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Subject: "Hollywood Complains: Too Many Minorities are Getting Roles on TV" Previous topic | Next topic
nipsey
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Tue Mar-24-15 09:06 PM

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"Hollywood Complains: Too Many Minorities are Getting Roles on TV"


  

          

http://deadline.com/2015/03/tv-pilots-ethnic-casting-trend-backlash-1201386511/

Pilots 2015: The Year Of Ethnic Castings – About Time Or Too Much Of Good Thing?

by Nellie Andreeva
March 24, 2015 6:30pm


There was a noticeable shift toward ethnic castings last season with more parts opening up to minority actors. It was a concerted effort, with more than one instances where a family member role was rewritten as adopted to make them ethnic. Then, following the success of freshman series How To Get Away With Murder, Black-ish, Fresh Off The Boat and especially Empire, which launched to huge ratings at the kickoff of pilot casting season, ethnic castings exploded this season.

The change is welcome by talent agents who no longer have to call casting directors and ask them if they would possibly consider an ethnic actor for a part, knowing they would most likely be rejected. “I feel that the tide has turned — I can pitch any actor for any role, and I think that’s good,” one agent said.

But, as is the case with any sea change, the pendulum may have swung a bit too far in the opposite direction. Instead of opening the field for actors of any race to compete for any role in a color-blind manner, there has been a significant number of parts designated as ethnic this year, making them off-limits for Caucasian actors, some agents signal. Many pilot characters this year were listed as open to all ethnicities but when reps would call to inquire about an actor submission, they frequently have been told that only non-Caucasian actors would be considered. “Basically 50% of the roles in a pilot have to be ethnic, and the mandate goes all the way down to guest parts,” one talent representative said.

In one instance, after a number of actors of different ethnicities tested for two roles in a pilot this year, two Caucasian actors ended up being the top choices for the two remaining regular parts. However, because of a mandate from the studio and network, one of the roles had to diverse, so the pilot could only cast one of the top choices and pass on the other to fulfill the ethnic quota. “They need to say, the best man or woman wins,” one rep suggested.

Because of the sudden flood of roles for ethnic actors after years of suppressed opportunities for them, the talent pool of experienced minority performers — especially in the younger range — is pretty limited. That has led to a feeding frenzy, with a number of straight offers locking in ethnic talent before they could be snatched by another pilot.

This is not to say that there weren’t other hot commodities this pilot season — star names were in demand as usual, as were hot young guys and girls and occasional foreigners with that “sparkle.” But the big trend this pilot casting season was the huge spike in the number and prominence of roles that went to minority actors.

Some of it has been organic. Last year, the leads in Extant and How To Get Away With Murder, originally not written as black, became ethnic once stars of the caliber of Halle Berry and Viola Davis became interested. Such was the case with Jennifer Lopez and Eva Longoria, who both commanded on-air episodic orders from NBC when they committed to star in drama Shades Of Blue and comedy Telenovela, respectively, as well as Paula Patton, who lifted the cast-contingency off the ABC drama pilot Runner. (ABC and 20th TV cast Patten, who is black, knowing already that the male lead had been conceived as Hispanic. The role went to Adam Rodriguez.) That also was the case with meaty supporting roles on Fox’s Gotham last year, which went for Jada Pinkett Smith, and NBC drama pilot Endgame this time, landing Wesley Snipes.

Also not earmarked as ethnic was the lead in NBC pilot Strange Call, a remake of an Australian series, which went to Community‘s Danny Pudi. CBS tried for a year to cast its comedy pilot Taxi-22, a remake of a French Canadian series, until John Leguizamo signed on. And testing alongside actresses of different ethnicities, Natalie Martinez landed the lead in the NBC martial arts drama pilot Warrior.

Morris Chestnut Headshot (Final)But there were more broadcast drama pilots than ever whose leads had been designated as black this year. That includes Fox medical drama Rosewood, toplined by Morris Chestnut, and CBS civil rights crime drama For Justice, starring Anika Noni Rose. Uncle Buck was rebooted by ABC specifically as a black family sitcom, with Mike Epps in the title role once played by John Candy. NBC opted to make the lead couple in its drama about diverse couples Love Is A Four Letter Word black in picking up the pilot. (It had been originally conceived as Caucasian.) After a post-table read recasting of the female role, the two leads went to Cynthia McWilliams and Rockmond Dunbar.

There also have been a number of drama co-leads on which the networks chose to go ethnic this year, including Supergirl’s male lead, cast with Mehcad Brooks; one of the four female leads in ABC drama Broad Squad (Rutina Wesley); and the female lead in Minority Report (Meagan Good).

