The Washington Post

Black Actors on TV: Fall 2011 Lineup

Written by Genetta M. Adams, The Root

Fall may be a season of change, but when the five broadcast networks unveil their 27 new series over the next several weeks, you won't see any scripted shows with predominantly African-American casts. That's not exactly change we can believe in.

To be fair, the networks -- ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and the CW -- do a decent job of presenting ensemble shows with racially mixed casts. And Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes is prepping a new series for the network called Scandal, starring Kerry Washington (no airdate is set because it's slated for a midseason premiere).

But since black people watch more TV, on average, than others, shouldn't the major networks feel the need to muster up a few more scripted shows featuring African-American (or Hispanic or Asian) casts leading the way?

Fortunately, black-centric shows are thriving on basic cable. BET, which has been making a big push toward scripted shows lately, began airing reruns of The Game after the show was canceled by the CW in 2009. The network revived the series with a batch of new episodes in January. The premiere was watched by a record 7.7 million viewers, and during the season the audience averaged about 4 million viewers.

To put that in perspective, The Vampire Diaries, which debuted the same year the CW canceled The Game, drew an audience of nearly 5 million in its premiere. (The Vampire Diaries was part of CW's move to attract a more teen-centric and female-focused mainstream audience.)

Read the rest at The Root

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