Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
'Jessica Jones' Producers Share Details on How Involved Luke Cage Will Be in the Series 'Jessica Jones' Producers Share Details on How Involved Luke Cage Will Be in the Series Danny Glover's Toussaint L'Ouverture Film That Never Was, But Could Still Be & Other Films on the Haitian Revolutionary Danny Glover's Toussaint L'Ouverture Film That Never Was, But Could Still Be & Other Films on the Haitian Revolutionary HBO Boss Says Issa Rae's Series Casting Now, Slightly Different in Tone from Web Series, Don't Expect Until 2016/2017 HBO Boss Says Issa Rae's Series Casting Now, Slightly Different in Tone from Web Series, Don't Expect Until 2016/2017 Nice! Lupita Nyong’o Will Star in Danai Gurira's Liberia Civil War Drama ''Eclipsed' Nice! Lupita Nyong’o Will Star in Danai Gurira's Liberia Civil War Drama ''Eclipsed' S&A Call for Films That Speak to the #BlackLivesMatter Movement - Cash Award for the Strongest S&A Call for Films That Speak to the #BlackLivesMatter Movement - Cash Award for the Strongest Watch Episode One of Controversial Caribbean-Set TV Series ‘Chee$e’ Watch Episode One of Controversial Caribbean-Set TV Series ‘Chee$e’ John Legend and His Get Lifted Production Company to Executive Produce WGN America's 'Underground' John Legend and His Get Lifted Production Company to Executive Produce WGN America's 'Underground' Nollywood Is a Genre of Nigerian Film & Not the Entire Nigerian Film Industry (Watch Al Jazeera's New Documentary) Nollywood Is a Genre of Nigerian Film & Not the Entire Nigerian Film Industry (Watch Al Jazeera's New Documentary) It Looks Like 'Beasts of No Nation' Will Be THE "Black Film" in Awards Season Contention This Year - With 9 Other Potentials It Looks Like 'Beasts of No Nation' Will Be THE "Black Film" in Awards Season Contention This Year - With 9 Other Potentials Marvel Hopes to Release a New Netflix Series Every 6 Months - Including 'Luke Cage' & 'The Defenders' of Course Marvel Hopes to Release a New Netflix Series Every 6 Months - Including 'Luke Cage' & 'The Defenders' of Course Queen Latifah Will Play Wiz and Mary J. Blige Is Evillene in NBC's Musical Production of 'The Wiz' Queen Latifah Will Play Wiz and Mary J. Blige Is Evillene in NBC's Musical Production of 'The Wiz' 'Shaft' Reboot Draws 'Black-ish' Creator Kenya Barris as Writer - Studio Aiming for Something More Comedic 'Shaft' Reboot Draws 'Black-ish' Creator Kenya Barris as Writer - Studio Aiming for Something More Comedic 5 Tips on Writing No-Budget/Low-Budget Feature Screenplays... Back (or Rather Black) By Popular Demand... 5 Tips on Writing No-Budget/Low-Budget Feature Screenplays... Back (or Rather Black) By Popular Demand... What's Wrong with Being Black and Chasing Your Hollywood Dream? What's Wrong with Being Black and Chasing Your Hollywood Dream? Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Third 'Best Man' Movie Gets a Title, an Official 2016 Release Date & A Most Unexpected Wedding Third 'Best Man' Movie Gets a Title, an Official 2016 Release Date & A Most Unexpected Wedding Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

New UCLA Study Finds That TV Shows w/ Ethnically Diverse Casts & Crew Have Higher Ratings

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act October 15, 2013 at 6:32PM

A new study from UCLA's Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, published last week, reveals that - hold onto your seats - TV shows with ethnically diverse lead cast members and writers, attract much larger audiences than shows with less diversity in their cast and crew. I'll wait for you to pick your jaw up from the floor...Shocking, right? Who knew? Yes, I'm being sarcastic, if that's not obvious enough.The study is titled "Hollywood Diversity Brief: Spotlight on Cable Television.""It's clear that people are watching shows that reflect and relate to their own experiences," said Bunche Center director Darnell Hunt, a professor of sociology at UCLA and author of the new study.And this comes to us despite the fact that, as other studies continue to report each year, women and minorities are still terribly underrepresented in leading roles and staff positions, on both cable and broadcast TV programs, in front of and behind the camera."This is one of the first studies, to my knowledge, that attempts to flesh out the relationship between the issue of diversity among cast members and writers and the bottom line," Hunt said, adding, "While this brief is just the first snapshot in what we envision as a multi-year study, it certainly lends support to an argument we have been making for a long time. Everyone in the industry talks about the importance of diversity, but it clearly isn't priority one when decisions are made. And it's not going to be a priority until people realize how it affects the bottom line." Indeed. I recently half-joked about how instrumental the additions of Angela Bassett and Gabourey Sidibe to the cast of this season of American Horror Story were, in helping its premiere episode become the most-watched telecast ever of the American Horror Story franchise, recording 5.54 million total viewers, ranking #1 for the night in Adults 18-34 against all broadcast competition in primetime (8-11pm). And away from the small screen, to the big screen, one of the most successful movie franchises in cinema history, Fast & Furious, has seen its box office earnings continue to impress with each installment, which, as we've noted in previous posts, is likely due in some part to the movie's diverse cast and crew.The overall complexion of the world - specifically the USA - is gradually changing, and it's something that should not be ignored, especially if you're creating content for a mass, mainstream audience. We all want to see ourselves on screen - at least I certainly think so. Quite a bold concept, isn't it?The study is the first in a series that will be done for the Bunche Center's Hollywood Advancement Project, which will track, over time, diversity in the TV and film industry. It will also serve to identify best practices for increasing the participation of underrepresented groups.I'd like to think there is already some awareness of this within Hollywood studio executive offices - especially in 2013. Although, the evidence doesn't entirely support that. Or maybe it's starting to.
3
TV