ABC, which has been in the forefront of the current wave of ethnic programming with freshmen Black-ish, Cristela and Fresh Off The Boat, is leading the pack again with two black family comedies, Uncle Buck and Delores & Jermaine starring comedian Jermaine Fowler and Whoopi Goldberg. The latter was based on the real-life experiences of comedian Fowler, as is ABC’s medical comedy Dr. Ken starring Ken Jeong. Additionally, NBC has Latino family magical drama The Curse Of The Fuentes Women with Hispanic lead cast, and CBS has the Rush Hour remake with black (Justin Hires) and Asian (Jon Foo) leads.

Uncle Buck and Love Is A Four Letter Word are among several projects where the original white protagonists have been changed to black this season. ABC’s medical drama pilot The Advocate was based on the story of former CAA agent Byrdie Lifson-Pompan and Dr. Valerie Ulene who launched a healthcare consulting company. While the real-life inspiration for the two central character are both Caucasian, the show cast them Policewomengraduates_1972with one white actress, Kim Raver, and one black, Joy Bryant.

As the photo of the 1972 graduation of the first 12-women class of the Boston Police Academy indicates, they appear to be all white, as were the members of the original Broad Squad, Rachel Keefe and Patricia Murphy, Boston’s first all-female patrol team. That is no surprise as non-Hispanic Whites constituted 80% of Boston’s population in 1970 vs. 16% blacks. While set in the 1970s, ABC’s drama pilot Broad Squad, inspired by the real-life events, has a lead cast more consistent with Boston’s current racial makeup of 45% white non-Hispanic and 27% black as one of its four female leads was written and cast as African American, Wesley.

A lot of what is happening right now is long overdue. The TV and film superhero ranks have been overly white for too long, workplace shows should be diverse to reflect workplace in real America, and ethnic actors should get a chance to play more than the proverbial best friend or boss.

But replacing one set of rigid rules with another by imposing a quota of ethnic talent on each show may not be the answer. Empire, Black-ish and Fresh Off The Boat have been breakouts because they represent worlds and points of view that were not on TV — a soapy hip hop dynasty, an upper class black family struggling with racial identity, and an immigrant Asian family trying to fit in.

HTGAWM-Viola-Davis.png.CROP.rtstoryvar-largeTelevision has been successful with shows that had both all-white (Friends, Seinfeld) and all-black (The Cosby Show) casts on the strength of their premise, execution and talent performances and chemistry. It is for the same reason that Scandal, HTGAWM and Empire have done so well with Kerry Washington, Davis and Taraji P. Henson as the respective leads.

Trying to duplicate those series’ success by mirroring the ethnicity of their leads is a dubious proposition — if that was the key, Undercovers, a slick drama with two appealing black leads, Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, should’ve been a hit.

While they are among the most veracious and loyal TV viewers, African Americans still represent only 13% of the U.S. population. They were grossly underserved, but now, between shows like Empire, Black-ish, Scandal and HTGAW on broadcast, Tyler Perry’s fare on OWN and Mara Brock Akil’s series on BET, they have scripted choices, so the growth in that fraction of the TV audience may have reached its peak.

As the broadcast networks are looking to add a number of new series targeting black viewers next fall, we will see if that viewership can further expand (Empire and Black-ish have managed to successfully to co-exist in the same time slot this midseason.) Since broadcast TV is a historically reactive business, that will determine whether the trend of ethnic casting will come back with a vengeance next season.

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Topic Outline
Subject Author Message Date ID
in a nutshell?
Mar 24th 2015
1
Michelle Rodriguez wept
Mar 24th 2015
2
They steal EVERYTHANG!!!!
Mar 24th 2015
6
how we gonna remake all these cop shootings without blk peepoe doe
Mar 24th 2015
3
i guess Empire and HTGAWM went too hard in the paint.
Mar 24th 2015
4
*shrug*
Mar 24th 2015
5
I want more Black people/POC behind the scenes too tho.
Mar 24th 2015
7
Co-sign on everything you typed.
Mar 25th 2015
26
***rewatches 2015 Academy Awards***
Mar 24th 2015
8
RE: ***watches 'Exodus: Gods and Crackas ***
Mar 25th 2015
20
The shows with white people just keep rehashing friends...
Mar 24th 2015
9
Yo. I hate every single show that has a studio audience.
Mar 26th 2015
30
Is this Hollywood's "white genocide" movement?
Mar 25th 2015
10
Deadline is becoming insanely right-wing.
Mar 25th 2015
11
I'll put this on the box for those complaining:
Mar 25th 2015
12
SOME GET SHONDA SOME VASELINE & TRACK SHOES (swipe)
Mar 25th 2015
13
RE: SOME GET SHONDA SOME VASELINE & TRACK SHOES (swipe)
Mar 25th 2015
15
Must be why the Oscars chasing down blk presenters & ran ads on BET
Mar 25th 2015
14
truth ^^
Mar 25th 2015
16
I mean. Most of these shows will never make air. That's just how TV goes...
Mar 25th 2015
21
It's true. White people just do NOT get a fair shake in the public forum...
Mar 25th 2015
17
"Non-Whites Go From Being Excluded From 70% of Roles to 50%. AHHHHH!"
Mar 25th 2015
18
Hollywood is run by whites-- white actors will be just fine.
Mar 25th 2015
19
White Democrats to be exact.
Apr 03rd 2015
37
      The coin is white supremacy it's sides are liberal and conservative
Apr 04th 2015
40
Hollywood’s Still Racist: Why the Deadline Piece Is Dangerous
Mar 25th 2015
22
This points out what I think is the likely terrible outcome
Mar 25th 2015
28
Those who complain about too many Black gays on TV are just as bad.
Mar 25th 2015
23
malik yoba broke this down a lil bit on brilliant idiots (link)
Mar 25th 2015
24
TWD killing off black characters left and right. Do temp jobs count?
Mar 25th 2015
25
Me: Oh cool, it's Chris. ...Oop. Nemind.
Mar 26th 2015
31
      Also, help me understand how roamers still have bite strength.
Mar 26th 2015
32
           the sun.
Mar 26th 2015
34
WHAT THE FUCK DOES "ETHNIC" MEAN?!
Mar 25th 2015
27
Non-white, non-black
Mar 26th 2015
33
Generally speaking, non-White.
Apr 03rd 2015
38
They are out of their motherfuckin minds
Mar 25th 2015
29
what they mean a shift?
Mar 26th 2015
35
Deadline’s Editor Finally Apologizes for ‘Ethnic Castings’ Articl...
Mar 30th 2015
36
Yeah, the head editor apologizes. The one who wrote the article
Apr 04th 2015
39

