained about the casting of Laurence Fishburne as “Morphius” in the Matrix Trilogy. It was an excellent choice and a terrific performance. The trouble comes when casting decisions are driven by ethnic considerations *over* the best actor for a given character.

    Call it the curse of Star Trek. Not every film can use that template as successfully; and even *it* had some “diversity” problems… 2.2 percent of the population is Jewish, but of the major characters on that show who were white, 3 out of 5 were Jewish; Shatner, Nimoy, and Koenig respectively. But they were also part of a cast that made magic together. In short, the right cast got hired, even if you want to complain about demographic over-representation.

    Did the original Star Wars really suffer because of a lack of “diversity?” True, James Earl Jones provided Vader’s voice, but the film was later criticized enough to warrant the inclusion of Lando solely to appease diversity mongers who *wanted in* to an established hit. James Earl Jones’ iconic performance just wasn’t enough…

    When “diversity” becomes a substitute for actual talent — and what actor can best serve the story — that’s when you’re in trouble.

    • psy7531 says:

      There are so very many extremely talented actors of color that diversity never needs to be a substitute for talent.

      It is not reasonable to suggest that the producers of a movie will overlook the concept of marketability when deciding whether or not to produce a movie. In determining the extent of the marketability of film the producers will consider the demographics of the audience that the film is likely to appeal to. Films with more diverse casting will generally attract a more diverse audience and therefore result in better box office revenues.

      Sent from Windows Mail

  4. Don’t know if I can post a link here, but check out any article that give the actual breakdowns. In a pro-minority piece on buzzfeed they give the stats that 12.4% of speaking roles in movies are black people. 13.1% of the population in the US is black. They generate 11% of the ticket sales. Nope doesn’t sound about fair. When a non-black director is in the chair, only 9.9% of speaking roles are played by black people, but wait, when a black director is in the chair, 52.6% of speaking roles go to black people (who has the racist casting problem there???). Not to mention they like to imply that roles all go to white people, when in fact Hollywood is controlled mostly by Jewish people. Which, you know, makes total sense. I mean why should anyone be offended by Jewish people and oh say non-Jewish Germans being lumped together in one group. That’s totally fair. Why does the article show a picture of black people who are clearly represented in numbers which match their percent of the population and ticket sales, when Hispanic, Asian, and Native people are not. Heck, whenever TV or movies portray Eskimos (like my girlfriend), it is some serious BS. Misrepresented is an understatement. I think we need to focus on the truly underrepresented people. Also, lumping all non-Black, Hispanic or Asian people into the white category is as racist as lumping everyone else into a non-white category. This article is a prime example of that.

    • Parris says:

      Your stats need a bit of clarification: 12.4% of speaking roles are for black actors, is that lead roles? or secondary roles with 12.4% of screen time? Having an actor say “Please pass the salt” is not what I would classify as a speaking role worth mentioning! Most roles actors of color get are secondary ones, friends of white people. As a side note: are not movies for worldwide distribution? So why this attention just towards America, are you saying America is the entirety of the planet as far as representation is based upon. Worldwide, white people are the minority, so then shouldn’t they be represented according to the world population? Hmm, what would that look like?
      You declare 11% ofticket sales, for what genre of movies? If you are referring to a movie about white female geriatrics on a road trip, well you may get 1% of black people buying tickets, how many white teenagers? about 0%; now if you look at comic book movies, Spider-man or Blade, you get about 30% or more! and let’s not forget about movies that are targeted towards people of color, ticket sales or 75% or more. Your numbers aren’t telling the whole story!
      Your case about black directors is also not very clear in describing the situation in the industry; the producers hire directors. Black Directors don’t chose the movies that get produced, and in most cases don’t cast the films. They are hired talent. The producers of “black movies” (whatever that means) hire black directors, so of course the majority of actors will be black! of all the black movies ever made a great percentage of them are directed by white directors! There are many black directors who would love the opportunity to produce a so-called “white movie” but will never get the chance!
      Asians and Hispanics are represented in America, as they have their own cable channels where programs only show their represented cultures, with no white people at all! There is not one Channel that is owned and operated by African Americans! All of the channels that look black owned are in fact backed by and owned by white investors. Byron Allen is suing Industry giants for that very reason for billions! They declared, (as quoted by Byron), “We will never create another Bob Johnson”, (billionaire past owner of BET, now owned by white investors)
      I agree that we need diversity in the industry, I would love to see Eskimo actors and stories, I just don’t believe we should look to Hollywood to make those movies, we should!
      There are people of color worldwide that have the resources and power to create “Open Source Entertainment” and “Micro Studios” to do what Hollywood will not, that’s a perfect model for a business opportunity, a market underserved that desires a product!

    • Solid Points says:

      Very good argument. I’m also annoyed how Jewish whites are blended into non-Jewish whites. If you seperate the two out, you get far lower representation.

      Further, Blacks are more or less in line with their population in the US. That can’t be said for Asians, who are generally invisible in Hollywood and Hispanics even more so.

      The problem in the US is that diversity is code for black people – and that’s not an accident. It has been the campaign of black activists for a long time to make that happen and the result is the exclusion of every other minority non-black group.

      Not like they care.

  5. kern says:

    Obviously, this is a polemic by an agency seeking greater employment and portraiture of blacks and other minorities which has no statistical data to support it.

    The Motion Picture industry is all about making money, and it will always make the movies which it perceives to be most profitable. And the industry has much better statistics on this than the Ralph Bunch Center.

