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CBS promises to make reality TV casts more diverse

At least 50 percent of the network's reality TV show contestants will be Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) starting next year.
Credit: CBS
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CBS is taking steps to make its reality TV shows more diverse.

When it comes to the network's unscripted series, at least 50 percent of cast members will be Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) beginning with programming airing in the 2021-2022 season. Shows that fall into that category will include Survivor, Big Brother, Love Island and The Amazing Race.

“The reality TV genre is an area that’s especially underrepresented, and needs to be more inclusive across development, casting, production and all phases of storytelling,” said George Cheeks, president and chief executive officer for the CBS Entertainment Group. “As we strive to improve all of these creative aspects, the commitments announced today are 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.”

This isn’t the first step CBS has taken to promote diversity. Over the summer, the network announced it would allocate at least one-quarter of its yearly unscripted television development budget to projects either created or co-created by BIPOC producers.

The network wants its writers' rooms to be staffed with a minimum of 40 percent BIPOC representation by the 2021-2022 broadcast television season. And, the goal is to increase that staffing to 50 percent by the following season.

Meanwhile, CBS Studios has begun a multi-year partnership with the NAACP to create a joint production venture. The studio recently signed a deal with 21CP Solutions, an organization that specializes in police reform efforts across the nation. The group will advise the studio on police and legal productions.

"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," a network spokesperson said. "All productions will have an on-site professional to provide a confidential means of reporting concerns."

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