A seemingly annual debate--the eyes glaze just contemplating it all. That isn't entirely fair--I'm not a fan of most TV, and the idea of making mediocrity blacker just ain't my fight. But then, I'm also not trying to make a living in the business:
On the eve of Barack Obama's election last fall as the first African-American president, television seemed to be leaning toward a post-racial future. In October two prominent cable networks -- CNN and Comedy Central -- began new programs that featured black hosts, a development that was notable because so few current programs on cable or broadcast channels have minority leads.
Five months later both programs -- "Chocolate News," featuring David Alan Grier on Comedy Central, and "D. L. Hughley Breaks the News" on CNN -- have been discontinued. In addition, CW, the broadcast network that regularly features comedies with largely African-American casts, announced in February that it was renewing six popular series, but its two with mostly black performers -- "Everybody Hates Chris" and "The Game" -- were not among them. (The network says it is still deciding their fates.)
I'm surprised about D.L. Hughley show, given the whole Michael Steel thing. I've never seen Chocolate News. I'd be curious to measure the tenure of "Everybody Hates Chris" and "The Game" against other sitcoms. I loved "Girlfriends" but I never thought "The Game" was very good.
Could the "Rooney Rule" help here? In other words, I think it may be better to urge studio heads to talk to more people of color pitching pilots, as opposed to urging them to put more shows on. The emphasis, it seems, should be on process. One other thing--these stories always focus on black people, and this one in particular focuses--not on blacks on TV--but on series led by black people. How does it feel to be Latino or Asian-American and see this?
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