In August 2017, Thomas A. Saenz, President and General Counsel of MALDEF and chair of the National Latino Media Council (NLMC), and Alex Nogales, secretariat of NLMC and President and CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, met with the Chairman and CEO of CBS Corporation, Leslie Moonves, and other top executives at the network, to take immediate action to increase Latino diversity and inclusion at the network.
Backstory of increasing appearance of people of color on CBS
In 1999, Leslie Moonves signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the NLMC, American Indians in Film and Television, the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition, and the NAACP, promising to diversify and increase people of color in the workforce. The meeting in August was convened to evaluate current benchmarks and agree to commitments that will ensure that Latinos are well-represented behind and in front of camera at CBS.
“In a short amount of time, CBS made substantial changes that have catapulted the network to a leader in the field when it comes to the inclusion of Latinos,” said Alex Nogales, president and CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition. “This shows that great strides can be made when executives at the networks make hiring Latinos a priority and we hope that every other network considers them an example to follow. CBS agreed that the great progress they have made is only the beginning and NLMCare heartened by how seriously CBS has taken the need for Latino inclusion. Specifically, the network has done the following:
Doubled the number of Latino regular actors from 2016;
Doubled the number of Latino writers since 2016;
Agreed to order scripts from Latino content creators or shows Latin themes and auspices; and
Agreed to hear an additional 10 pitches from ten Latino writers/producers.”
“Latinos have been the largest minority group in this country for nearly a decade and a half, and Latinos now represent one in four public school students from Kindergarten through 12th grade nationwide,” according to Thomas A. Saenz, chair of the National Latino Media Council. “In other words, now is the time for all networks and other media outlets to address this longstanding issue of significant Latino underrepresentation, for the outlets’ own future prosperity as much as anything; CBS has now taken strides to address this issue, and others should follow the CBS example.”
Latino audiences make up nearly 18 percent of the population. Advertisers are eager to reach them as NLMC continues talks with CBS about a pilot focusing on Latinos, additional Latino directors and episodes airing on the network, as well as Latino representation in their casting offices, procurement business, and creative entertainment executives,” Nogales added.
While talks with CBS and other television networks are continuing, NHMC has assembled the NHMC Action Network, a group of influencers working both inside and outside of the entertainment industry, with the mission of supporting changes that make media as diverse as the world we live in.
About The National Latino Media Council
The National Latino Media Council aims to radically transform the media landscape to one that is inclusive of American Latinos from all walks of life. Specifically, it is dedicated to increasing Latino employment both in front and behind the camera. NLMC signed Memoranda of Understanding with ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX seventeen years ago to create opportunities for Latinos at the networks. It is also undertaking efforts to diversify the film studios and talent agencies. The National Hispanic Media Coalition has acted as Secretariat of the Council since its founding.