Diversity on 'The Bachelor,' 'Black-ish' are discussed at ABC TCAs panel

ABC Entertainment Group president Channing Dungey said that she hoped to see more diversity on the long-running 'Bachelor' reality programs, while Kenya Barris, creator of 'Black-ish,' said he is 'tired of talking about diversity.'

Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
'Black-ish' creator Kenya Barris (r.) and star Anthony Anderson (l.) participate in the 'Black-ish' panel during the Disney/ABC Television Critics Association summer press tour on Aug. 4, 2016, in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Diversity and representation was a topic at the ABC panel during the Television Critics’ Association (TCA) press tour, with ABC Entertainment Group president Channing Dungey saying she would like “some changes” with a lack of diversity on ABC’s long-running “Bachelor” reality show and Kenya Barris, creator of ABC’s “Black-ish,” saying he is “tired of talking about diversity.”

During the TCA Ms. Dungey discussed whether there would be wider representation on “Bachelor.” There has never been a black bachelor or bachelorette on any incarnation of the show (season two of the Lifetime “Bachelor” parody “UnREAL” featured a black bachelor). 

“I would very much like to see some changes there,” Dungey said when asked about a possible increase in diversity on the show.

Race was also a topic at a panel for the ABC show “Black-ish,” which depicts an African-American family and stars Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross. The program received acclaim in particular for an episode earlier in 2016 that showed the family discussing a case involving an African-American being hurt by police. 

When asked what share of the audience for “Black-ish” is black, Mr. Barris said, “It doesn’t matter who’s watching our show. The fact is that they’re watching it. And I feel like every question at every panel … I get so tired of talking about diversity. These are amazing, talented actors and amazing writers who give their all, and they don’t have to do this. It’s crowding the conversation.”

Ms. Ross then asked, “Is that a question that you’ve asked other shows that are not predominately of a certain color?” When the journalist said, “Not necessarily,” she replied, “Those questions continue the conversation in a direction that does not help the conversation.” 

The Comprehensive Annenberg Report on Diversity that was released earlier this year looked at representation in both film and TV and showed that 28.3 percent of characters with lines in the more than 400 projects studied were minorities. 

This year’s Oscars included a slate of all-white acting nominees for the second year in a row, though the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recently brought in its largest and most diverse group of new members in its history.

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