Pasadena, CA – Its been thirteen years since the historic Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) were signed between the Multi-Ethnic Media Coalition and the top television broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, & FOX) and instead of moving forward, FOX has disengaged and is failing miserably.
Yesterday the National Latino Media Council (NLMC) released the annual Television Network Report Cards. NLMC blasted FOX Network Groups for its non-performance. The network received an overall “F” in its diversity commitment and performance. The annual report states:
For years, NLMC has highlighted FOX’s lack of transparency in providing clear and complete information to evaluate diversity performance. Two years ago when a new diversity team was created at the network we were hopeful for positive change. To our surprise there was change, but only for the worse. For the last couple of years the FOX Diversity team has been unresponsive to NLMC’s request for timely and complete data. They seem not to care about our timeline nor the years of collaboration and work accomplished through the Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) signed thirteen years ago. We have known and collaborated with FOX’sChairman of Entertainment, Kevin Reilly, for years, ever since he was at NBC and he has been a man committed to diversity. We are now hopeful that Reilly will address this unacceptable situation immediately.
NBC received the best overall grade given by NLMC with an “A-.” NBC’s diversity strength comes from their behind the camera talent, and although it lacks in the key area of in front of camera actors, they have pulled forward as leader of the diversity network pack.
CBS earned an overall “B+” grade for Latino diversity during the 2011-2012 television season. CBS’s opportunity for improvement lies in increasing its number of Latino scripted regulars and to have more consistency in the number of Latino Writers/Producers. For years ABC has been the model network in terms of providing opportunities for Latinos. Although it still dominates in a few categories, the other networks are catching up. This year ABC earned an overall “B” grade. The main complaint that NLMC has had and still has with ABC is that the network has no Latino Creative Executives on its creative team. Alex Nogales, President & CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, the Secretariat for the National Latino Media Council stated: “After thirteen years of working with the networks through the Memoranda of Understanding, we are at a collaborative stage with all of the networks, except for FOX. The Networks ABC, CBS and NBC are finally paying attention to the Latino audience, especially now that it represents $1 trillion in purchasing power, projected to increase to $1.5 trillion by 2015, and because it represents 16.7% of the nation’s population. We see positive internal changes taking place at the three networks and expect that these changes will translate into an accelerated hiring of Latinos in all areas.”
The Multi-Ethnic Media Coalition is comprised of the National Latino Media Council, the Asian Pacific American Media Council, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the American Indians in Film and Television.
This long partnership has produced tangible but incremental results. With the recent changes taking place at the networks, NLMC now expects accelerated diversity results.
The report card summarizes progress and shortfalls of the networks’ diversity efforts during the 2011-2012 television season. Networks earn overall diversity performance grades, as well as specific grades based on their employment of Latino actors in primetime scripted and alternative programming, Latino writers, producers, directors, and Latino entertainment executives. Specific grades are also assigned for program development, procurement and network commitment to diversity and transparency.
In spite of FOX’s dismal performance this year, has progress been made? Alex Nogales, Secretariat of the NLMC and President and CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition stated, “What is very promising is that all four network presidents understand that people of color are good business and are reaching out in a way that we haven’t seen before.” However, he stressed his disappointment with the lack of response from FOX, “This is a travesty…we will have to be very aggressive to get FOX to give us [their] data.”
Lastly, for over a year now, NLMC has attempted to sign an MOU with Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) to assess diversity and inclusion within the public broadcasting outlet. Disappointingly, PBS has failed to agree to this. It is our hope that PBS will commit to an MOU and greater transparency in the new year.