double negative
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Tue Mar-24-15 09:40 PM

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1. "in a nutshell?"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

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rdhull
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Tue Mar-24-15 09:47 PM

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2. "Michelle Rodriguez wept"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

  

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legsdiamond
Member since May 05th 2011
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Tue Mar-24-15 10:11 PM

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6. "They steal EVERYTHANG!!!!"
In response to Reply # 2


          

  

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zaire
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Tue Mar-24-15 09:50 PM

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3. "how we gonna remake all these cop shootings without blk peepoe doe"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

  

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BrooklynWHAT
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Tue Mar-24-15 09:54 PM

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4. "i guess Empire and HTGAWM went too hard in the paint."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

boo hoo minorities are in style again they cry.

goddamn we can't have nothing.

<--- Big Baller World Order

  

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bonitaapplebaum71481
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Tue Mar-24-15 09:58 PM

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5. "*shrug*"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

White Hollywood can be mad all they want, look at all the fucks I give!!

*twirls in fuck free air*



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no_i_cant_dance
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Tue Mar-24-15 11:24 PM

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7. "I want more Black people/POC behind the scenes too tho. "
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Like, this a cute start but don't stop w/ actors. More producers, directors, writers, costume designers, makeup artists, etc.

Also, enough w/ the term "ethnic" to describe non-whites as if white people have no ethnicity.

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NoDrawls McGraw
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26. "Co-sign on everything you typed."
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https://chriswind.bandcamp.com/track/massage

"You can take an African out of Africa, but you can't take Africa out of the African"
Afro-Americana/Afro-Caribbana/Afro-Latino unite. We are ALL Black!

  

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RexLongfellow
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8. "***rewatches 2015 Academy Awards***"
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looks in pocket, can't find a fuck to give

  

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Mr. ManC
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20. "RE: ***watches 'Exodus: Gods and Crackas ***"
In response to Reply # 8


  

          

They'll live.

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ndibs
Member since Aug 06th 2012
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Tue Mar-24-15 11:34 PM

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9. "The shows with white people just keep rehashing friends..."
In response to Reply # 0


          

Let's put an unrealistically attractive group of white 20-30 somethings together and have then be cute and live unrealistic lifestyles and tell not particularly funny jokes about nothing.

  

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Doronmonkflake
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30. "Yo. I hate every single show that has a studio audience."
In response to Reply # 9


  

          

And they all fit this description.

Have you ever seen Big Bang Theory without the laugh track?

It sounds like Dennis Miller raised a scout troop.

Da bayball, babeh. (c) Charlie Kelly.

  

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Kira
Member since Nov 14th 2004
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Wed Mar-25-15 01:10 AM

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10. "Is this Hollywood's "white genocide" movement?"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Can someone bring back Pre-2009 status quo? This trend of white males suddenly feeling threatened is appalling. This article, white genocide, and the tea party movement are examples of people not accepting the time we live in.

  

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Frank Longo
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11. "Deadline is becoming insanely right-wing."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

They also wrote negatively about Selma's politics, if I recall.

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b.Touch
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Wed Mar-25-15 03:22 AM

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12. "I'll put this on the box for those complaining:"
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybSzMyHymDo

  

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b.Touch
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13. "SOME GET SHONDA SOME VASELINE & TRACK SHOES (swipe)"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

http://www.thewrap.com/shonda-rhimes-blasts-deadline-diversity-article-as-ignorant-twitter-outraged/

Shonda Rhimes Blasts Deadline Diversity Article as ‘Ignorant,’ Twitter Outraged
MEDIA | By Debbie Emery on March 24, 2015 @ 10:25 pm

Article on pilot season says that too many white roles are being changed for actors of color. Twitter says: WTF?

