NEW YORK, NY – On Monday, television network CBS announced a pledge to promote diversity on their reality show line-up going forward, noting that all such shows – such as the ratings mega-hit “Survivor” – must now feature casts that are at least 50 percent people of color, reports say.
CBS’ decision that half of their reality show casts going forward will be what they referred to as Black, Indigenous or People of Color, or “BIPOC,” came about after network executives met with past black contestants from “Survivor” who claimed that they were discriminated against during their time on the program. The former contestants wanted to discuss ways to make CBS’ reality programming more “inclusive,” reports say.
Former “Survivor” contestant Jolanda Jones was quoted as saying during the meeting that the program was edited in such a way that it portrayed black competitors in the light of “systematic/systemic racism, implicit bias, and microaggressions.”
George Cheeks, president and CEO for the CBS Entertainment Group, said in a statement that the network is making strides in addressing diversity in their reality show casting.
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“The reality TV genre is an area that’s especially underrepresented, and needs to be more inclusive across development, casting, production and all phases of storytelling,” he said.
In addition to “Survivor,” the CBS diversity pledge will also apply to other reality programs such as “Big Brother” and “Love Island.” These diversity goals will apply to the 2021-22 broadcast season, reports say.
The network has also promised to diversify things behind the scenes as well, stating that their writing teams must be comprised of at least 40 percent of people of color going forward, with that number mandated to increase to 50 percent by the 2022-23 broadcast season. At least 25 percent of CBS’ development budget will now be allocated towards creators and producers of color as well.
The CBS diversity announcement falls on the heels of the news that residents in the company’s home state of California recently voted during the Nov. 3 elections not to reinstate an Affirmative Action program by a margin of 56 percent to 44 percent.