A survey by the Screen Actors Guild indicates TV producers are apparently making more ethnically diverse casting choices.
Based on figures supplied to SAG by production companies, the number of roles on TV for all ethnic groups grew in 2000, compared to 1999, with African-Americans and Latinos getting the biggest boosts.
African-American actors got 15.6% of the roles cast in 2000, according to the report, representing 9,360 parts overall. That's up from 5,644 parts in 1999. Just over 3,100 of those African-American roles were leads, while 6,218 were in supporting parts.
In 1999, 2,563 leading parts in TV movies, series and miniseries, and 3,081 supporting parts, went to African-Americans.
Latinos hit their highest percentage of roles ever - 4.8% - but SAG points out that Latinos currently represent about 11% of the U.S. population. Asian and Pacific Islanders also achieved their highest percentage at 2.6% of the parts cast. But those groups represent 4% of the U.S. population.
Native Americans represented just 0.2% of the roles cast, or 659 parts.
Addressing age bias, the report noted that more than twice as many roles went to actors under age 40, while Americans over 40 represent 42% of the population.
While SAG president William Daniels said the union was "delighted" with the results, in a prepared statement he also said "There's still plenty of room for growth in diversity in the television and film world."
White actors landed an overwhelming majority of the roles cast in 2000: 75.7%. - Richard Tedesco