Hollywood has often said that they made their casting choices based off of who would bring in the most money, well this is a study they really need to pay attention to. They may want to change the way they cast dramatically after reading this. The study on diversity vs. ratings was conducted by UCLA Bunche Center For African American studies. They found that between the 2011 and 2012 cable television season, shows that had at least a third of the actors being people of color received the highest ratings. These shows included Falling Skies and The Closer.
Shows that have a 90% white cast tended to have lower ratings than their diverse competition. The study for broadcast TV had the same results. Programs that had an African-American cast of over 40% had higher ratings. Darrnell Hunt is a UCLA professor and the author of the entire study. He feels the study makes clear that people are tuning into shows that better relate to them and reflect the people and situations that are going in their lives.
For people of color, this is one of the most encouraging studies for ethnic people and entertainment to be released in a very long time. But, that doesn’t mean diversity programming is totally at its peak. It is scary, as well as embarrassing, to see the statistics on diversity on television. According to the 2010 census African-Americans make up 36% of the population. However, African-Americans are leads in just 11% of all of the shows on broadcast cable and 15% on cable shows. This is an improvement in so many ways, but there is still a lot of improvements to diversity handling that need to be done. Only time will tell how the results of this study will change.