A new report by a UCLA professor in conjunction with Color of Change says it is exposing the failure of network executive hiring practices.
Color of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization released, “Race In The Writer’s Room,” a report that claims to highlight the failure of the TV industry, particularly when it comes to Black writers and other writers of color.
According to the report, headed by UCLA professor Darnell Hunt, nearly two-thirds of all TV shows across 18 networks lack a single Black writer.
The study reviewed all 234 original, scripted comedy and drama series housed on 18 networks during the 2016-2017 season. It found that 65% of all writers’ rooms had not a single African-American writer. Less than 5% of writers were Black, according to the report.
Key findings of the report can be viewed below:
- 65% of shows had zero Black writers, and only 17% had two or more Black writers
- 91% of shows were led by white showrunners (80% by men), only 5% were led by Black showrunners
- AMC stands out as the worst on overall inclusion (race and gender), while CBS and CW stand out as broadcast networks with a “Black Problem,” hiring women and other people of color writers but not Black writers
- Out of nine procedural crime dramas analyzed, zero had Black showrunners, and only one had multiple Black writers
- Only 13.6% of shows led by white showrunners had two or more Black writers in the writers’ room. By contrast, every writers’ room led by a Black showrunner had multiple white writers.
“The outrageous level of exclusion in writers’ rooms has real-life consequences for Black people, people of color and women” Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of Color Of Change said in a statement sent to EBONY. “While shows like Queen Sugar and Insecure boast diverse writers’ rooms and stand out as powerful examples of progress, the industry as a whole is failing. Hollywood executives make decisions every day about who gets hired. Their exclusion of Black showrunners and writers results in content—viewed by millions of Americans, year after year—that advances harmful stereotypes about Black people, and creates a more hostile world for Black people in real life. Hollywood must do better.”
The report was commissioned by the organization’s Hollywood project. The initiative seeks to ensure that narratives and portrayals of Black people across the entertainment industry are multidimensional and authentic. The project also works to endure that workplace practices are fair to Black talent and all people of color in the talent industry.
To see the full report visit, hollywood.colorofchange.org.