Television powerhouse producer Shonda Rhimes blasted an article posted on Deadline Tuesday, saying television casting has become too ethnically diverse this season, calling the piece by Nellie Andreeva “ignorant.”

“1st Reaction:: HELL NO. Lemme take off my earrings, somebody hold my purse! 2nd Reaction: Article is so ignorant I can’t even be bothered,” tweeted Rhimes, creator of “Scandal,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “How to Get Away With Murder.”

The article, which went up Tuesday evening, quickly drew a wave of criticism and caused Deadline to trend on Twitter for several hours, for suggesting that after years of too-few roles for actors of color in Hollywood, “the pendulum might have swung a bit too far in the opposite direction.” It stated:

Instead of opening the field for actors of any race to compete for any role in a color-blind manner, there has been a significant number of parts designated as ethnic this year, making them off-limits for Caucasian actors, some agents signal. Many pilot characters this year were listed as open to all ethnicities, but when reps would call to inquire about an actor submission, they frequently have been told that only non-Caucasian actors would be considered. “Basically 50% of the roles in a pilot have to be ethnic, and the mandate goes all the way down to guest parts,” one talent representative said.

The article also noted:

While they are among the most voracious and loyal TV viewers, African-Americans still represent only 13% of the U.S. population. They were grossly underserved, but now, with shows as Empire, Black-ish, Scandal and HTGAWM on broadcast, Tyler Perry’s fare on OWN and Mara Brock Akil’s series on BET, they have scripted choices, so the growth in that fraction of the TV audience might have reached its peak.

Ava DuVernay, the African-American director of “Selma,” RT’ed Rhimes’ remark, as did more than 600 people, who found absurd the notion that Hollywood was now overcompensating by becoming too diverse.

Numerous television industry journalists commented negatively on the piece, including The New Yorker’s Emily Nussbaum, who called it “the grossest possible reaction to a breakthrough TV year.” Dave Itzkoff, who frequently writes for The New York Times, tweeted: “Just astounding that something so tone deaf could be published in 2015 by a supposedly credible news source.” Meanwhile The Huffington Post tv critic Mo Ryan wrote: “Horrible Deadline article, you’ve left me no choice. I must go FULL FACEPALM, from ALL of Star Trek! Happy now??! “

Nellie Andreeva did not immediately respond to TheWrap‘s request for comment.

(see article links for sampling of tweets)









  

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murph71
Member since Sep 15th 2005
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15. "RE: SOME GET SHONDA SOME VASELINE & TRACK SHOES (swipe)"
In response to Reply # 13


          



Even more backlash.....Hollywood Reporter......The Tweets and Buzzfeed quotes got me rolling.

Best Middle Finger quote..."White People No Longer Automatically Considered Default Casting Choice, Makes Me Nervous" and "HEADLINE: TV Protagonists To Now Reflect Actual Demographics Of Audiences, But Whew We Still Got Movies Y'all."

----


Shonda Rhimes Blasts "Ignorant" Article Questioning "Ethnic Castings"
11:19 PM PDT 3/24/2015 by Lesley Goldberg


An article from a trade publication has come under fire for questioning if networks have overcompensated on minority leads.

A column about pilot season's "ethnic castings" from a trade publication caused a stir Tuesday night over claims that white actors are being short-changed by TV's increasing diversity push.
Recommended

Grey's Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder executive producer Shonda Rhimes was among those who blasted the controversial Deadline column "Pilots 2015: The Year Of Ethnic Castings – About Time Or Too Much Of Good Thing?" and called the story "ignorant."

Read more TV Pilot Season's Big Get: Diversity

"1st Reaction:: HELL NO. Lemme take off my earrings, somebody hold my purse! 2nd Reaction: Article is so ignorant I can't even be bothered," Rhimes tweeted.

In the commentary, which was tagged "controversial," writer Nellie Andreeva notes the crush of diverse castings this pilot season but goes on to quote anonymous insiders bemoaning the lack of parts available to white actors.

Diversity has been one of, if not the biggest trend of the current 2014-15 broadcast season following the break-out success of series including Rhimes' How to Get Away With Murder as well as Fox's Empire, ABC's Black-ish and Fresh Off the Boat — all of which star diverse leads. That has carried over into pilot season, where diversity has continued to be a high priority among the broadcast networks with a notable increase in parts that better reflect society as well as the concepts of several dramas and comedies including ABC's Uncle Buck remake, which now focuses on an all-black family.

"Hey look the grossest possible reaction to a breakthrough TV year," critic Emily Nussbaum of The New Yorker wrote.

