How TV Beats Film In Giving Women And Minorities Greater Opportunities On Screen

By Scott Collins
Los Angeles Times

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr)  With an explosion of new programming on TV, by most accounts, the small screen (as opposed to the movie industry) has become a more culturally inclusive place over the last decade. When it comes to women and leadership, Last week, ABC made history by naming Channing Dungey to head its entertainment division, the first African American to fill that role.

Los Angeles Times

Shonda Rhimes, an African American writer-producer, is one of the most powerful people in the TV business.

Last week, Disney’s ABC TV network made history by naming Channing Dungey to head its entertainment division, the first African American to fill that role.

In fact, even as the big screen industry is under fire for a lack of diversity, some of the most celebrated shows on TV showcase diversity, whether it is the African American family of ABC’s “black-ish,” the multiracial inmates on Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black” or the transgender dad on Amazon’s “Transparent.”

By most accounts, the small screen has become a more culturally inclusive place over the last decade, and for several reasons.

The TV audience itself is diverse, one estimate is that black viewers spend 37 percent more time watching TV than other racial groups, which has forced network executives to find programming that reflects the people watching at home.

The TV industry is also significantly larger than the movie business, meaning more opportunities overall, and lately there has been an explosion of new programming.

While film studios have been trimming their release slates,  Paramount, for example, released just 16 movies last year, down from 21 in 2012, networks are flooding viewers with new TV series. Last year, an all-time high of 409 original series were produced for television (including streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu), according to a study by cable network FX. That number has doubled in the past six years.

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