CBS Has New Rule for Reality Shows

At least half of participants will be people of color
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 10, 2020 11:20 AM CST
CBS Has New Rule for Reality Shows
This publicity image released by CBS shows the cast of "Big Brother 13" in Los Angeles. That season aired in 2011.   (AP Photo/CBS, Cliff Lipson)

People of ethnic minorities will make up at least half of cast members of CBS reality shows for the 2021-22 season. Or as the Los Angeles Times puts it, "CBS' reality programming is about to get a little bit more real." The network announced a commitment to 50% representation of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) in next season's unscripted series—including Survivor, Big Brother, The Amazing Race, and Love Island—on Monday. It also said at least 25% of its annual unscripted development budget would go to projects created in part by BIPOC producers and that it planned to expand diversity in creative and production teams responsible for unscripted series in the future. Deadline reports the targets are "similar to its scripted quotas."

George Cheeks, president and CEO of the CBS Entertainment Group, says these are
"important first steps" as reality TV is "especially underrepresented, and needs to be more inclusive across development, casting, production and all phases of storytelling." The Times separately reports that Big Brother has typically had mostly white casts over the years, prompting complaints of bullying by Black participants. Last season, contestant Kemi Fakunle spoke out about racism and abuse from fellow houseguests. But adding more people of color to casts won't necessarily fix problems like this unless race is dealt with in a meaningful way, Kristen Warner, a professor film and media studies at the University of Alabama, tells the Times. (More CBS stories.)

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