TV Chiefs Want More Diverse Showrunners – ‘Latinos In Particular,’ Says ABC Boss

TV Chiefs Want More Diverse Showrunners – 'Latinos In Particular,' Says ABC Boss

Paul Lee says diversity is “good for business … and the right thing to do.”

Top executives at ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC said they want much more diversity in the people who run their shows — and said what they're doing to get there.

Paul Lee, ABC's entertainment group president, is proud of the diversity in broadcast television, he said at Thursday's National Hispanic Media Coalition MediaCon in Burbank. But he said networks need to do more.

Also read: Victoria Rowell Slams ‘Young and the Restless’ Over Lack of Diversity: Not One Black Executive Producer

“If you do not reflect the face of America, you will not get the ratings,” Lee said. “Anyone who says you cannot have a Latino lead or an African-American lead is now proven wrong.”

“We do not have enough showrunners, Latino in particular,” he added. “We're getting there and we've certainly got a lot of developments in this particular cycle, but it has lagged behind what we're doing onscreen.”

Jennifer Salke, NBC's Entertainment President, said one solution is pairing established showrunners with talented up-and-comers of color. “It feels like there are marriages to be made,” she said. “We just have to keep trying to orchestrate them ourselves, because they don't just happen naturally.”

CBS entertainment chairman Nina Tassler and Fox Broadcasting chief operating officer Joe Earley rounded out the panel, which was moderated by NHMC president Alex Nogales.

See video: Lorde Parody Mocks Hollywood's Typecasting of Women of Color 

Tassler, who is half Puerto Rican, said behind-the scenes diversity must start with open dialogue. “If there are those showrunners who don't necessarily know how to have the conversation to bring in more people of color, maybe they don't know how to articulate it. (We) have to say, ‘Let's talk to each other about how we can do this better.'”

Earley pointed to Fox's annual Writers Intensive program and “Seizing Opportunities” symposium as steps in the right direction. Earley said women producers, directors and writers are “woefully underrepresented” as well.

“In order to be organic, you have to have a diverse group of people,” he said. “Diversity doesn't have to mean remedial. It shouldn't just be interns, assistants and writing assistants.”

  • Trayvon

    Pandering to Latino market iis already ridiculous on TV

    • MarkJeffries

      And you are a racist.

      • Vince

        I cant see how that comment is racist. What is racist is this new process. How bout when samples are submitted, writer names are deleted, that way decisions are made based on talent (ahhh god forbid) and not background or gender…

        • juicifruit89

          You do not know much about the entertainment industry if you think the most talented people (rather than the person with the best networking abilities) are currently designated as the showrunners.

      • CrosbyTee

        Are you a troll?

  • enlightened

    Finally….the doors are opening for a Latina writer, director, producer like myself:) Thank You!:)

    • Sauerkraut

      Its too bad your work wasn't good enough to stand on its own merits.

      • juicifruit89

        Her work could be excellent. It's people like you that assume that a White writer's work is somehow always best or based on merit that prevents interesting stories from being told. Currently, most shows (and movies!) are warmed-up and rehashed due to a lack of imagination and vanilla, dull storytelling. I welcome other's work to see if they can do a better job.