    If and when the market calls for a much higher percentage of films featuring minority artists and subjects, we will surely see that come to be, and no person will have any object to that.

  6. Jen says:

    This is getting ridiculous! As a white actress, I cannot get a part because hey always tell me “We’re going ethnic” How is someone starting out supposed to build a resume? I’m not a racist from 1950. Why should I have to pay the price for their mistakes! They best ACTOR should win. Not the best actor backed up by lawyers.

  7. What a load of bull. The agenda isn’t even subtle any more.

    • Parris says:

      Your competition is actually other white female actresses in lead roles or supporting roles, only 3% of all roles are given to Black Females, (they are less represented then even black men), how can you say you are losing roles to that extremely small percentage? Unless you are saying, you want that 3% for yourself! so no roles at all for black women?

  8. I prefer more creativity in the arts. By trying to force diversity, we’re doing nothing more than trying to control people’s creativity and guide it toward some misguided notion of morality. The lack of diversity in TV and film simply implies that there are less characters/roles that were developed for minorities or that qualified minorities are pursuing. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing; however, the action item isn’t on the industry…it is on the minorities themselves.

    Minorities can be screenwriters, producers, actors, actresses, etc. They might even be in a better position to right the characters/stories that represent their people better so we can avoid the conversations we’ll have on token minorities and positive discrimination.

    I am not sure why everyone is riding this diversity train so heavily. If you can’t prove discrimination and prejudice, why assume it is there because you’re not seeing what you want to see? It is beyond me. It should be a call to action…not a guilt trip or cause for complaint.

    • psy7531 says:

      Out of everything that you said, the one thing that I partially agree with is:

      “the action item isn’t on the industry…it is on the minorities themselves”. Actually though, I think that its a shared responsibility: Visible minorities need to boycott movies, producers and directors that do not
      sufficiently reflect people of color and diversity in their movies; and the industry needs to cater to its customers, the audience, by sufficiently reflecting people of color and diversity in the movies.

    • Parris says:

      Creativity, I see lack of creativity! White producers and writers have for years casted the same heroes, protagonist, and villains. Everything is vanilla, is that the real world? White producers make movies in other countries and put white actors in lead roles, sometimes white actors are made up to look like other people! So painting with the same brush with only one color and producing the sam picture again and again is creativity? I see it more as immaturity and lack of world vision.

    • Rebeccah says:

      ‘Minorities can be screenwriters, producers, actors, actresses, etc.’. Not if they don’t get hired.

    • write*…not “right”

  9. stefonte says:

    No other way to put this but…Gay is the new White, as gay white men characters are getting more screen time than Blacks. Where it’s still taboo to show interacial relationships and affection, it’s now chique to show white males in a full on throw. That’s just how much Hollywood is against color. Hell walking dead even got in on the action, although they portray their own comic.

  10. Mr. Baine says:

    I want better movies not more diverse movies.

    • psy7531 says:

      I don”t see why these 2 things would be considered mutually exclusive.

    • Joshua Davis says:

      Diverse = more potential to be good.

    • stefonte says:

      How can you have better movies if the same people are writing, directing, and staring in them. Increase your talent pool!

      • john cool says:

        When was last black screenwriter that did a movie that didn’t make movies for only black audience or critically acclaimed? 12 years of slave doesn’t interest me because I already seen enough slave movies. Nor is it original by any means. Remaking annie as black was hilariously bad and not needed either.

  11. daniel says:

    looking at box office for those years it looks pretty white and other than walking dead i can’t think of a diverse tv show that’s big. also why are women considered diverse all of a sudden? they’re over 50% of the population. they’re the largest demographic after white people.

    • Are we deeming this a bad thing? Does more diverse TV imply that it is in any way, shape, form or fashion better TV? I care more about watching quality TV than watching diverse TV.

      • Parris says:

        What is your definition of “Quality TV”, so far it seems you mean programs without diversity, as if to say diversity lesens the quality of a program. How are programs that only feature white actors better or have more quality? please specify or elucidate on your point, thank you.

      • Vincent says:

        Not necessarily, but you have certainly suggested that whiter TV equates to better TV over the course of you multiple postings.

  12. Richard says:

    Yeah. No. Black business and Paramount had to pony up free tickets for their people to view Selma.

    • stefonte says:

      When you have a lack of something than its now a diversity or minority. The NBA isn’t diverse because whites and others are the minority. So women who not that long ago just obtained the right to vote are a minority when it comes to power which is wielded by white men.

  13. lotrfan says:

    I wasn’t aware that I wanted more diversity. Thank you for pointing that out.

  14. Scarlette says:

    “Audiences Demand More Diversity in Film and TV”

    Eh? We are?

    • Parris says:

      Maybe you are not, but you do not represent millions of viewers who wish to see a representation of the real world! I do not go about my day only seeing white people, thats ridiculous to even suggest that is reality! So why is it a problem when it’s suggested that there should be more representation of people of color?

  15. psy7531 says:

    It”s annoying when you”re watching a movie and there are no people of color in the movie. I seems unreal. One has to wonder, how did they get rid of all the visible minorities?

  16. john cool says:

    Yeah what was like gay movie that got recognition? Milk? Meanwhile you see SELMA or some black race related movie every year. If blacks want to get bigger in film industry they should do more movies about general ideas than just making racial movies.

  17. Last Man Sitting says:

    You’d almost think there’s an agenda or something.

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