×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Show Business Diversity Trailing U.S. Demographics, UCLA Report Shows

Minorities and women are falling far short in making inroads into influential Hollywood positions compared with the actual demographics of the U.S. population, a new UCLA study shows.

“This disconnect does not bode well for future of the Hollywood industry,” said Darnell Hunt, directors of UCLA’s Ralph J. Bunche Center for African-American Studies. “Women already constitute slightly more than half of the U.S. population and more than a third of the population is currently minority and the population continues to diversify at a dizzying rate.”

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, according to the study.

“The report paints a picture of an industry that is woefully out of touch with an emerging America, an America that’s becoming more diverse by the day,” Hunt said.

The 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 excell in ratings.

“Hollywood does pretty well financially right now, but it could do a lot better if it were better reflecting the diversity of America,” said Hunt.

The UCLA analysis was based on the top 172 American-made movies from 2011 and more than 1,000 TV airing on 68 cable and broadcast networks during the 2011–12 season. The center — which has been performing similar studies for the Writers Guild of America for the past decade — said that Wednesday’s report is part of a series of analyses it will perform to track diversity in the TV-film industry along with identifying best practices for widening the pipeline for underrepresented groups.

Among the findings:

— Minority lead actors in film and TV were underrepresented by a factor of more than three-to-one — less than one-third the rate that would be expected based on their proportion of the population. In broadcast TV comedies and dramas, they were underrepresented by a factor of seven-to-one.

— Minority film directors were underrepresented by a factor of three-to-one; film writers and creators of comedies and dramas on cable TV, were underrepresented by a factor of five-to-one; in broadcast TV, minority creators of comedies and dramas were underrepresented by a factor of nine-to-one.

— Women achieved proportionate representation in broadcast TV, where they appeared as leading actors in 52% of comedies and dramas in 2011–12. But they were underrepresented by a factor of 12-to-one as film directors and by a factor of three-to-one in film writing.

The study also blasted the three top talent agencies — CAA, WME and UTA — as contributing little to promoting diversity as they represented more than two-thirds of the writers, directors and lead actors in the 172 leading films in 2011, with less than 10% of that talent being minority.

In broadcast TV, the three agencies represented more than two-thirds of show creators and more than half of the leads, and minorities accounted for only 1.4% of these creators and 5.5% of these leads during the 2011–12 broadcast season.

The report also noted that no minority-directed film from 2011 won an Oscar and no film with a minority lead actor won an Oscar; only 5% of Emmy-winning comedies and dramas on broadcast TV in 2011-12 were minority-created with “Grey’s Anatomy” accounting for that entire share.

“Grey’s Anatomy” creator Shonda Rhimes, who was honored for her diversity efforts with a Betsy Beers last month by the Directors Guild of America, said in her acceptance speech, “It’s fairly shameful that there’s a lack of diversity in Hollywood in 2014.”

The report asserted that films with a relatively high amount of minority involvement (21% to 30%)  achieved the highest median global box office receipts at $160.1 million while films with less than 10% percent achieved a median of $68.5 million.

“The situation is better than it was in the 1950s, but Hollywood is falling further and further behind,” Hunt said. “America is infinitely more diverse than it was. So the gap has gotten bigger between where America is going and where the industry is going.”

More Film

  • FX's 'Snowfall' Panel TCA Winter Press

    John Singleton Hospitalized After Suffering Stroke

    UPDATED with statements from John Singleton’s family and FX Networks John Singleton, the Oscar nominated director and writer of “Boyz N’ the Hood,” has suffered a stroke. Sources confirm to Variety that Singleton checked himself into the hospital earlier this week after experiencing pain in his leg. The stroke has been characterized by doctors as [...]

  • 'Curse of La Llorona' Leads Slow

    'Curse of La Llorona' Leads Slow Easter Weekend at the Box Office

    New Line’s horror pic “The Curse of La Llorona” will summon a solid $25 million debut at the domestic box office, leading a quiet Easter weekend before Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame” hits theaters on April 26. The James Wan-produced “La Llorona,” playing in 3,372 theaters, was a hit with hispanic audiences, who accounted for nearly 50% [...]

  • Jim Jarmusch in 'Carmine Street Guitars'

    Film Review: 'Carmine Street Guitars'

    “Carmine Street Guitars” is a one-of-a-kind documentary that exudes a gentle, homespun magic. It’s a no-fuss, 80-minute-long portrait of Rick Kelly, who builds and sells custom guitars out of a modest storefront on Carmine Street in New York’s Greenwich Village, and the film touches on obsessions that have been popping up, like fragrant weeds, in [...]

  • Missing Link Laika Studios

    ‘Missing Link’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Annapurna Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “Missing Link.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $5.91 million through Sunday for [...]

  • Little Woods

    Film Review: 'Little Woods'

    So much of the recent political debate has focused on the United States’ southern border, and on the threat of illegal drugs and criminals filtering up through Mexico. But what of the north, where Americans traffic opiates and prescription pills from Canada across a border that runs nearly three times as long? “Little Woods” opens [...]

  • Beyonce's Netflix Deal Worth a Whopping

    Beyonce's Netflix Deal Worth a Whopping $60 Million (EXCLUSIVE)

    Netflix has become a destination for television visionaries like Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy, with deals worth $100 million and $250 million, respectively, and top comedians like Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle ($40 million and $60 million, respectively). The streaming giant, which just announced it’s added nearly 10 million subscribers in Q1, is honing in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content