I am unsure what Nellie Andreeva is saying here.
Okay. That is a lie. The short version is: There are to many non-white faced on TV these days.
I am sure she would dispute this, claim I am misunderstanding her point.
But, as is the case with any sea change, the pendulum might have swung a bit too far in the opposite direction.
Nellie expresses concern about there being no room for colorblind casting. I totally get that this is her concern. I get she believes that this is about a concern that race trumps the best actor getting the job.
This is a pretty absurd concern to have though. There have been plenty of examples over the years of casting stating they are looking for white actos, whether the role called for it or not.
“Basically 50% of the roles in a pilot have to be ethnic, and the mandate goes all the way down to guest parts,” one talent representative said.
So, half your cast can be white, as long as half your cast is not? So, white actors have a shot at 50% roles in a pilot (including, more likely than not, the lead) while non-white actors must vie for the other 50%. Asian, black, Hispanic, and so on, all compete for the other half. This is not equality, and it is not equality in favor of minority actors.
Network and cable television are still overwhelmingly full of majority white casts. There is one show right now about an Asian family. The Asian community covers a lot of ethnic backgrounds. Both Japanese and Vietnamese may be considered “Asian”, but they are culturally distinct. Yet, if you say we are going to do a show about an Asian family, you probably will have actors of different descent playing a Chinese family. Of course, we white people rarely notice a difference.
So, for the Asian community, you have one show. Blacks have a couple of shows. And if a Latino comedian hits it big enough, maybe you get a show or two about a Latino lead. Are there any comedies or dramas centered on a character of Middle East descent?
Most shows still center on a white protagonist(s) with supporting cast members who are not white.
And that is the joke of the Deadline column. Overwhelmingly, TV is still giving us white leads. The talk of colorblind casting is a joke, because even when shows specified no race, casting looked at primarily white people for their leads. There has never been colorblind casting, and just because pilots are actually starting to note to cast some actors who are not white is not an indication of a problem, it is a solution.