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Diversity downer

Multicultural groups say CBS fall season is worst of all 7/21/2002 08:00:00 PM Eastern

CBS was not happy to be singled out last week by the Multi-Ethnic Coalition—comprising the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition, the National Latino Media Council, and the American Indians in Film and Television—which gave the network a D- after reviewing its new fall schedule in terms of diversity.

No network did well. While CBS earned the worst grade from the coalition, the other networks didn't fare much better. NBC got a D+, ABC a C- and Fox a C.

Last year, CBS got a D+, and NBC got a C, higher grades than this year's. Last year, ABC got a D-, and Fox got a C-, so, for what it's worth, they appear to have improved.

African-Americans aren't part of the coalition; the NAACP usually issues its own report.

The three groups that make up the coalition said they were sending letters to CBS's top nine advertisers—including General Motors, Procter & Gamble and AOL Time Warner—and asking them to "raise concerns about CBS's commitment."

But CBS fought back: "We vigorously dispute the findings of the so-called 'Report Card' that grades the major television networks on their progress in broadening diversity. CBS will continue to do what we know is the right and positive thing, and not be sidetracked into engaging in a divisive and negative debate."

Last week during the summer press tour in Pasadena, CBS took some flak from TV critics asking why its new show, CSI: Miami
has only has one recurring Hispanic character, and why Presidio Med, set in San Francisco, has no Asian or gay characters. Producers said ethnic minorities and gays would be part of the plot lines of many episodes.

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