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African Americans and TV Shows

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African Americans and TV Shows Two Works Cited It is estimated that African Americans spend about four to five hours more than the general public on watching television a week. Yet still with these findings, there are only 18 shows that feature an African-American cast or lead character out of the 115 that air on the six major broadcast networks. Even with this imbalanced ratio, there are reasons why there are so few programs featuring leading African Americans, despite the great amount of blacks that are consistent television viewers (Hall 12). It is thought that television producers are just trying to play it safe by sticking to what they know and what they are used to doing. It has been hard for networks to duplicate shows that have satisfied the viewers, such as "The Cosby's", "The Jefferson's", and "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air," Creating this kind of "crossover" audience is essential in a show's success(Hall 12). A more recent show that has been able to gain this success is "The Hughley's". It is said to be "probably one of the best things that's happened this year" according to WB Entertainment President Garth Ancier. ...read more.


Even on this channel, there are still no game shows, morning shows, soap operas or dramas that revolve completely around African Americans. This problem may not always be the result of racism. Television is all about business and making money, and executives want to stick with topics that have been previously successful. A main topic that networks have stuck to over the years deals with Caucasians in New York City. Shows such as "Seinfeld", "Friends", and "Will and Grace" have all been extremely successful, and are all based around the same setting. Perhaps network executives can begin to research how these previously successful television topics can be related to an African American audience. Advertisements also play a big part in the airing of shows. If advertisers won't pay for a time slot during a show, there will eventually be no network. Also, an advertiser is not going to pay for a time slot during a show that not many people watch (Lyons 9). Another problem with this is that advertisers tend to relate the product they are selling to the audience that is attracted to a specific show. ...read more.


His plan is to begin Black Family Entertainment Television, which will be based on a variety of first run shows. Jackson stated that, "Our strategy is not to compete with BET, [but] it is to grow the market place."(Lyons 9). Hopefully this will do something for the African American community, but there will be a lack of beliefs until it is done, and on the air. Something like this has only been done once before, and it will be interesting to see if it can be done, and be as successful again. The debate over whether or not there is enough television shows based on African Americans will never end. There will always be something to complain about, and there will always be a flaw in the system. But it doesn't seem like conditions are going to get worse. Networks are aware that there should be more African Americans on television, and when they see the few shows that are on the air now become successful, it will cause a domino affect. It all comes down to the money, and networks are going to go after whatever makes them that. ...read more.

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