×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Leslie Moonves on Diversity: Judge Track Record by ‘Totality’ of CBS Corp.

As CBS unveils its new fall lineup, the Eye is facing renewed scrutiny of its track record on diversity in front of and behind the camera. CBS Corp. chairman-CEO Leslie Moonves told reporters Wednesday morning that CBS’ track record should be judged by the “totality” of programming delivered by the broader corporation, including Showtime, the CW and the CBS All Access streaming service.

Of the CBS network’s six new fall series, one features a person of color in the lead, African-American actor Shemar Moore in the police drama “SWAT.” Compared to last year, when CBS had no actors of color in lead roles among freshman shows in its fall lineup, the Eye has also added the comedy “Superior Donuts,” starring African-American comedian Jermaine Fowler.

Moonves was pressed by a reporter Wednesday during a Q&A session about the lack of female leads in new fall shows. Moonves pointed to current CBS series “Madam Secretary” and “Mom” which feature predominantly female casts. He cited the acclaimed CBS All Access drama “The Good Fight,” toplined by Christine Baranski, which has been picked up for a second season. All Access is also launching a new iteration of “Star Trek” this fall, “Star Trek: Discovery,” which is led by African-American actress Sonequa Martin-Green.

Martin-Green and Fowler will be prominently featured as part of the presentation CBS will deliver to advertisers this afternoon at Carnegie Hall.

Moonves emphasized that programming decisions come down to the quality of the pilots produced this year. “We do a number of pilots. A lot of them have women in starring roles,” he said. “The best pilots win at the end of the day. We think our track record is OK.”

Last year, CBS executives vowed to improve efforts to bring more diverse voices to the network after a drubbing from critics who pointed to the disconnect between an all-white fall slate and the increasingly multicultural nature of the U.S. population. CBS has reigned for most of the past 15 years as America’s most-watched network. Moonves noted that more women in total watch CBS than any other network.

Moonves also pointed to programming activity beyond primetime, such as news, daytime and sports, as well as Showtime and the CW. “Look a the totality of what we do,” he said. “We’re fine in terms of the amount of women in front of the camera, behind the camera. I don’t think we’re looking in the wrong direction.”

Among its off-camera employment, CBS’ new fall comedy “9JKL” is co-created and exec produced by a woman, Dana Klein. CBS’ new drama “Seal Team” and returning series “Madam Secretary,” “Mom,” “Criminal Minds,” “Elementary,” “The Amazing Race” and newsmagazine “48 Hours” have female creators or exec producers in leading roles.

More TV

  • Cineflix Alum Launches New Banner Fugitive,

    Cineflix Alum Launches New Banner Fugitive, Tees Up Alex Gibney, Yolanda Ramke Shows

    Anthony Kimble, formerly of Cineflix, National Geographic, and Viacom’s Channel 5, has launched Fugitive and will develop, finance, and exec produce drama and unscripted TV through the new banner. Its first projects include “Uncanny Valley: The Truth About Thinking Machines,” which comes from producers Topic and Jigsaw. A series about A.I. and the future of [...]

  • Cineflix Rights Scoops Icelandic Political Series

    Cineflix Rights Scoops Icelandic Political Series 'The Minister'

    Cineflix Rights, a leading U.K. content distributor, has acquired “The Minister,” the anticipated political drama series headlined by Icelandic star Ólafur Darri Ólafsson (“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”). Produced by the Icelandic company Sagafilm, “The Minister” centres on Benedikt Ríkhardsson (Ólafsson), a populist politician who becomes Iceland’s Prime Minister. However, Benedikt is suffering from [...]

  • WGA Authorizing Managers, Lawyers to Make

    WGA Authorizing Managers, Lawyers to Make Deals if Agents are Fired

    The Writers Guild of America has authorized managers and lawyers to negotiate deals for writers in place of agents — if the guild tells members to fire their agents on April 7. The guild’s negotiating committee notified members of the plans in a message Wednesday. The WGA and the Association of Talent Agents having made [...]

  • Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna'Jane

    Rachel Bloom on the 'Beautiful Mystery' of the 'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend' Series Finale

    While four seasons of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” have explored musical genres from boy bands to country, the one type of music series co-creator and star Rachel Bloom admits the show will not explore before the end is Rebecca’s own style. “Basically the idea is that part of the music in her mind is her looking inside [...]

  • Netflix's Lisa Nishimura Named Indie Film,

    Netflix's Lisa Nishimura Named Indie Film, Documentary Features Head

    In the wake of Bela Bajaria’s recent move to lead Netflix’s international non-English original TV series, the online streamer is shuffling its leadership team to more clearly distinguish between development of its English and non-English language content. As a result, Netflix has elevated Lisa Nishimura to vice president of independent film and documentary features, a [...]

  • Family Guy Bob's Burgers

    Fox Entertainment Lays Out Programming Slate in Post-Disney Merger Sizzle Reel (Watch)

    Fox Entertainment unveiled a new sizzle reel on Wednesday night in the wake of the Disney-21st Century Fox merger officially closing, with the broadcaster touting its current series roster. The video features both scripted and unscripted programming across Fox’s lineup. Among the shows featured are legacy series like “The Simpsons,” “Family Guy,” and “Empire.” In [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content