Fall Colors: Prime Time Diversity Report, 2001

Jan 02, 2001

Download file: fall_colors_2001.pdf

United States demographic data and Children Now research show that youth are growing up in an era of increasing racial and ethnic diversity. Much of this diversity is easily seen in their school, community and family life. Yet, as Children Now’s 1998 study, “A Different World: Children’s Perceptions of Race and Class in the Media,” demonstrated, youth do not see the diversity of their lives reflected in the television they so readily and heavily consume. Young people receive clear messages about race, class and gender through the characters and situations they see on television. Longstanding research has demonstrated that youth, particularly during their formative years, internalize many of the values and attitudes presented on television. Thus, representations of diversity, tolerance and cross-cultural learning in the media have implications for not only youth of color but white youth as well, and for boys as well as girls.

In early 2000, television industry executives, responding to public pressure, introduced initiatives designed to increase diversity and inclusivity in their management and creative teams. Their intended goal was to create a more diverse program line-up as early as the 2000-2001 season. “Fall Colors 2000-01” finds that on the whole, prime time television still does not reflect the diversity that youth find in their everyday lives or the diversity that they will no doubt encounter as maturing adults. There has been some progress, but there is still much work to do.

Fall Colors documents the television industry’s progress on diversity and serves as a tool to help executives, writers and producers improve the images of race, class and gender on prime time television. It is the most comprehensive study to date of prime time diversity.

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