CBS is already working on making its scripted shows more diverse, but it is now setting bigger targets for diversity with its reality programming.
CBS’ reality shows will follow a new network rule that demands that reality series must have 50 percent of its casts be BIPOC (Black, Indigenous or People of Color). The network has also committed to having at least 25 percent of its yearly unscripted development budget spared for BIPOC creators and producers. These quotas will be enacted for the 2021/22 development season. This comes as shows like Big Brother have been heavily scrutinized for not having enough people of color (specifically Black people) on the show, which results in them not being able to make it far in the competition.
Last December, it was announced that all CBS reality shows will provide sensitivity/bias and anti-harassment training for both cast and crew before the start of production.
This July, CBS released its updated mandates surrounding diversity in scripted programming, pledging to commit 25 percent of its script development program to BIPOC creators, producers and writers. Writers’ rooms will also have a minimum of 40 percent BIPOC representation by the 2021/22 development season. That number will go up to 50 percent for the 2022/23 season. CBS has also created a programming deal with the NAACP. CBS has also intimated that other diversity initiatives are forthcoming.
George Cheeks, President/CEO for CBS Entertainment Group, said reality TV is a genre “that’s especially underrepresented and needs to be more inclusive across development, casting, production and all phases of storytelling.”
“As we strive to improve all of these creative aspects, the commitments announced today are the important first steps in sourcing new voices to create content and further expanding the diversity in our unscripted programming, as well as on our Network.”