CBS announces all future reality show casts will include 50% people of color

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Half of all contestants on future CBS reality shows including Survivor, Big Brother and Love Island will be people of color, network announces

  • CBS Studios announced Monday it will diversify its unscripted shows and will aim to make all future casts at least 50% black, indigenous and people of color
  • That means shows like Survivor, Big Brother and Love Island will have more diverse casts starting with 2021 – 2022 season
  • The move comes after show fans rallied for greater diversity and several former Survivor contestants spoke out about the lack of diversity in cast line-ups
  • The network will also allocate a quarter of its annual unscripted development budget to projects created or co-created by BIPOC producers 

CBS announced Monday it will diversify its future reality TV casts to include at least 50 percent black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC). 

That pledge means that the future line-ups of hit shows like Survivor, Big Brother and Love Island will have diverse casts starting with 2021 – 2022 season. 

The network announcement comes after a fan petition was launched urging CBS to include greater diversity and inclusivity in their content and after several Survivor contestants spoke out about the lack of diversity in the show’s cast. 

‘The reality TV genre is an area that’s especially underrepresented, and needs to be more inclusive across development, casting, production and all phases of storytelling,’ George Cheeks, President and CEO of CBS, in a statement.

CBS announced Monday it will diversify its future reality TV casts to include at least 50 percent black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC). A view of the last cast of Survivor: Winners at War that aired in May above

That pledge means that the future line-ups of hit shows like Survivor, Big Brother and Love Island will have diverse casts starting with 2021 - 2022 season. A view of Love Island's cast members from second American season above

That pledge means that the future line-ups of hit shows like Survivor, Big Brother and Love Island will have diverse casts starting with 2021 - 2022 season. A view of Love Island's cast members from second American season above

That pledge means that the future line-ups of hit shows like Survivor, Big Brother and Love Island will have diverse casts starting with 2021 – 2022 season. A view of Love Island’s cast members from second American season above

‘As we strive to improve all of these creative aspects, the commitments announced today are important first steps in sourcing new voices to create content and further expanding the diversity in our unscripted programming, as well as on our Network,’ he added.  

Over the summer Survivor contestants including Sean Rector, of season 4, and Jolanda Jones, of season 10, formed a group called The Black Survivor Alliance with the goal of ‘bringing light to our collective experience with implicit bias and racism on and off the show’. 

They had several meetings with CBS executives and host and executive producer Jeff Probst about the show being more equitable and inclusive, according to Entertainment Weekly

CBS will allocate a minimum of 25 percent of its annual unscripted development budget to projects created or co-created by BIPOC producers to give greater opportunity to diverse showrunners. A view of the Big Brother Season 22 cast above

CBS will allocate a minimum of 25 percent of its annual unscripted development budget to projects created or co-created by BIPOC producers to give greater opportunity to diverse showrunners. A view of the Big Brother Season 22 cast above

CBS will allocate a minimum of 25 percent of its annual unscripted development budget to projects created or co-created by BIPOC producers to give greater opportunity to diverse showrunners. A view of the Big Brother Season 22 cast above

And the diversity pact will carry on behind the scenes too. 

CBS will allocate a minimum of 25 percent of its annual unscripted development budget to projects created or co-created by BIPOC producers to give greater opportunity to diverse showrunners. 

CBS also made similar promises for its scripted division vowing to devote at least a quarter of its future script development budget to stories by BIPOC writers. 

The network has set an initial target of having at least 40 percent BIPOC writers in every series’ writers’ room with hopes to bump it up to 50 percent minimum next year.

Also in July CBS Studios announced a multiyear content partnership with the NAACP. 

CBS has come under fire for several racial controversies on its reality TV programs in recent years.

Houseguests on Big Brother were criticized for making a racially-charged joke about a fellow Asian houseguest in July 2019. In 2018 there was a controversy surrounding the use of the n-word.

Survivor has been accused of favoring white players and winners for years over minority contestants. 

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