Nov 11, 2008

CBS has announced extensive measures to boost the diversity of its network-owned daytime lineup. The initiative, by CBS Diversity Institute and Casting, is aimed at providing better access for minority actors and actresses to on-screen roles on The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful. The Diversity Institute is a comprehensive program designed to identify and develop diversity within the writing, directing, and talent communities.

"Diversity requires action and we see this as a very intentional way of bringing attention to actors of color and continuing to open doors to the most successful daytime franchises in history with this new and additional avenue of access," said Josie Thomas, CBS Senior Vice President, Diversity.

"With our daytime dramas on the air year-round, this is a remarkable opportunity for new talent to be seen by the highest number of people possible in this medium," adds Barbara Bloom, Senior Vice President, Daytime Programs, CBS.

Viewers have been critical of the lack of diversity in daytime television. While African American actors are regularly featured on the soaps, many soaps limit the scope of Black performers to a single family or limit their interaction to involve only other minority performers. Latino characters have been much more present in recent years, but many soaps offer negative and stereotypical roles for these characters, focusing on drug trafficking or other illegal activities. The number of Asian American lead characters seen on soaps in the past decade can be counted on one hand.

In a much-publicized exit interview, actress Victoria Rowell (ex-Drucilla Winters) blasted executives at The Young and the Restless for "whitewashing" the show.

"When Y&R was at the top of its game, our soap boasted daytime’s only racially diverse cast on TV," Rowell told TV Guide Canada last year. "[B]ut [Y&R distributor] Sony [and] CBS refuse to admit that Y&R’s primary audience is black. And now the show has what? Two black actors — which adds up to one because they are mixed!"

Actors of color who are 18 years and older can submit resumes and photos electronically by logging onto www.breakdownexpress.com under the breakdown: CBS Daytime Diversity Initiative

Or submit a hard copy of a resume and photo to:
Fern Orenstein
CBS Daytime Diversity Initiative
Cole Ave Studios
1006 N. Cole
Hollywood CA 90038


I am very happy about this move. Anybody who knows me know how much I love The Young and the Restless. I've been watching that show since I was a little kid. I remember when Lauren was buried alive, when Cricket was still with Danny, when Nina was in love with Phillip, when Drucilla first came on the show and she was in love with Nathan, when Nikki was a stripper, and who can forget when Malcolm first came on the show. Boy, Y&R has really been my show. It use to have a really diverse cast. Here's hoping they can regain some of that. Now if they could only convince Victoria Rowell (Drucilla) to come back and give that dang on Lily a backbone (she's nothing like her mother) I would be a really happy camper. Oh, and could they please stop with the Victor being depress story. I can't wait for him to come back and kick Jack and Adam's behind. And for heaven's sake please put Sharon and Nicholas back together is that too much to ask for.

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