ABC defends diversity record - Broadcasting & Cable

ABC defends diversity record

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ABC executives and top diversity leaders met in Los Angeles Tuesday to
discuss the network's progress on minority casting and employment
opportunities-an area diversity coalition members rated the worst among the Big
Four networks last May.

ABC TV President Alex Wallau led a group of 24 network executives who met
with leaders from the NAACP, Latino, Asian Pacific American and America Indian
organizations.

The diversity leaders gave ABC a D- earlier this year for their efforts.

ABC executives released statistics showing increases in African American,
Asian American and Latino casting on the network's fall lineup.

ABC says it has 23 African Americans in supporting or lead roles this fall,
up from 15 last year.

Six Latino actors will be on fall shows versus five a year ago and 3 Asian
Americans will be featured on ABC series this fall vs. 2 a year ago.

There are no American Indians in series for the second straight season.

'I don't think they are making progress, which was one of the reasons why we
had this meeting,' said Karen Narasaki, executive director of the National Asian
Pacific Legal Consortium.

'As you know they did not do well when we gave our report card which I
believe prompted the meeting and also prompted Alex Wallau to take a personal
interest in the initiative and take personal responsibility for making sure the
spirit and the letter of the understanding become achieved.'

ABC executives say they are launching The Casting Project later this month, a
new initiative to help increase the diversity talent pool at the
network.

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