Network television hasn’t always been proactive about diversity in casting but when you look at ABC’s line up within the past few years, you’ll notice shows such as How To Get Away With Murder, Scandal and Quantico where women of color are playing lead roles. Well you can thank Keli Lee, EVP of Talent and Casting for ABC, for that. Click here for her one on one Forbes article.
Tuesday night, Aziz Ansari stopped by The Late Show with his father to discuss his new series Masters of None. With the two on the show that evening Aziz proclaimed that they had made history on CBS by having more Indian people than whites on screen during their appearance.
“This is like an all-time high for CBS.”
Today may be the golden age of television, but it’s actually far from it behind the camera. After over 25 years of stagnant development, the media is only just beginning to shed some light on the issue of gender and race discrimination after the EEOC began investigating the lack of female directors in Hollywood last month. Today, Variety launched its director-diversity story by releasing interview transcripts with dozens of industry professionals to gain a stronger insight on diversification within the ranks of television directors.
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Last week, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it would begin taking measures to combat discrimination against female film and TV directors. Today, “Joy” actress and one of today’s highest-paid movie stars, Jennifer Lawrence, penned an essay for Lena Dunham’s online newsletter discussing the issues of feminism and equal wages in Hollywood. The war on gender inequality in the industry is happening and fast.
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New ABC sitcom Dr. Ken starring Ken Jeong debuted last Friday to solid ratings and was the top scripted show of the night! This was a nice jolt for ABC, especially for debuting on a Friday night, the network its biggest Friday comedy premiere of the past three years.
Inspired by Jeong’s real life as a practicing doctor, he stars as Dr. Ken Park, a physician with bad bedside manner trying to juggle medicine and being a family man to his wife and kids — and not quite succeeding on either front. This show is also noteworthy in that it’s about a second-generation Asian American family (as opposed to Fresh Off The Boat, which is largely centered on an immigrant experience).
It’s great to see another Asian American family bringing diversity to a TV near you!
Chinese Kung-Fu series ‘Ip Man’ has just released the trailer for its third installment featuring, as a surprise to us, Mike Tyson. Donnie Yen returns to his role as Yip Man in this film. The film is set to release December 25th, in Hong Kong.
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Trevor Noah officially became the host of The Daily Show when the camera rolled on Monday. The Daily Show has been one of, if not the preeminent nightly show that talks about politics, social issues, and more for over a decade thanks to Jon Stewart. Needless to say, Noah had some pretty big shoes to fill and by all accounts has gotten out of the gates quite smoothly.
Priyanka Chopra may not be a household name in America right now, but she’s no stranger to the world of entertainment. After winning the Miss World title in 2000, Chopra has added numerous Bollywood movies to her resume and is one of the highest paid actors in the genre.
In 2012 Priyanka and her manager met Keli Lee, the executive vice president for talent and casting for ABC Entertainment Group, at a dinner party. As Ms. Lee named some of the actors she’d helped place through the company’s diversity efforts — Sofia Vergara in “Modern Family,” Sandra Oh in “Grey’s Anatomy” and Kerry Washington in “Scandal” Priyanka’s manager remarked, “Well, you haven’t done a South Asian yet, and we’re one-fifth of the population.” Well Keli Lee can now add South Asian to her list of racially diverse casting credits as ABC prepares for the premiere of Quantico next Sunday, September 27.
Click here to read the New York Times article.
At the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards Sunday, the star of ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder became the first black woman to win the award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series. Davis beat Homeland‘s Claire Danes, Empire‘s Taraji P. Henson, Orphan Black‘s Tatiana Maslany, Mad Men‘s Elisabeth Moss and House of Cards‘ Robin Wright. In her acceptance speech, Viola stated,”the only thing that separates women of color from everyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”
NPR’s Eric Deggans also wrote earlier this week that a win by either Davis or Henson would be a first “basically because black women haven’t had many starring roles in TV dramas until recently.”
Viola received an outpouring amount of support for her win from fans and celebs including Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Kerry Washington and Shonda Rhimes.
Talk about irony. Season 4 of HBO’s Project Greenlight premiered on Sunday night to much controversy after Matt Damon interrupted the only African-American female filmmaker in the room to squeeze in a bit of “diversity training.”
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