CBS on Monday announced its intention to invest in more diverse programming, starting behind the camera. Beginning with the 2021-22 season, at least 25 percent of the network’s script development budget will go toward projects created or co-created by Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC).
Additionally, CBS has announced a goal for its writers’ rooms to be staffed with at least 40 percent BIPOC representation, which will also begin with the 2021-22 season. For the following season (2022-23), the goal is to increase that number to 50 percent.
“While steady progress has been made in recent years both in front of and behind the camera, change needs to happen faster, especially with creators and leadership roles on the shows,” said George Cheeks, president and CEO of the CBS Entertainment Group. “As a network with ambitions to be a unifier and an agent of change at this important time, these new initiatives will help accelerate efforts to broaden our storytelling and make CBS programming even more diverse and inclusive.”
Though CBS’ diversity initiatives won’t fully get underway until 2021, the network has also committed to adding more BIPOC writers on “select series” for the upcoming 2020-2021 season.
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These new efforts come in the wake of weeks-long Black Lives Matter protests, which were sparked by the May death of George Floyd, who was killed by Minneapolis police. Since then, there have been renewed calls for more diverse representation in Hollywood, as well as more nuanced depictions of police brutality.
The executive producers of CBS’ S.W.A.T. were among those to address the protests, pledging that in Season 4, “we will continue to mine the truth about these issues in the writing of our upcoming season as we all work towards a fairer, better system.”