UCLA Study Documents the Low Representation of Black Writers in Television

A new report by Darnell Hunt, dean of social sciences and professor of sociology and African American studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, examines that status of Black writers in the television industry.

This study considered 1,678 first-run episodes from all 234 of the original, scripted comedy and drama series airing or streaming on 18 broadcast, cable, and digital platforms during the 2016-17 television season.

The report demonstrates that the executives running television platforms today — both traditional networks and emerging streaming sites — are not hiring Black showrunners, which results in excluding or isolating Black writers in writers’ rooms and in the creative process. Over 90 percent of showrunners are white, two-thirds of shows had no Black writers at all, and another 17 percent of shows had just one Black writer.

The report reveals that the exclusion of Black writers from writers’ rooms results in content that furthers stereotypical and harmful representations of Black people — a dynamic that’s especially evident in procedural crime dramas. The report also found that major networks’ diversity programs are failing to meaningfully improve opportunities for Black writers and other writers of color.

Below is a video of Professor Hunt discussing his study.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Three African Americans Appointed to New Academic Positions

Leon Prieto, Kofi Afrifah, and Andrea Moore have been appointed to new academic positions at Clayton University, Bowie State University, and Savannah State University, respectively.

Historic HBCU Landmark Revitalized Through National Park Service Grant

Through three restoration grants totaling $2 million, the Rosenwald Practice School and Principal House will be fully restored, becoming the new home for the Northeastern North Carolina African American Research and Cultural Heritage Institute.

Five Black Leaders Appointed to Administrative Positions

Here is this week’s roundup of African American who have been appointed to new administrative positions at colleges and universities throughout the United States. If you have news for our appointments section, please email the information to contact@JBHE.com.

North Carolina A&T University Establishes Research Partnership with Collins Aerospace

“There are direct relations to the research we do in the College of Engineering and the mission purpose of Collins Aerospace,” said Stephanie Luster-Teasley, interim dean of the College of Engineering at North Carolina A&T State University. “Being able to partner with Collins really gives our students the opportunities for hands-on research at each level – undergraduate and graduate.”

Featured Jobs