The Asian Pacific American Media Coalition (APAMC) has released its Report Card on Asian American Diversity in network television for the 2017-18 season. ABC received the highest overall grade (B), while Fox received an F.
The Report Card grades the four major television networks (ABC, Fox, CBS, and NBC) on their progress in achieving diversity and inclusion of Asian Americans on the air and behind the scenes. The overall grade for each network is based on their average performance in several categories.
According to a press release from APAMC, ABC received a B, CBS received a B-, NBC received a C, and Fox received an F. ABC received a higher grade, in part, due to the strength of its performance in the scripted talent category. The network has 24 Asian Pacific Islander regulars and 27 API recurring regulars. It has also shown a strong commitment to diversity through programs like a Creative Talent Session that is meant to update interested parties on the ABC’s diversity efforts and find new ways to better achieve diversity.
Fox received a low grade because of its failure to comply with certain it obligations it has under the Memoranda of Understanding, which outlined terms for increasing diversity. All four networks signed the Memoranda of Understanding with APAMC and several other national media coalitions. Fox also failed to provide APAMC with diversity data.
APAMC chair Daniel Mayeda, who spoke with AsAm News about the report card, says he is hopeful that Fox’s overall grade will improve.
“Once the new leadership at the new Fox network (with parts of the company having been sold to Disney) gets its act together and starts to grapple with its diversity and inclusion obligations, I hope we will see significant progress there, too,” Mayeda said in an email.
The report card found also that there has been a gradual, but inconsistent, increase in the number of Asian American actors/actresses, writers, producers, and directors. There also has been in an increase in the number of Asian Americans featured in unscripted roles, like television hosts or judges.
In the past few years, Asian American diversity on screen seems to have increased with the release of movies like Crazy Rich Asians. Mayeda believes, however, that is too early to claim that Asian Americans have “made it” in Hollywood.
“Yet, it would be premature to say that ‘APIs have made it in Hollywood,'” Mayeda said in an email. “Until we have several API-led projects, TV and film, every year–allowing some to fail, but still having Hollywood keep trying–we will not have made it.”
APAMC believes that continuing to push for diversity is important. Research has shown that movies and television shows featuring people of color often receive higher ratings and make more money.
The report card states that there have been some “bright spots” in the 2018-19 season, but also some missed opportunities. Their major concern moving forward is addressing the number of Asian American writers/producers that has fallen from 21 to 10.
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