ERIC Number: ED441559
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Jan
Reference Count: N/A
Fall Colors: How Diverse Is the 1999-2000 TV Season's Prime Time Lineup?
Heintz-Knowles, Katharine E.; Chen, Perry
Because children today are growing up in an era of increasing racial and ethnic diversity and because television provides a steady educational influence on children's attitudes and perceptions, it is important to examine the extent to which television programming reflects diversity in all its forms. This study was commissioned by Children Now to provide television networks with information on the diversity in race, gender, disability, and sexuality reflected in 1999-2000 prime time programming. A content analysis was conducted of the first 3 new episodes of each prime time entertainment series airing in fall 1999 on the 6 broadcast networks. Program content was analyzed for genre, rating, and cast diversity, with each primary and secondary character examined for gender, race, occupation, marital status, and sexual orientation. A total of 1,477 characters across 274 episodes of 92 different programs were examined. Key findings include the following: (1) actors of color playing guest or non-recurring roles account for much of the racial diversity; (2) almost half the programs have all white casts in opening credits; (3) all networks demonstrated substantial numbers of programs with diversity when the entire cast was considered; (4) diversity diminished when focusing on recurring characters; (5) youth characters were more likely to be white than the overall television population; (6) female characters' occupations were polarized between professional and traditional; (7) characters with noticeable disabilities were equally recurring and non-recurring and overwhelmingly white; and (8) almost all openly gay/lesbian characters were male. (A list of the programs sampled is appended.) (KB)
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Kellogg Foundation, Battle Creek, MI.; Mott (C.S.) Foundation, Flint, MI.; Rockefeller Foundation, New York, NY.
Authoring Institution: Children Now, Oakland, CA.