It’s TCA time in Hollywood, so the networks are throwing parties and then also answering questions about their new shows. For CBS, that meant facing down the issue of picking up zero new shows with female leads and staffing a casting department that’s predominantly white and male, while rival networks like ABC are quietly kicking ass in the diversity department.
Doubly curious for CBS, I’ll note, is that all its new shows are male-led (and only one, Shemar Moore — a longtime CBS regular, on Y&R and Criminal Minds — is of color) critically admired The Good Fight (the Good Wife spinoff with Christine Baranski and Rose Leslie, which just added Audra McDonald) and the new Star Trek franchise (Michelle Yeoh as captain and Sonequa Martin-Green as her No. 1) are relegated to the for-pay streaming service CBS All-Access. While you could, I guess, frame that as a compliment — perhaps CBS is confident those shows will drive subscribers, and I am tempted — it’s also a shame they don’t get actual plum time slots so that people who can’t pay for yet another TV option, much less a streaming one, could see that kind of strong representation. Ultimately, I don’t think diversity should be behind a paywall, and it all brings up the question of how CBS has determined which projects are worthy of being placed on its more widely available airwaves. And for me… I want to see Star Trek: Discovery and The Good Fight, but then I’m playing into their hands. But I ALSO might be helping keep those shows in existence. In other words: I am clearly itching to overthink a minor financial decision to take my mind off other things.