Coalition Rates Nets: Unsatisfactory

A coalition of minority groups issued a stern warning to the four major television networks Thursday, demanding that they take more substantial steps to improve the number of ethnic minorities involved in primetime television.

The warning, which involved threats of a boycott and/or legal action, coincides with the release of a second minority report card that showed that the majors were teetering on the brink of failure in implementing diversity.

“The industry is failing and failing quickly,” said Alex Nogales, president and CEO of the National Latino Media Council, which, along with the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition and American Indians in Film and Television, conducted the study.

The report card, which was characterized by the groups as being “very generous,” gave ABC a D-, CBS a D+, Fox a C-, and NBC a C. The report card evaluated the employment of minority actors in the 2000-01 and upcoming 2001-02 primetime television seasons, looking at the amount of on-air minority performers in primetime, minority writers, producers and directors, minorities involved in development, the employment of minorities in corporate management, and the commitment by each network to diversity initiatives.

The report was unveiled at a news conference at the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists headquarters.