The new batch of television series for the 2018-2019 season show encouraging changes as entertainment makes its slow crawl toward racial and gender equity.

Variety and industry sources have found that in the 34 new shows coming to the five major networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and The CW), 42 percent of the characters were women and 42 percent were characters of color across 88 key roles. Variety also reports that 18 percent of female roles are women of color.

Madeline Mantock ('Charmed), Damon Wayans, Jr. ('Happy Together' and Ebonee Noel ('FBI')
Madeline Mantock (‘Charmed’), Damon Wayans, Jr. (‘Happy Together’) and Ebonee Noel (‘FBI’)

Behind the scenes, 34 percent of the executive producers are women. Where the numbers falter is when it comes to executive producers of color, of which there are only 10.7 percent. Even worse, only 2.68 percent of that number are women of color.

Overall, these numbers mean improvements are happening. However, work remains to be done before true equality is reached, especially when it comes to marginalized women both on screen and behind the scenes. Nicole Haggard, founder of the Center for Women in Hollywood and professor at Mount St. Mary’s University, told Variety that things “remain unequal and especially bleak for women of color.”

“I am encouraged to see where specific networks are making changes and the ability to track how they are individually making advances so consumers can support networks truly dedicated to showing our lived experiences rather than a distorted version of reality,” she said.

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