A new study from UCLA's Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, published last week, reveals that - hold onto your seats - TV shows with ethnically diverse lead cast members and writers, attract much larger audiences than shows with less diversity in their cast and crew. 

I'll wait for you to pick your jaw up from the floor...

Shocking, right? Who knew? 

Yes, I'm being sarcastic, if that's not obvious enough.

The study is titled "Hollywood Diversity Brief: Spotlight on Cable Television."

"It's clear that people are watching shows that reflect and relate to their own experiences," said Bunche Center director Darnell Hunt, a professor of sociology at UCLA and author of the new study.

And this comes to us despite the fact that, as other studies continue to report each year, women and minorities are still terribly underrepresented in leading roles and staff positions, on both cable and broadcast TV programs, in front of and behind the camera.

"This is one of the first studies, to my knowledge, that attempts to flesh out the relationship between the issue of diversity among cast members and writers and the bottom line," Hunt said, adding, "While this brief is just the first snapshot in what we envision as a multi-year study, it certainly lends support to an argument we have been making for a long time. Everyone in the industry talks about the importance of diversity, but it clearly isn't priority one when decisions are made. And it's not going to be a priority until people realize how it affects the bottom line." 

Indeed. 

I recently half-joked about how instrumental the additions of Angela Bassett and Gabourey Sidibe to the cast of this season of American Horror Story were, in helping its premiere episode become the most-watched telecast ever of the American Horror Story franchise, recording 5.54 million total viewers, ranking #1 for the night in Adults 18-34 against all broadcast competition in primetime (8-11pm). 

And away from the small screen, to the big screen, one of the most successful movie franchises in cinema history, Fast & Furious, has seen its box office earnings continue to impress with each installment, which, as we've noted in previous posts, is likely due in some part to the movie's diverse cast and crew.

The overall complexion of the world - specifically the USA - is gradually changing, and it's something that should not be ignored, especially if you're creating content for a mass, mainstream audience. We all want to see ourselves on screen - at least I certainly think so. Quite a bold concept, isn't it?

The study is the first in a series that will be done for the Bunche Center's Hollywood Advancement Project, which will track, over time, diversity in the TV and film industry. It will also serve to identify best practices for increasing the participation of underrepresented groups.

I'd like to think there is already some awareness of this within Hollywood studio executive offices - especially in 2013. Although, the evidence doesn't entirely support that. Or maybe it's starting to.

It was in 1945 that research was first used to aid in defining Blacks as consumers. The study was initiated by the Afro-American Newspaper Group, in collaboration with the Urban League. A summary of the findings confirmed that blacks were a viable market segment (Wow, really? Who knew?), but the racial attitudes of the time prevented most marketers from pursuing the opportunity to fully exploit that very viable market segment.

Almost 70 years later, with African American buying power specifically, said to be something like $1.5 trillion annually, it's really incredible that many marketers are still very much ignoring the African American market (in all its diversity) including those shortsighted thinkers in Hollywood.

Man, where's Putney Swope when you need him... Truth & Soul Inc, 2013 style, lacks.

And while the UCLA study's title suggests its specifically focused on cable TV, the report does also contain information on broadcast TV as well. As it states, the importance of diversity to the bottom line was just as significant in broadcast TV as it was in cable, as household ratings spiked among broadcast television shows that were 41 to 50 percent minority, while ratings took a dive for shows with casts that had a 10 percent or less minority presence.

You can download the full report via UCLA's Bunche Center website HERE. I looked it over in putting together this post, but I plan to give it a much more thorough read through later, so there might be an addendum.

This article is related to: Things That Make You Go Hmm...


Shadow & ActNewsletter