NBC may have the more colorful peacock logo, but heading into 2021, it appears CBS is all about adding color and diversity. This month the network made an array of announcement all geared toward addressing the issue of diversification.
First, CBS Television Studios announced a multi-year content partnership agreement with the NAACP. Under the deal, the two organizations will work together to develop and produce scripted, unscripted, and documentary projects aimed toward elevating a diverse range of voices as well as increasing the visibility of Black artists.
The deal includes a commitment to develop projects for CBS Television Network but also allows the selling of shows to outside entities.
“Programming and content have the power to shape perspectives and drive conversations around critical issues,” said Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP. “This partnership with CBS allows us to bring compelling and important content to a broad audience.”
Earlier this month, CBS Television Network committed to devote 25% of its script development budget to projects created or co-created by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) beginning with the 2021-2022 development season. In addition, the network is also setting a target to have a minimum of 40% BIPOC representation in their writers’ rooms also beginning in 2021-2022.
Finally, CBS introduced an initiative that ensures 50% of the casts of their non-scripted reality shows will be Black, Indigenous or People of Color, or BIPOC. CBS’ current slate of reality shows includes “Survivor,” “Big Brother” and “Love Island.”
“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,” George Cheeks, president and CEO for the CBS Entertainment Group, said in a statement.
Under former CEO Leslie Moonves, CBS had been frequently criticized for lagging behind competitors in terms of diversity and inclusion on both its broadcast network and in its executive ranks. Last year, former CBS executive Whitney Davis published a piece in Variety about the “White problem” at the company at large.