Study: TV diversity still lags in quantity, quality

By Lynn Elber, The Associated Press
Wednesday June 05, 2002

LOS ANGELES – African-Americans get more television turf than other minorities but pay a price: Black characters tend to be segregated in sitcoms and by network, a study released Tuesday found. 

“Despite the large number of African Americans on television, they continue to be ’ghettoized,”’ according to the study from the University of California, Los Angeles. 

Black characters were more likely to appear in comedies, with 39 percent of all black characters in sitcoms compared to 31 percent for whites, 23 percent for Hispanics and 21 percent for Asians. 

One of the least-watched networks, UPN, was the most likely to feature black characters, the study said. Blacks represent 28 percent of the characters on UPN series, compared to about 12 percent on other networks. 

More than half of all black characters who appeared on the screen for more than 10 minutes per hour of programming were on UPN and most appeared on two nights, Monday and Saturday. The latter is the least-watched TV night. 

CBS was the network with the second-largest percentage of all African-American characters, 17 percent.