Are Casting Directors Racist? Ethnic Mandate Creates New Changes

Pilot season is in full swing this year and according to reports, TV networks and producers are casting more ethnic and minority actors than ever before.

With the recent success of ‘How To Get Away With Murder’, ‘Black-ish’, ‘Fresh Off the Boat’, ‘Jane the Virgin’ and ‘Empire’, networks are casting more ethnic actors and struggling to find the right talent for the roles.

Empire

According to a recent report by Deadline, 50% of the roles in a pilot have to be ethnic and casting directors are struggling to find the right talent to fill the “ethnic quota”.

From Deadline:

“Basically 50% of the roles in a pilot have to be ethnic, and the mandate goes all the way down to guest parts,” one talent representative said.

In one instance, after a number of actors of different ethnicities tested for two roles in a pilot this year, two Caucasian actors ended up being the top choices for the two remaining regular parts. However, because of a mandate from the studio and network, one of the roles had to diverse, so the pilot could only cast one of the top choices and pass on the other to fulfill the ethnic quota. “They need to say the best man or woman wins,” one rep suggested.

But, it begs the question? Are casting directors casting roles based around talent or are they seeing ethnic actors as the latest trend like light up sneakers and ‘blaxploitation’ movies. Either way, expect 2015-2016 to feature more and more minority and ethnic actors on television with new shows such as ‘Rush Hour’, ‘The Curse of The Fuentes Women,’ ‘Uncle Buck,’ ‘Delores & Jermaine,’ ‘Love is a Four Letter Word,’ ‘Broad Squad,’ and many more other shows featuring minority actors in lead roles.

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