LOS ANGELES (AP) — Television fare that reflects the nation’s increasing racial and ethnic diversity is finding favor with industry gatekeepers and viewers, according to a study of the 2019-20 TV season released Tuesday.
Despite the pandemic that stymied Hollywood production, there were varying measures of growth in the hiring of people of color — and women — in on- and off-camera jobs, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, said in the report.
In return, audience enthusiasm for shows such as creator-star Issa Rae’s “Insecure” and the miniseries “Watchmen” with Emmy-winning actor Regina King proved that inclusion pays business as well as social dividends, said Darnell Hunt, dean of the school’s social sciences division.
The report’s biggest takeaway is “the mounting evidence for how important diversity is to today’s audience,” Hunt said in an interview. He co-wrote the annual report with Ana-Christina Ramón, a UCLA social sciences research director.
Across streaming, cable and broadcast platforms, viewership among adults age 18 to 49 peaked in many cases when a show had a “majority-minority cast,” Hunt said.
That conforms to the changing United States. In 2010, four years before UCLA issued its first report on Hollywood’s diversity record, whites represented 63.7% of the population. In 2020, that Census figure was just under 58%, the lowest on record.