Most people prefer to watch their own kind.
By Lavanya Ramanathan November 29
This year, it became impossible to turn on your television without noticing a major sea change: People of color are the stars of shows on almost every network and streaming service. It’s the year Hollywood (er, for the most part) stopped making excuses for its all-white shows and dabbled in diversity.
Who knows if it will last? But here’s a reason it should: Television isn’t just getting more diverse. It’s finally beginning to feel authentic.
There’s no better example than “Master of None,” Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang’s 10-episode miniseries that premiered on Netflix early this month. In it, Ansari plays Dev Shah, an actor navigating his 30s — a basic enough concept, set in that typical camera-ready city, New York. So why does it feel like the most revolutionary thing on television, ever?
I say this not because, in “Master of None,” I saw a character who looked like me. Or that I can relate to “Parents,” the episode in which Dev tries to better understand the worldview of his immigrant parents (with Ansari’s real mother and father in the roles); I also relate to the charming “Nashville,” about an epic date in that blissful cocoon phase of a relationship.
COMMENTS AT WP:
* Diversity ARE GOOD! Except, if you read the trades, TV is having an awful season, with barely a hit to record. Not that one has anything to do with the other!
* Empire audience dropped Yuge when they introduced and focused on a gay black story line.
Yes, eventually all characters will be black brown gay Trans just like the U.S. Enjoy.
* Lavanya? No wonder she is in favor of “diversity” – that is affirmative action, reverse discrimination, quota hiring.
I’ve noticed that it takes a fair amount of Googling to find entertainment data, such as Nielsen ratings, for Hispanics. One reason for this is because Nielsen has a monopoly and thus traditionally does a lackadaisical job. Another reason is that Hispanic media choices are not very distinctive. They tend to like whatever everybody else likes.
This is in sharp contrast to black tastes, which are very black. Here are recent Nielsen ratings:
AFRICAN AMERICAN AUDIENCE ESTIMATES
|2||NBA PLAYOFFS ON ABC-SA2||ABC||8.5||1693|
|4||NCIS: NEW ORLEANS||CBS||6.8||1233|
|10||PERSON OF INTEREST||CBS||5.8||1034|
|* Ratings based on 13.65 million African American TV homes.
Blacks love Shonda Rhimes’ Scandal (starring Kerry Washington as a Washington PR fixer) and the NBA. Blacks ratings are much more concentrated than for Hispanics because blacks like shows with blacks in them and don’t really care about shows such as Big Bang Theory and Modern Family without major black characters.
And here are Nielsen ratings for shows in English among Hispanics, which look a lot like the overall ratings.
HISPANIC ENGLISH-LANGUAGE VIEWING
|1||DANCING WITH THE STARS||ABC||3.7||760|
|2||BIG BANG THEORY, THE||CBS||3.2||692|
|6||DWS: THE RESULTS SHOW-5/5(S)-05/05/2015||ABC||2.8||567|
|6||NCIS: NEW ORLEANS||CBS||2.8||528|
Latinos like dancing, but in general this looks a lot like the overall ratings. Here are the ratings for everybody of all ethnicities, although for the following week (does it take Nielsen an extra week to massage their black and Hispanic ratings?)
TOP 25 PROGRAMS – BROADCAST
|2||DANCING WITH THE STARS||ABC||8.6||14||10048||2||4.6||13479|
|3||NCIS: NEW ORLEANS||CBS||8.5||14||9878||2||4.6||13610|
|4||DWS:THE RESULTS SHOW-5/12(S)||ABC||6.7||11||7820||5||3.4||10159|
|5||BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS(S)||ABC||6.5||11||7573||4||3.8||11181|
|7||BIG BANG THEORY, THE||CBS||6.1||11||7082||7||3.2||9567|
It doesn’t hurt the Hispanic ratings of Modern Family, a fairly sophisticated sitcom that the cast includes the highly entertaining Sofia Vergara, who is the ultimate evolution of the blonde bimba going back at least to Charo, but mostly English-speaking Hispanics seem to watch what everybody else is watching, only more so.