Last month’s Emmy Awards won their glaring lack of diversity, with a show of white creators and predominantly white actors taking home most of the evening’s top prizes. The same pattern is found in the latest issue of Hollywood’s annual diversity survey. Progress has been made in some areas, especially on-screen display, but many are modest at best.
Posted on Tuesday, Hollywood Diversity Report of the University of California Los Angeles reviews hundreds of TV shows released in the 2019-20 season. A report led by University of California Los Angeles researchers Darnell Hunt and Ana-Cristina Ramon found that of the 2019-20 shows on broadcast or digital platforms, “no scripted show created solely by a person of color received an Emmy.” In addition, “in broadcast and digital television, the shows most likely to win an Emmy in 2019-2020 were among those with the least diverse cast.”
Awards like Emmy are important because they mean visibility to the people and projects that win. They can also influence what projects will be implemented in the future. Their lack of diversity reflects broader, industry-wide concerns, as documented in a UCLA report that breaks down the representation of women and people of color among the leading actors, actors, creators, directors and screenwriters working on 461 broadcast, cable and digital TV scenarios in season 2019-20 (Earlier this year, researchers released the first part of the studywhich focuses on films released in 2020.)
Almost ten years Hunt & Ramon’s Annual Reports found that the audience gravitate towards films and TV shows with a more diverse line-up – This means that when Hollywood executives don’t prioritize diversity, they leave money on the table.
What’s more, their research, like many other studies on diversity in front of and behind the camera, has repeatedly shown that films and TV shows with fairer screen representation are more likely to be filmed first when there is fairer off-screen view. … But Hollywood has been slow to catch up, making significant progress over the years.
About 42.7% of Americans identified as people of color in last year’s census. According to a report on Tuesday, people of color generally achieved proportional representation in terms of the racial diversity of TV show actors in the 2019-2020 season. In cable and digital shows, people of color are also close to achieving proportional representation. These achievements, however, were mostly among black and multiracial main characters.
The researchers warn that Hispanics and Asians are still underrepresented, with indigenous and indigenous peoples “virtually invisible” on screen. Low level of representation of the Latin American language especially outrageous, as Hispanics make up nearly 20% of the US population – and nearly half of the Los Angeles population, where many of these TV shows are written, filmed and produced.
Behind the scenes, women and people of color have had modest success in gaining more opportunities to create their own shows in a world dominated by white and male creators of television. But they are still far from proportional representation.
According to a report from the University of California Los Angeles, cable shows have the highest percentage of color creators (20.6% in 2019-2020, an all-time high). Notably, digital platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, which like to highlight how much freedom they give creators, haven’t done what you’d expect. Only 14.7% of digital show creators in 2019-2020 were of color, compared to 15.7% in 2015-16 and 16.5% in 2016-17. Just under 30% of digital show creators in 2019-2020 were women. This percentage has stabilized at around 30% over the past few years, after peaking at 34.8% in the 2016-17 season.
On broadcast networks, which still garner millions of viewers every week, only 9.8% of show creators in the 2019-2020 season were of color and 24.1% were women. Both numbers have more or less remained unchanged over the past few years.
Because previous advances were so minimal, even one show, or a small handful of them, can result in a significant increase. For example, according to the report, in 2018-19, 0% of the cable shows that won Emmy awards were created by people of color. By the 2019-20 season, that figure jumped to 12.5% thanks to the only show – HBO’s “Insecure”, created by Issa Rae in the title role.
These problems are systemic and ingrained, and as the report points out, much of the responsibility for creating a more diverse Hollywood falls on studio and network executives, who are overwhelmingly white and male.
Their decisions about which shows will be created “set the parameters by which everything else evolves,” the researchers wrote in a report Tuesday. “Only when women and people of color are integrated into these defining spaces – and in meaningful proportions – will Hollywood truly solve its diversity problem.”
Read the full report here.