On Monday, CBS shared their plans to incorporate more diversity in the casts of several of their high-profile reality shows such as Big Brother, Survivor, and Love Island. The network pledged that in the future, all unscripted programs will feature casts that include 50% of the contestants being Black, Indigenous, and people of color. These changes will go into effect for the 2021-2022 broadcast season.
In addition to announcing that half of the casts on unscripted programming such as Survivor, The Amazing Race, and Big Brother will be people of color, the network also shared its other plans on this front. According to a press release shared by CBS, the network will allocate at least a quarter of its annual unscripted development budget to projects that are created or co-created by individuals of color. That change will also go into effect for the 2021-2022 broadcast season. When it comes to making unscripted programming in the future, the network will help to develop initiatives with its production partners in order to expand diversity in the creative and production teams that bring these shows to life.
“The reality TV genre is an area that’s especially underrepresented, and needs to be more inclusive across development, casting, production and all phases of storytelling,” George Cheeks, President and Chief Executive Officer for the CBS Entertainment Group, said about these changes. “As we strive to improve all of these creative aspects, the commitments announced today are important first steps in sourcing new voices to create content and further expanding the diversity in our unscripted programming, as well as on our Network.”
This announcement comes several months after the network shared its diversity commitments for scripted programming. In July, CBS announced that it would allocate a minimum of 25% of its future script development budgets to projects that are created or co-created by individuals who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color. Additionally, the network wants the writers' rooms on its scripted programming to have at least 40% representation for people of color. Like the changes announced for its unscripted programming, these changes for the network's scripted content will go into effect for the 2021-2022 broadcast season. CBS also aims to make that percentage for their writers' rooms 50% for the following broadcast season in 2022-2023. Given these changes, viewers can expect even more, necessary representation on their favorite reality shows (and scripted shows) in the near future. Disclosure: PopCulture is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.