Sunday, April 21, 2019

Despite Poor Diversity Record CBS Praised by National Latino Groups

Despite recently being under fire for lack of diversity progress in leading and key roles, CBS is now being praised by two national Latino organizations as a “leader” in the inclusion of Latinos in prime-time television. On Tuesday, Heads of the National Hispanic Media Coalition and the National Latino Media Council said in a statement that CBS has made impressive strides in honoring a 1999 memorandum of understanding with a multi-ethnic coalition to increase Latino representation in front of and behind the camera.

“In a short amount of time, CBS made substantial changes that have catapulted the network to a leader in the field when it comes to the inclusion of Latinos,” Alex Nogales, president and CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, said in the statement.

CBS was blasted by journalists when the summer portion of the Television Critics Assn. press tour did not follow through on continued promises to increase diversity. Among the network’s six new shows, just “SWAT” features a minority lead, and none features a woman in a leading role; most of the actors of color on CBS shows are part of ensemble casts, such as Wilmer Valderrama of “NCIS.”

“We were prepared to be militant and were thinking about boycotts,” Alex Nogales said. “They saw the handwriting on the wall. But when we came in, they disarmed us with new numbers and names.”

CBS showed that they had doubled the number of Latino regular actors from 2016, and doubled the number of Latino writers since that year. The network also agreed to order scripts from Latino writers and producers and look for stories relevant to that community. CBS also promised to hear “an additional 10 pitches from 10 Latino writers-producers.”

LA Times