Battle of Diverse Pilots: How Diverse are Fox’s Pilots?

Before I get into the grading process for Fox, let me make a quick addendum to this series. I realize after the fact that several of these pilots I’ve included in my grading have now been passed over. So I’ll need to go back and revise my grades to see how the changes affect things. Also, since the first batch of series trailers have come out, I’ll be watching all of them and analyzing which ones I think will succeed and which ones just might fail. Okay; onward to the grading. 

Fox did fairly well, but like all of the networks so far, there are clear blind spots.

The most represented non-white demographic: Once again, black people are the most represented out of the POC demographics. Overall, networks still identify “diversity” as “black,” which isn’t true.

Out of the 13 shows listed (and not passed over), all but three have black characters. 16 actors make up the black contingent. Those shows featuring black actors include:

  • The Guide to Surviving Life (James Earl)
  • Detour (Affion Crockett)
  • Fantasy Life (Chaz Lamar Shepard)
  • 48 Hours ‘Til Monday (Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Merrin Dungey)
  • Scream Queens (Keke Palmer, Lucien Laviscount, Niecy Nash)
  • Grandfathered (Kelly Jenrette)
  • Lucifer (D.B Woodside)
  • Minority Report (Meagan Good, Zhane Hall)
  • Rosewood (Morris Chestnut, Gabrielle Dennis)
  • Studio City (Samantha Logan, Jordan Calloway)

Latino and Asian representation is tied at six actors apiece. Shows with Asian actors include:

  • The Guide to Surviving Life (Maureen Sebastian)
  • Detour (Alice Lee)
  • Fantasy Life (Utkarsh Ambudkar)
  • Grandfathered (Ravi Patel)
  • Frankenstein (Adhir Kalyan)
  • Minority Report (Li Jun Li)

Shows with Latino actors include:

  • The Grinder (Natalie Morales)
  • Scream Queens (Diego Boneta)
  • Lucifer (Nicholas Gonzalez)
  • Minority Report (Wilmer Valderrama)
  • Rosewood (Jaina Lee Ortiz)
  • Studio City (Jeanine Mason)

Bi-racial or multi-racial representation might be represented more than I have the stats on right now, but as it stands, Fox’s count for bi/multiracial actors stands at four.

  • The Guide to Surviving Life  (Meaghan Rath)
  • Fantasy Life (Vanessa Williams)
  • Frankenstein (Dilshad Vadsaria)
  • Studio City (Timothy Granaderos)

(If you’re interested in the backgrounds of these actors, you can easily look them up, but Granaderos’ Filipino background is something I had to do a little creative Googling to find. But if you look through his Instagram page, you can learn more about him that way.)

Severe lack of Native and Middle Eastern representation: Once again, there’s a huge lack of Native and Middle Eastern actors and characters. Of course, there’s still hope that characters like Sleepy Hollow‘s Big Ash will come back as secondary characters, but we won’t know who’s coming to secondary casts until the shows air (or if someone lets the cat out of the bag on Facebook or Twitter or something).

While there are no Native characters in the main casts of these shows, Nassim Pedrad makes up the sole Middle Eastern contingent for Fox on Scream Queens.

Severe lack of LGBT representation: Again, this could change once we get to know characters and the like, but there were no characters specifically labeled as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender in these show descriptions. But as it stands, it seems like there’s not going to be much in the way of representation. Maybe perhaps from Scream Queens, since Ryan Murphy always puts his stamp on things, but maybe not, since even though Glee and The New Normal represented gay, bi, and transgender characters, American Horror Story routinely doesn’t in the form of concrete characters.

The show with two leads of color: That honor goes to Rosewood.

The show with a new Abbie Mills: While Abbie is still reigning supreme on Sleepy HollowMinority Report has Meagan Good’s character, which seems like she could be Abbie’s twin in terms of demeanor, dress, and profession. Also: because she’s partnered with an eccentric white dude who is always marketed as if he’s the lead, even though he’s clearly the co-lead or, in some episodes, the sidekick.

The beige quotient: Charlie Saxton, from The Guide to Surviving Life, fills that spot.

The shows with no diverse cast: The X-Files files for this honor, since the two leads from the original are back. I’m sure there might be secondary characters that aren’t white, but I can’t count secondary characters in this grading process since I don’t know who they are.

Overall notes: Fox is staying in its lane, it would seem. It’s definitely venturing out on the black front, getting even more black actors than I remember them having pre-Sleepy Hollow and Empire. They also seem to be stepping up their game in other areas, too, although it’s worth noting that the Latino and Asian actors are usually the only one of their race in a show, which is concerning. There are clear areas where help is needed, but Fox seems to want to get the people who watch TV the most (i.e. non-white people, especially black people) to view their programming over networks’.

Final grade: C. I was going to give Fox a B, just because their sci-fi programming is something I’m biased to, but I have to be fair. I gave CBS a C, and they had similar numbers to Fox in terms of sexual/gender and racial breakdowns. They also had the same problems. So I’ve got to be tough and give Fox the grade it has earned, not the grade my heart wants to give it.

What do you think about Fox’s pilot list? Give your opinions below!

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