Yes you read that right. According to Deadline.com’s Nellie Andreeva, since the success of Empire (which I love), How To Get Away with Murder (another favorite) and other shows where the leading characters are POC, this could hurt white actors when it comes to casting.
There was a noticeable shift toward minority castings last season, with more parts opening up to ethnic actors, a casting term used for non-Caucasian thesps. It was a concerted effort, with more than one instance where a family member role was rewritten as adopted to make them ethnic. Then, following the success of freshman series How To Get Away With Murder, Black-ish, Fresh Off The Boat, Jane the Virgin and especially Empire, which launched to huge ratings at the kickoff of pilot casting season, ethnic castings exploded this season.
Ms. Andreeva continues to talk about the number of POC who are being cast in pilots that could be picked up for the upcoming fall season. Some of those roles where not originally earmarked for actors of color.
But there were more broadcast drama pilots than ever whose leads had been designated as black this year. That includes Fox medical drama Rosewood, toplined by Morris Chestnut, and CBS civil rights crime drama For Justice, starring Anika Noni Rose. Uncle Buck was rebooted by ABC specifically as a black family sitcom, with Mike Epps in the title role originated by John Candy. NBC opted to make the lead couple in its drama about diverse couples Love Is A Four Letter Word black in picking up the pilot. (It had been originally conceived as Caucasian.) After a post-table read recasting of the female role, the two leads went to Cynthia McWilliams and Rockmond Dunbar.
There also have been a number of drama co-leads on which the networks chose to go ethnic this year, including Supergirl’s male lead, cast with Mehcad Brooks; one of the four female leads in ABC drama Broad Squad (Rutina Wesley); and the female lead in Minority Report (Meagan Good).
Choosing to go ethnic? Ms. Andreeva loves the word “ethnic.” Ms. Andreeva now feels that the pendulum is swinging too far in the opposite direction. Too far? Does Ms. Andreeva realize that actors of color have been shut out of leading roles in television for decades? Oh we have gone through spurts here and there. We had some roles in the usual comedies throughout the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s. But by the late 90’s through the 2000’s actors of color started to experience a drought. By the time the year 2000 hit, with a few exceptions, you were hollering “blacks are on tv” cause we became a rarity again. And as usual asian and latinos were practically invisible.
And what about leading roles in dramas? For black actors that was unheard of until Scandal came along. Now we have Scandal, HTGAWM and Empire. Ms Andreeva feels that actors of color have reached the max when it comes to leading roles. Is this woman crazy? I doubt very seriously that having a more open door policy when it comes to casting tv shows will hurt white actors and actresses. With all the tv shows on network, cable, Netflix and Amazon there’s enough work for everyone.
Check out the entire article here.