ABC is going where no mainstream television network has gone before this coming television season.
It will feature a number of comedies with ethnically diverse casts. This is something communities of color have been yearning for for years. Television is largely one in which shows are dropped faster than a penny from the Leaning Tower of Pisa. If the shows bomb in the ratings, look for a quick exit. But if these programs strike ratings gold, expect more of these types of shows not only from ABC, but from the other networks as well.
ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee is betting that America is ready for shows which better represent the people that are watching them. Shows like Fresh off the Boat, a midseason replacement featuring an Asian American cast based on the memoir from celebrity chef and author Eddie Huang. There’s also Blackish,a show about an upper middle class African American family with the urge to assimilate, but with a father who wants the family to keep its black roots. Cristela stars Cristela Alonzo in the title role. She plays a sixth-year law student trying to strike a balance between her working class Hispanic family and the legal world she’s trying to embrace in her professional career.
“It is a mission statement to reflect America,” Paul Lee is quoted in Variety as saying. “In a way it’s not so much diversity as it is authenticity.”
How big of a risk are these shows for ABC? And as with other comedies, is there a danger the shows will reinforce stereotypes rather than break them?
ET takes a look at those issues in the clip below.