CBS: We 'need to do better' with diversity

CBS is premiering six new shows all with white male leads, and when reporters at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour questioned CBS Entertainment president Glenn Geller, he became defensive.

The first question from a reporter addressed the issue of all white male leads, “What message does it send that the leads of your shows in the fall are all heterosexual white men?”

Geller acknowledged the network needs to do better in terms of diversity.

“I’m really glad this question came up first because we’re very mindful at CBS about the importance of diversity and inclusion and I’m glad we’re having this conversation first,” he said. “We need to do better and we know it. In terms of leads, we are definitely less diverse this year than last year, and like I said, we need to do better. But in terms of overall diversity in our new shows, we were actually more diverse this year than last year, and I think that that’s our commitment to diversity. It is ongoing.”

ABC, NBC and Fox are all launching a new series with at least one non-white male lead.

Continually asked about the issue of diversity, Geller defended the network.

“I am acknowledging we need to do better,” he explained. “In terms of directors, and this is a place I would love to talk about, we’ve been getting better and better every single year about diversity among our director ranks and we have series where over half the directors are diverse. But I hear you, I really do, and I understand that we need to do better. I do want to point out though, that in the ensemble casting, we are more diverse this year than last year, and that is forward progress.”

Kevin James, Matt LeBlac, Dermot Mulroney, Michael Weatherly, Lucas Till and Joel McHale are among the leading CBS men for shows this fall.