TV Is Becoming More 'Diverse' But Hollywood Has No Idea What It Means

Illustration for article titled TV Is Becoming More 'Diverse' But Hollywood Has No Idea What It Means

The push for diversity in film and TV has proved that people in Hollywood are clueless when it comes to explaining what diversity means to them and/or how it should be executed. Take, for example, the Nancy Drew series currently in development.


Though Hollywood as a whole remains predominantly white, TV execs increasingly have little choice but to switch up and start embracing minority characters and stories, both because of the current climate and because of numbers (with Empire being the most popular show).

In the meantime, it’s painfully obvious in the way they describe projects—and the use of the buzzword “diverse”—that some of these execs have no idea how to be inclusive or how to talk about it.

During a TCA event on Tuesday, CBS president Glenn Geller gave an update on the Nancy Drew TV reboot, which features Nancy as a thirty-something NYPD detective. Geller told media that the beloved female detective of our childhood definitely won’t be white. “She is diverse. That is the way she is written,” he said. She, this one person, will be diverse. What a strange way to explain that your plan—a good one—is to avoid whitewashing the show.

The Hollywood Reporter adds:

While Geller said it was too early in the process to explain just what he meant by diverse—whether Nancy is African-American, Asian-American or Latino, he said it would hinge on finding the right actress for the part. “[She will] not [be] Caucasian,” he stressed. “I’d be open to any ethnicity.”

He also says, “We’re not casting color blind, we’re casting color conscious.” Hence, the complicated (and not necessarily bad) issue of “forced diversity.”


Over on another network, ABC head Paul Lee had (as usual) an awkward time explaining why The Bachelor has existed for 20 seasons without a black bachelor. He told a crowd at TCA that he hopes the next season of The Bachelorette will be more “diverse.”

“Yeah, yeah, we’re doing a whole lot of tweaks,” he said, according to Entertainment Weekly. “We had a Latino Bachelor, obviously. We’re doing a whole lot of tweaks... I’d be very surprised if The Bachelorette in the summer wasn’t diverse. Perhaps I shouldn’t have said that, but I think that’s likely to happen.”


EW notes:

Basically, Lee is hinting that a “diverse” summer Bachelorette will result in a more diverse pool of contestants, and that in turn will inspire producers to cast a black Bachelor for fall (“get us where we want to go…”). Or not.



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Beet Arthur

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that unless the people behind the scenes making decisions is also diverse, these kinds of decisions mean nothing? Also, increase the odds of mishandling making casts ‘more diverse’.