"Just astounding that something so tone deaf could be published in 2015 by a supposedly credible news source," The New York Times' Dave Itzkoff tweeted with a link to the Deadline story.

"So hard out there for white actors these days! I'm sobbing!" BuzzFeed's Kate Aurthur added, singling out a particular passage that questioned if the "pendulum may have swung a bit too far in the opposite direction" followed by a blind quote from an unnamed talent representative complaining that half the roles in pilots "have to be ethnic."

"TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING? I mean...I just...AND HOW MANY TIMES CAN WE SAY ETHNIC IN ONE GODDAMNED ARTICLE, NELLIE?" Grey's Anatomy star Jerrika Hinton wrote, later adding a few edits to the column's headline: "HEADLINE: White People No Longer Automatically Considered Default Casting Choice, Makes Me Nervous" and "HEADLINE: TV Protagonists To Now Reflect Actual Demographics Of Audiences, But Whew We Still Got Movies Y'all."

"What troubles me is the decision-makers in Hollywood who will read that @Deadline tripe about black actors in television and say, "Exactly."" The New Republic's Jamil Smith added.
"Initiate Phase 4 of #OperationWhitelash. The unresearched, anonymously sourced "Ethnic Epidemic" expose." Community's Dan Harmon said.

Noted Selma director Ava DuVernay, whose CBS pilot For Justice, also features a largely diverse cast: "What @KateAurthur @ditzkoff @JamilSmith @MattFnWallace @moryan @szacharek said. And I'll add an eye roll for good measure."

Read more 30 of Shonda Rhimes' Stars Respond to New York Times' "Angry Black Woman" Column

Rhimes is no stranger to responding to racially insensitive press. In September, New York Times’ television critic Alessandra Stanley ran a now infamous essay about the Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy creator, which featured a series of tone-deaf assertions including: “When Shonda Rhimes writers her autobiography, it should be called ‘How to Get Away with Being an Angry Black Woman.’ ”

In an interview days later, Rhimes told The Hollywood Reporter of the article, "In this world in which we all feel we're so full of gender equality and we're a postracial and Obama is president, it's a very good reminder to see the casual racial bias and odd misogyny from a woman written in a paper that we all think of as being so liberal.”

Andreeva did not respond to an email requesting comment on the backlash to the article.

GOAT of his era......long live Prince.....God is alive....

  

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Riot
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Wed Mar-25-15 05:56 AM

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14. "Must be why the Oscars chasing down blk presenters & ran ads on BET"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Never mind that study last month
done by "Hollywood" themselves that this author should be aware of, that showed more diverse casts get better ratings

Or that hey, white ppl, who been buying blk ppls music for 80 yrs, might actually watch the ethnics on tv. It's not all about our 13%.


Also, 6months-1 yr from now, many of those "ethnic" pilots will fail, many of those shows will get cancelled. And that will mean nothing in the grand scheme & just puts them in the graveyard next to thousands of white shows that fail over the years. & every year.
But be ready for the 'was deadline right?' Smug overreaction piece to their original smug overreaction piece



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SoWhat
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16. "truth ^^"
In response to Reply # 14


  

          

fuck you.

  

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b.Touch
Member since Jun 28th 2011
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Wed Mar-25-15 08:53 AM

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21. "I mean. Most of these shows will never make air. That's just how TV goes..."
In response to Reply # 14


  

          

  

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T Reynolds
Member since Apr 16th 2007
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Wed Mar-25-15 07:57 AM

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17. "It's true. White people just do NOT get a fair shake in the public forum..."
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KosherSam
Member since Mar 18th 2004
70131 posts
Wed Mar-25-15 08:13 AM

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18. ""Non-Whites Go From Being Excluded From 70% of Roles to 50%. AHHHHH!""
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THE REVOLUTION IS HERE!!!!!!

*Jews you*

"this is okp tho, reading is completely optional" (c) desus

Proceed with caution. I am overtly racist.

<-- In Pigpen we trust

  

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Atillah Moor
Member since Sep 05th 2013
13825 posts
Wed Mar-25-15 08:19 AM

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19. "Hollywood is run by whites-- white actors will be just fine."
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______________________________________

Everything looks like Oprah kissing Harvey Weinstein these days

  

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Shaun Tha Don
Member since Nov 19th 2005
18107 posts
Fri Apr-03-15 04:55 PM

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37. "White Democrats to be exact."
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Rest In Peace, Bad News Brown

  

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Atillah Moor
Member since Sep 05th 2013
13825 posts
Sat Apr-04-15 08:45 AM

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40. "The coin is white supremacy it's sides are liberal and conservative "
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______________________________________

Everything looks like Oprah kissing Harvey Weinstein these days

  

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nipsey
Charter member
9905 posts
Wed Mar-25-15 02:00 PM

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22. "Hollywood’s Still Racist: Why the Deadline Piece Is Dangerous"
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http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/03/25/hollywood-s-still-racist-why-the-deadline-ethnic-casting-piece-is-dangerous.html


TV IN COLOR
03.25.15

Hollywood’s Still Racist: Why the Deadline ‘Ethnic Casting’ Piece Is Dangerous

A story alleging that the rise in diversity on TV is “too much of a good thing” is properly ruffling feathers. But it reveals a sad truth: Hollywood may never get over its racism.

