CBS wants more Black writers at the table.
In a broad initiative announced on Monday (July 13), the network detailed its efforts to mandate no less than 40 percent Black, Indigenous, or people of color representation in writers’ rooms by the 2021-2022 season. The Viacom entity also allotted a quarter of its script-development budget for future programming created by BIPOCs.
Deadline reports that “at least six new and current shows for this coming fall schedule are expected to hit this 40% mark.”
Amid the fight for racial justice and equality, Hollywood reexamined how Black people are represented on and off-screen. According to Television Business International, CBS is the first U.S. broadcast network to make a targeted effort to increase diversity in programming through its initiative.
“While steady progress has been made in recent years both in front of and behind the camera, change needs to happen faster, especially with creators and leadership roles on the shows,” said George Cheeks, president and chief executive of CBS Entertainment Group. “As a network with ambitions to be a unifier and an agent of change at this important time, these new initiatives will help accelerate efforts to broaden our storytelling and make CBS programming even more diverse and inclusive.”
On July 15, CBS also announced a multi-year partnership with the NAACP to create and produce documentary plus both unscripted and scripted content for linear TV networks and streaming platforms, according to Deadline.
Between making sure there are more Black writers at the table and their new partnership, CBS seems to be taking steps toward more diversity and inclusivity.