More Diversity in Television’s Fall Line-Up

(L-R) Kodjoe and Mbatha-Raw in "Undercovers" and Underwood as POTUS in "The Event"

Broadcast network’s season premieres begin this week! All avid television watchers are eagerly awaiting the return of their favorite shows and look forward to viewing new programming during the 8:00PM to 11:00PM timeslot. From commercials alone, one immediately notes an increase in the number of people of color in the spotlight. Given the critique that there are too few non-stereotypical roles for African-Americans, Latinos, and Asians, seeing more diversity in television is a welcomed and overdue change.

NBC, with its new and not-so-subtle “More Colorful” slogan, seems to be leading the broadcast network trend of featuring multicultural actors. Two of the network’s most highly advertised series premieres are The Event and Undercovers. The former stars Blair Underwood as the President of the United States who grapples with a cover-up during his administration. The latter features an African-American espionage duo: former model-turned-actor and Atlanta resident, Boris Kodjoe, and gorgeous American TV newcomer, Gugu Mbatha-Raw. NBC also livens its Fall line-up with Emmy award winner Jimmy Smits in Outlaw. Smits plays a Supreme Court justice who leaves the nation’s highest court to start his own private practice.

The shows mentioned above are simply some highlights of diversity in the new Fall programming. There are more shows on both broadcast and cable networks that deserve mention (e.g., see Mad Men post below). Despite this new trend, a question lingers in the air: do any of these new shows have staying power? Only time will tell whether networks decide to purchase more episodes or place these shows on the chopping block. Nonetheless, one certainly hopes increased diversity in television is not just a short-lived fad but rather a new standard of American television.


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