When Deadline posted its deplorably tone deaf, borderline racist (in that there was once a border somewhere, and Deadline has long since crossed that line) story titled “Pilots 2015: The Year of Ethnic Castings—About Time or Too Much of A Good Thing?,” it tagged it “Controversial” on its website

But Shonda Rhimes had another tag for the article: “ignorant.” Amid a Twitter mob wielding 140-characer pitchforks berating the article Tuesday night, St. Shonda tweeted her own, what has become definitive, reaction. “1st Reaction: HELL NO. Lemme take off my earrings, somebody hold my purse! 2nd Reaction: Article is so ignorant I can’t even be bothered.”

Unlike, Shonda, we’re no saint. Yes, the article is ignorant. Yes, it’s clickbait. Yes, the instant outrage surrounding its content may be encouraging enough to counteract any malice the piece might have caused. But we’re still bothered. And you should be, too, because the sad truth is that Hollywood execs may not be.

Here’s the rub: this has been a breakthrough, groundbreaking, year in TV—which is sad enough as it is. “Finally!” moments are gratifying and glorious, but they’re also depressing. They mean that far too much time has passed with injustice as the norm. What the Deadline article suggests is the grossest possible reaction to such a moment. It’s dangerous, even.

Why? The New Republic’s Jamil Smith says it best: “What troubles me is the decision-makers in Hollywood who will read that Deadline tripe about black actors in television and say, ‘Exactly.’”

“Too white.” That’s the thing we should be focusing on. Not “too black.” Not “too ethnic.” Not “too much of a good thing.”

The message of the Deadline piece embodies the worst kind of implicit racism. It’s a permissive kind of racism, the kind that whispers a problematic idea in a cautious way that allows others who share that idea, but have been too afraid to speak out, to agree: “I know, right?” This whispered idea suddenly becomes a loud one. In this case, it’s a loud idea that we should have been deaf to a long time ago, and it’s scary to think that people in positions of power might still be listening.

The first swing in the article makes good contact with an encouraging point. Thanks to the success of freshman shows like How to Get Away With Murder, Empire, Jane the Virgin, and Fresh Off the Boat, casting directors are considering a more diverse array of actors than ever for parts that would traditionally—because Hollywood has long been terrible—always go to Caucasian actors. A casting director says, “I feel that the tide has turned. I can pitch any actor for any role, and I think that’s good.”

Fool, that’s not good. That’s freaking great. Freaking despicable/terrible/awful/horrific/catastrophic/insane is the next line in the piece: “But, as is the case with any sea change, the pendulum might have swung a bit too far in the opposite direction.” This is the crux of the argument, and the thing that Shonda Rhimes, Twitter, me, and, hopefully, you are so upset about— the idea that in a race to capitalize on the popularity of a handful of series featuring diverse casts, networks are going overboard with diversity at the expense of Caucasian actors. That poor, constantly ignored group in Hollywood: the whites.

The idea that embracing diversity will somehow be harmful to a tradition of white people on TV is laughable, and baffling. There will never be a day that a white person turns on a TV and does not see him or herself represented. No, that’s a reality that ethnic communities have suffered through for decades and is now—thanks to a small group of television shows—only being marginally remedied. There’s an icky “there goes the neighborhood” vibe to all this, perfectly captured by HitFix’s Louis Virtel: “Congrats to Deadline for their article I Just Have a Bad Feeling About Those Two New Black Families in Town.”

The popularity of Empire and Fresh Off the Boat and black-ish have illuminated the entertainment industry. They explicitly appeal to audiences that have been egregiously underrepresented on TV, and reap the benefits of that in ratings. They prove that mainstream audiences (read: “white people”) will embrace stories that reflect the lives of other cultures, and that those stories don’t have to be stripped of their cultural specificity in order to be embraced. These shows are having inside conversations, and outside audiences are responding to them.

Now, here is where I think Deadline may have been trying to make a decent point. There’s a horrible tendency in TV to copycat what’s working. Is a TV show on that network a hit? Let’s make our less good version of it over here. As storied as its racism is Hollywood’s risk-averse unoriginality, which is why on a given year you’ll see a spate of Friends copycats (it worked for NBC!), Homeland rip-offs (people love that CIA stuff!), or zombie nonsense (The Walking Dead is huge!).

What we should be fearful of is that we may soon see a flurry of shoddily conceived, unengaging versions of Empire all across to TV. We shouldn’t want that, because we shouldn’t want bad TV. That would be a reactionary effect of Empire’s success in an industry that is notoriously reactionary, to a fault.

