UCLA Report Finds That Television Shows Have Made Progress in Diversifying Their Casts

The tenth annual Hollywood Diversity Report produced by the Entertainment and Media Research Initiative at the University of California, Los Angeles finds that more of the top broadcast and digital shows featured racially and ethnically diverse casts. For the first time, overall cast diversity reflected the population across all platforms following an upward trend over the last decade.

For the latest television report, researchers reviewed data for 521 live-action, scripted shows (99 broadcast, 112 cable, and 310 digital) that aired in the 2021-22 season. They examined race/ethnicity and gender for key job categories to see who is actually being hired.

More shows featured diverse casts, with the plurality of all offerings presenting a cast that was majority-minority: 36.0 percent of broadcast, 35.8 percent of cable and 36.5 percent of digital. With new shows making up more than half of the shows during the 2021–22 television season, which was filmed almost entirely under pandemic protocols, diversity in creators’ race, ethnicity and gender increased for broadcast and cable, while digital remained steady despite a higher number of digital shows. The share of creators of color for new shows rose to 26.7 percent, and the share of people of color and women credited in the writers’ room also increased.

Women and people of color continue to be underrepresented in the most important roles. The increase in cast diversity was not reflected in lead roles, particularly in broadcast and digital, as people of color were in more supporting roles. Both women and people of color were underrepresented among the 817 show creators across each platform type.

Broadcast scripted shows with casts featuring 31 percent to 40 percent of people of color had the highest median ratings among White, Black, Latinx, and Asian households, as well as viewers ages 18-49.

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