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Networks Slowly Embracing Ethnic Diversity

December 2nd, 2005 1:59pm EST
George LopezSeveral TV networks are successfully incorporating Latinos in primetime shows, according to a new report from the National Latino Media Council (NLMC), which specifically applauded ABC programs such as The George Lopez Show and Freddie. The group just released its sixth annual report card, grading ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX on their performance in promoting diversity at their networks.

“With the population of 14% and a purchasing power of 700 billion dollars a year, the efforts of the networks to be inclusive point to an understanding of the importance of the Latino community,” Esteban Torres, Chair of the NLMC, pointed out. “We thank all four networks for their continued commitment to the diversity initiatives, but expect better numbers in the next reporting period. Remember, this is not our first, but our sixth annual report. The overall grades for all four networks are encouraging, but performance still lags behind in proportion to our population. In other words, we still have a long ways to go.”

The report includes grades for each network for Latino actors in regular and recurring roles. It also graded performance for directors, writers/producers, entertainment executives, program development, procurement, and overall network commitment to diversity.

“ABC has done an excellent job of bringing Latino regulars to their primetime shows, helped of course by the many regulars on ‘The George Lopez Show’ and ‘Freddie’,” said Torres. “These are quality roles and ABC is running these programs in Spanish on SAP. In English, they are also having some of the characters speaking Spanish, a realistic reflection of the way we communicate. Kudos to Steve McPhearson and his Executives for presenting us in an organic, three dimensional fashion.”

“NBC has an incredible number of Latino Directors doing a huge number of episodes,” stated Jerry Velasco, President of Nosotros, one of the thirteen advocacy, civil rights organizations under the NLMC umbrella. “CBS has also come on strong. It has the highest number of recurring Latino Actors working on their shows, the second highest number of Latino Directors, along with the second highest number of episodes directed by these talented individuals.”

“FOX has the highest procurement numbers of all the networks,” said Alex Nogales, President/CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, they are three million dollars over their nearest competitor. “When you consider they started in last place, this is outstanding news.” FOX acting numbers in both regular and recurring categories are down, but Peter Liguori, President of Entertainment, is making development deals with prominent Latino Producers, which is expected will bring their numbers up again.