April is Diversity Month, and with it comes some good news: the representation of women and people of color in television is increasing, both on screen and behind the camera.
Why it matters: Diverse audiences demand diverse television. TV that is inclusive and reflects a wide variety of perspectives not only can open our eyes to new experiences, but also help us learn something beyond ourselves.
Let’s take a quick look at the numbers from the latest analysis of diversity on TV, plus some of the players who are continuing to move the needle.
Good News—Representation is on the Rise
Racial and gender diversity in front of the camera reached their highest points in a decade.
- The share of cable scripted shows featuring majority-minority casts topped 35% during the 2020-21 season – more than quadruple the share for the 2011-12 season.
- The share of top cable scripted roles claimed by women reached close to 50% in 2020-21, nearly equivalent with men.
People of color and women continued to gain ground among credited writers of scripted shows.
- People of color made up close to 40% of credited writers of cable scripted shows in 2020-21, a significant bump up from the 2019-20 season.
- Women made up close to 50% of credited writers of cable scripted shows in 2020-21, up 5% from the previous TV season.
Another thing to note: For the 2022-2023 season, half of the LGBTQ characters on cable are people of color, up 5% from the previous year.
Trailblazers to Celebrate this Diversity Month
Following his career as a NFL player with the Detroit Lions, James DuBose experienced a rapid rise through the entertainment ranks and now heads programming for FOX SOUL, a new live and interactive streaming channel dedicated to African American viewers.
- Under DuBose’s leadership, FOX SOUL has gone from a concept to a rising network with more than 55 million viewers in less than two years.
- DuBose is most proud of owning that his role as a Black entertainment executive means lifting up others as he climbs and supporting the economic empowerment of Black communities.
Most recently known for creating and producing the hit series “Vida” on Starz, Tanya Saracho is focused on trying to create the roles she didn’t have at the start of her career to make it possible for others to do the same.
- Most recently, Saracho launched the Ojalá Ignition Lab, an incubator program aimed at developing and producing television, film and audio projects dedicated to Latinx voices and narratives.
- Saracho also co-founded the Untitled Latinix Project, whose mission is to increase Latinx representation in television, broadcast, cable, and streaming platforms through content created by Latinx writers.
President of OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Tina Perry was instrumental in the network’s successful launch into scripted programming with popular drama series “Queen Sugar” and “All Rise.”
- Perry shepherded the creation of special OWN Spotlight programming that tackles important issues affecting Black women today, including Oprah’s two-night town hall on racism in America.
- As a passionate advocate for the nuanced representation of Black women in media, she also spearheads OWN’s collaboration with the Association of National Advertisers’ SeeHer movement.
Despite these successes, this is still more work to be done to foster diversity and inclusion. To find out more about our efforts to boost diversity on television, click here.