15 JUL 2020

CBS REVEALS DIVERSITY PLAN, COMMITS 25% OF DEVELOPMENT BUDGET TO BIPOC

The network, previously accused of lacking diversity and inclusion, will also ensure that atleast 40% of its writers are Black, indigenous, or people of color by the 2021-22 broadcast season, with a goal to increment diversity 50% the following season.

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CBS announced its plans to devote 25% of its script development budget to projects created, co-created, or produced by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), effective during the 2021-2022 season. The network also plans for 40% of its writers to be Black, indigenous, or people of color by the 2021-22 broadcast season. “While steady progress has been made in recent years both in front of and behind the camera, change needs to happen faster, especially with creators and leadership roles on the shows,” said George Cheeks, President, and Chief Executive of CBS Entertainment Group, in the statement.

The initiative forms part of the movement to “more accurately reflect diversity both on-screen and behind-the-camera,” CBS said in a statement. The goal is to increment diversity 50% the following season. The network has also committed to hiring additional BIPOC writers on some of their series for the upcoming 2020-2021 season.

The move is inspired by recent massive protests relating to the death of George Floyd at the hand of Minneapolis police officers. CBS attracted attention four years ago afters viewers pointed out a lack of diversity and female-driven projects during the 2016-17 season. Under former CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, the company was consistently lagging diversity and inclusion on both its broadcast network and in its executive ranks. 

Out of CBS' eight new series four years ago, only "Doubt" was female-driven and only one, "Training Day" featured a black lead, with newcomer Justin Cornwell having starred opposite Bill Paxton. The network has since diversified its programming and current scripted lineup features, such as “All Rise,” “Evil,” “Bob Hearts Abishola” and “Magnum P.I.,” and more. 

While steady progress has been made in recent years both in front of and behind the camera, change needs to happen faster, especially with creators and leadership roles on the shows.” George Cheeks President and Chief Executive, CBS Entertainment Group

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