It’s the proactive effect of Empire’s success that we shouldn’t be afraid of. We shouldn’t be confused or startled that executives are demanding more diversity on their networks. We should encourage it. Sure, tokenism is terrible and nobody wants that. But that’s not what’s happening here. It’s not going to be the case that undeserving actors are going to be cast in roles just because of their race. As Shonda Rhimes’s series have long proven, there is a large group of talented minority actors waiting for their moments.

Just as there’s been no shortage of white blonde girls to play parts on TV all these years, there’s no shortage of minority actors to play them now.
150131-beale-fresh-off-the-boat-teaseABC's "Fresh Off the Boat." (Bob D'Amico/ABC)

Creating change is an active behavior. Are characters going to have to be retooled occasionally, as the Deadline piece suggests, in order for it to make sense for them to be cast with ethnic actors? Yes. This is not a bad thing. It is a necessary thing.

As so many people spoke out about after the Selma snubs and the #OscarsSoWhite Academy Awards controversy, diversifying Hollywood is going to take purposeful, intentioned effort. It will not happen naturally. It will require giving minority voices control—putting them in the director’s chair and producing their TV series—and it will require sometimes thinking, “Hey, could this role we were going to give to that girl from How I Met Your Mother be played by a black actress? Yes? Let’s do that. The cast is too white.”

“Too white.” That’s the thing we should be focusing on. Not “too black.” Not “too ethnic.” Not “too much of a good thing.”

Perhaps this case and the case of Alessandra Stanley, the New York Times critic who was raked through the coals (which were deservedly hot, if you ask me) for her piece alleging that Shonda Rhimes and Viola Davis’s character in How to Get Away With Murder were both “angry black women,” spotlights just how much training we all still require to talk about race—and race in Hollywood, specifically—intelligently. Or at least without coming off as racist goddamned idiots.

Even when a series like Empire becomes a big hit, we can’t help ourselves from fretting over whether it perpetuates stereotypes. When Fresh Off the Boat gets made, we worry that it’s not using its platform responsibly, that it’s not portraying the full spectrum of the Asian American community.

What we’re consistently not getting is that visibility is the thing, why there’s no such thing as “too much” ethnic casting. Visibility is what will eventually get us to stop thinking in stereotypes. It’s what will make us stop reducing Shonda Rhimes’s powerful characters to “angry black women.” It’s what will stop people from wondering whether a rise in ethnic casting is a version of tokenism or affirmative action, and not simply a conscious effort to make television finally mirror real life.

With visibility comes normalization. With normalization comes nuance. And with nuance comes, we can only hope, an end to controversial stories like this. Because when all that work is done, “ethnic casting” won’t be a phrase that exists or a phenomenon worth writing about. It will be an instinct, as it always should’ve been in the first place.

____________________________________
Podcast Now on iTunes and Google:
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Twitter: @nipsey @JTTOUPodcast

Last 3 things I watched:

Brooklyn 99 Season 8: B
Nine Perfect Strangers Season 1: C+
Clickbait C-

  

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Buddy_Gilapagos
Charter member
46291 posts
Wed Mar-25-15 09:34 PM

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28. "This points out what I think is the likely terrible outcome"
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What we should be fearful of is that we may soon see a flurry of shoddily conceived, unengaging versions of Empire all across to TV. We shouldn’t want that, because we shouldn’t want bad TV. That would be a reactionary effect of Empire’s success in an industry that is notoriously reactionary, to a fault.



There will be a bunch of shitty shows. Then there will be a backlash to those shows, and the networks will comeback with whiter than previous shows.


**********
"Everyone has a plan until you punch them in the face. Then they don't have a plan anymore." (c) Mike Tyson


"One of the most important things in life is what Judge Learned Hand described as 'that ever-gnawing inner doubt as to whether you're

  

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Goldmind
Member since Oct 28th 2004
27522 posts
Wed Mar-25-15 02:07 PM

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23. "Those who complain about too many Black gays on TV are just as bad."
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This new wave of inclusion is bringing the bigots out where we can see 'em. I love it.

  

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now or never
Member since Oct 27th 2004
3821 posts
Wed Mar-25-15 04:28 PM

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24. "malik yoba broke this down a lil bit on brilliant idiots (link)"
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at about 1.03.15
https://soundcloud.com/thebrilliantidiots/chattypatty-w-malik-yoba

-----
No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public. (c) HL Mencken or some other motherfucker.

  

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SuiteLady
Member since Oct 19th 2004
15451 posts
Wed Mar-25-15 04:32 PM

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25. "TWD killing off black characters left and right. Do temp jobs count?"
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♥ Inescapably Me ♥

"Love is never any better than the lover" Toni Morrison (The Bluest Eye)

  

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Doronmonkflake
Member since Jan 10th 2007
11078 posts
Thu Mar-26-15 01:24 AM

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31. "Me: Oh cool, it's Chris. ...Oop. Nemind."
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Da bayball, babeh. (c) Charlie Kelly.

