Ethnically diverse TV shows help to entertain

Mindy leads the way with diverse programming

Variety is the spice of life … and perhaps primetime networks are finally starting to realize that. In this week’s Clacking in Color, the superb column about minorities in Hollywood, writer Jaylen Christie praises the new season’s inclusion of ethnically diverse actors and actresses. Woohoo!


In order to appeal to most television viewers, networks must be diverse. Well, at least that’s what I always believed. If you take a look at some of the programs of the past, that statement may not ring to be so true. However, if one was to truly examine the current lineup on primetime, they may be in for a colorful awakening. As someone that writes about ethnic diversity in Hollywood, it pleases me to see a broad spectrum of programming on television today. In fact, I honestly can’t recall a season as culturally varied as this one.

Oh, crap — am I in The Twilight Zone? Nah, perchance network executives are finally realizing that it’s 2012. Just take a look at FOX. I’ve never really been a fan of the station — especially after they pulled the plug on Arrested Development. Nevertheless, with the recent inclusion of The Mindy Project, my unenthusiastic views on FOX may just change. Not only is a minority the lead — Mindy Kaling of Bengali descent — but she’s a woman. That’s like two for the price of one! Heck, that’s better than a discount at your local Walgreens! Way to go, FOX!

And while I’m handing out accolades, I think that NBC deserves some with the success of Community, a sitcom that really has a racially diverse (and super talented) cast. Donald Glover can do no wrong, and Danny Pudi is comedic gold. I’m feeling a little generous so I’ll also dish out some love to CBS for casting Lucy Liu, a Chinese woman, in the role of Watson in Elementary, a modern day take on Sherlock Holmes … and before you gasp at that revelation, here’s something else to applaud — after Regis Philbin retired from Live!, he was replaced by Michael Strahan … a Black dude!

Feel free to clutch your pearls.

Okay, enough humor. On a serious note, I couldn’t be happier. Perhaps colorful programming is the new trend. Heck, it’s about damn time. However, that certainly doesn’t mean that these shows are above cancellation. After all, it takes views to keep a program on the air … or does it? According to Entertainment Weekly, ABC just pulled the plug on Last Resort, a drama about a naval force, which starred the brown-skinned Andre Braugher. The show averaged over nine million viewers. Last time I checked that was pretty solid … but what do I know? The network also terminated 666 Park Avenue with my wife — although she never acknowledges our marriage in interviews — Vanessa Williams.

Sorry, Vanessa. I love you, but your show sucked.

While I’m bummed about Last Resort (and content with Avenue), it just goes to show that programs with minorities could use support. Tune in, people! Watch the show! Support it by giving it a chance. We can’t complain about not having enough shows with minorities if we’re not making an effort to watch the ones that we do have. I’m just sayin’. Still, it’s nice to know that networks are at least trying to meet us halfway. I’ve been rather impressed with some of the colorful fare that they’ve had to offer this season.

Sorry, Vanessa. I love you, but your show sucked.

So, what does this say about society? Does this mean that we are actually moving forward? Well, I’d like to think so. The fact of the matter is that America is diverse and colorful. To that end, I feel that television shows should reflect that. I’m not a rocket scientist by any stretch of the imagination, but I think it’s safe to say that we’re moving in the right direction and pressing on to a more colorful future. Television is changing.

Color me intrigued.

Do you enjoy reading Clacking in Color? Jaylen sure as hell hopes so. Keep up with his opinions and ponderings  by following him on Twitter @thesuperflynerd!

Photo Credit: NBC

4 Comments on “Ethnically diverse TV shows help to entertain

  1. “Elementary” also has Jon Michael Hill (last seen in “Detroit 1-8-7″) as the young detective, and frankly, what young detective wouldn’t want to work with Sherlock Holmes?
    Now that Vanessa is no long occupying your mind, may I suggest the star of “Scandal”? Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope is turning in Emmy worthy performances every week. Plus, she is gorgeous and I’ve heard she’s single. Another not-Vanessa could be Gina Torres of “Suits”. Just based on her credit from “Firefly” as Zoe should put her on your radar.
    But enough about yer Uncle Otto meddling in your luvlife…
    Thanks for another thought provoking post and hope your Turkey Day went well.

    • Otto, I think you may be one of my biggest fans. I always appreciate you taking the time to comment. You should tell your friends to read “CiC”…if they value diversity. Anyway, I’ve heard WONDERFUL things about Kerry Washington’s work on Scandal. I’ll have to check it out. I also am quite familiar with Gina Torres. That chick can play a real b!tch. I’m just sayin’. lol

      I had a fantastic Thanksgiving. It went well. I hope yours went well too, buddy! :-)

  2. Writing paper on progress of diversity in television programming, I stumbled upon your writings. Quite a help. Happy to see POC in so many good shows, dramas and comedies, soaps and talk shows.

    • Thanks so much! Clacking in Color is published every Tuesday. Don’t be a stranger. Come back and read more!

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