National Latino Media Council Launch ‘Militant’ Bid to Boost Diversity at Big Four Networks

AP Photo/Reed Saxon

After successfully pressuring CBS Corp. to pledge to boost employment of Latino actors and writers, The National Latino Media Council (NLMC) says it will launch a year-long campaign of “militant” action aimed at increasing the representation of Latinos in various programming positions on ABC, NBC, and FOX.

NLMC conducted a 10-year analysis of the composition of the four major broadcast networks’ Latino talent and found that CBS’ were the worst when compared with ABC, NBC, and Fox. The study spurred NLMC into taking aggressive action, Variety reports, that had consisted of “a 30-person strike force that was prepared to mount demonstrations outside CBS facilities, as well as a pressure campaign with CBS’ advertisers and social media efforts to embarrass the network.”

But the planned protest and network disruptions never occurred, thanks to a high-profile meeting between CBS network bosses and NLMC leaders.

NLMC chair Thomas Saenz and Alex Nogales, president of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, attended an August 17 meeting at CBS’ West Coast headquarters in Los Angeles in which the network’s chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves and entertainment president Kelly Kahl were present. It was at this meeting that CBS presented evidence that the network’s Latino representation in the 2017-18 season had doubled compared to last season.

“All of us are part of a bigger multi-ethnic coalition, and we have decided that this is the year we’re going to have to get very, very militant,” Nogales told Variety.

In addition, Variety reports, CBS bosses said they would commit to ordering additional scripts from Latino creators and agreed to hiring more Latino directors as well as reviewing 10 additional program pitches from Latino writers and producers.

“We were very impressed with what they’ve done in just the past three months,” Nogales told the outlet. “It just shows that when people really want to do something, they do it. They stop with the BS and they do it. As we were walking out, Thomas and I looked at each other and said ‘If we’d known it was going to be that easy, we’d have asked for twice as much.'”

The NLMC leaders are setting their sights next at FOX, where meetings with network bosses are already being discussed.

“Now is the time for all networks and other media outlets to address this longstanding issue of significant Latino under-representation, for the outlets’ own future prosperity as much as anything. CBS has now taken strides to address this issue and others should follow the CBS example,” Saenz said.

The NLMC’s multifaceted campaign to increase the presence of Latino studio talent comes as Hollywood continues to struggle with various gender pay gap issues — actress Patricia Arquette famously used her Best Supporting Actress acceptance speech at the 2015 Oscars to call for gender pay parity — CBS’ race-based wage gap drama following former Hawaii Five-0 stars Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park departure from the long running show. Earlier this month, Actress Jessica Chastain slammed CBS on social media over the network’s lack of female leads in shows slated for its fall lineup. Last year, CBS face fire for after announcing the network’s six new shows airing fall — all of which featured white male leading actors.


Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter @jeromeehudson


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