  

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Doronmonkflake
Member since Jan 10th 2007
11078 posts
Thu Mar-26-15 01:26 AM

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32. "Also, help me understand how roamers still have bite strength."
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Like elderly people don't have bite strength. Even with a heartbeat. So how is this necrotic tissue providing bone-sundering force?

They should be much less of a threat. Just sayin.

Da bayball, babeh. (c) Charlie Kelly.

  

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rdhull
Charter member
32433 posts
Thu Mar-26-15 09:57 AM

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34. "the sun."
In response to Reply # 32


  

          

>Like elderly people don't have bite strength. Even with a
>heartbeat. So how is this necrotic tissue providing
>bone-sundering force?
>
>They should be much less of a threat. Just sayin.

  

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GameTheory
Member since Jun 06th 2012
1642 posts
Wed Mar-25-15 08:39 PM

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27. "WHAT THE FUCK DOES "ETHNIC" MEAN?!"
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Mannnnnnnnnnnn

  

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8-bit
Member since Jan 12th 2010
10841 posts
Thu Mar-26-15 09:56 AM

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33. "Non-white, non-black"
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I've yet to hear a Black person refer to themselves as "ethnic"

---
http://twitter.com/logicalhood
http://instagram.com/hoodlogic

  

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Shaun Tha Don
Member since Nov 19th 2005
18107 posts
Fri Apr-03-15 09:37 PM

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38. "Generally speaking, non-White. "
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And that includes non-American Blacks.

Rest In Peace, Bad News Brown

  

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Krispee
Member since May 23rd 2010
3811 posts
Wed Mar-25-15 09:41 PM

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29. "They are out of their motherfuckin minds"
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...hey Boner

  

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mistermaxxx08
Member since Dec 31st 2010
16076 posts
Thu Mar-26-15 02:06 PM

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35. "what they mean a shift?"
In response to Reply # 0


          

ain't been nothing but a slow move at a time with given out roles and they act they are doing black folks a favor? Hollywood always and always will be racist and they can't help it.

mistermaxxx R.Kelly, Michael Jackson,Stevie wonder,Rick James,Marvin Gaye,El Debarge, Barry WHite Lionel RIchie,Isleys EWF,Lady T.,Kid creole and coconuts,the crusaders,kc sunshine band,bee gees,jW,sd,NE,JB

Miami Heat, New York Yankees,buffalo bills

  

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nipsey
Charter member
9905 posts
Mon Mar-30-15 11:12 AM

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36. " Deadline’s Editor Finally Apologizes for ‘Ethnic Castings’ Articl..."
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http://www.vulture.com/2015/03/deadline-ethnic-casting-story-apology.html


Deadline’s Editor Finally Apologizes for That Awful ‘Ethnic Castings’ Article

By Dee Lockett Follow @Dee_Lockett

It's about time.

Five days after Deadline ran a publicly ridiculed piece about whether or not "ethnic castings" in Hollywood were becoming "too much of a good thing," the site's editor has issued a formal apology. Mike Fleming Jr., in a Sunday column, wrote:

My co-editor-in-chief Nellie Andreeva’s goal was to convey that there was such an uptick of TV pilot casting of people of color that it pinched white actors who’ve historically gotten most of the jobs, and to question if this could last if it was being treated as a fad. All this was undermined by that headline (which we changed after the fact) and a repetition of the word "ethnic" that came off cold and insensitive.

The only appropriate way to view racial diversity in casting is to see it as a wonderful thing, and to hope that Hollywood continues to make room for people of color. The missteps were dealt with internally; we will do our best to make sure that kind of insensitivity doesn’t surface again here. As co-editors in chief, Nellie and I apologize deeply and sincerely to those who’ve been hurt by this. There is no excuse. It is important to us that Deadline readers know we understand why you felt betrayed, and that our hearts are heavy with regret. We will move forward determined to do better.

Despite the controversy and regret over the story's original headline (which has since been tweaked to "Pilots 2015: The Year of Ethnic Castings"), Fleming says he never considered taking it down. "I don’t believe you can can make an unwise story disappear and pretend it didn’t happen," he wrote. "We decided to face the consequences and take our lumps." Maybe next time Fleming will address the piece's insensitivity to nonwhites beyond the headline, too.

____________________________________
Podcast Now on iTunes and Google:
http://tinyurl.com/JTTOU-iTunesSubscribe
Twitter: @nipsey @JTTOUPodcast

Last 3 things I watched:

Brooklyn 99 Season 8: B
Nine Perfect Strangers Season 1: C+
Clickbait C-

  

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b.Touch
Member since Jun 28th 2011
20514 posts
Sat Apr-04-15 05:55 AM

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39. "Yeah, the head editor apologizes. The one who wrote the article"
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said nothing.

Plus, if you read the apology, it was long-winded and mean-spirited, trying to justify the original article and then being sorry for those who were offended by it. That sort of a thing.

  

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