America Ferrera Talks Today’s TV Diversity: ‘Progress Gets Made in These Individual Steps’

TCA 2016: “Superstore’s” Amy was actually the first role she received that wasn’t written specifically for a Latina

NBC’s America Ferrera comedy “Superstore” has a more diverse cast than we’re used to seeing on traditional TV, a push that competitor ABC has successfully employed with its newest sitcoms.

During Wednesday’s Television Critics Association press junket, a reporter asked all involved if purposeful diversity was a “driving concept” of the “Superstore” writing and casting process. It wasn’t, Executive Producer Justin Spritzer replied — though he’s plenty happy that it worked out this way. Ferrera, a Latina of “Ugly Betty” fame, was even more excited than he was about it.

Her first reaction when she joined the show: “Like, ‘Oh wow, they’re not casting all white people,'” the actress remembered thinking.

Ferrera said that even before the ensemble was set, she was “so taken by this script not being written with the characters’ ethnicities predetermined.”

As a matter of fact, the starring role of Amy was actually the first one Ferrera ever landed that was not explicitly planned for a Latina actress, which she agreed was a “sign of progress” — a phrase posed by a second journalist.

“Progress gets made in these individual steps,” Ferrara explained. “People are hungry to see stories like this [and the push is] not necessarily to check these ‘diversity’ boxes.”

Her colleague Colton Dunn, who plays the wheelchair-bound Garrett, was eager to concur.

“The anomaly isn’t diversity, the anomaly is when it’s not diverse,” the African-American actor said of the real world. “I went to Best Buy yesterday — it was DIVERSE.”

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