Effect Of Diversity On American Television

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Diversity on American Television
Since 1968, there have been dozens of programs on American TV featuring a relatively diverse array of black families. But for many years within this span of time, there has been what has felt like a drought of Black imagery, a “whiteout,” if you will. Many of our shows essentially came and went, while programs featuring White families continued to dominate the airwaves. Today, however, Black faces are finally all over the network and cable television lineups, and megahits such as ABC’s black-ish, a sitcom featuring the Johnson clan, and Fox’s Empire, with the infamous Lyons, have Hollywood scrambling to find the next hot Black family for prime-time TV. Blowing record ratings out of the box dduring season one, Empire became the first program in the history of Nielson’s People Meters to grow in total viewers with each episode following its premiere. The unprecedented success has let to what Hollywood now calls “The Empire Effect.”
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It’s no surprise that Black families were a rarity on TV during the days of the Civil Rights Movement. The family comedy Julia (1968-71) came to NBC after NAACP protests demanding positive Black representation on the small screen. The show was about Julia Baker, a nurse who becomes a single mother after her husband is killed in Vietnam. In the mid 1980’s, one of the most popular sitcoms of all time: The Cosby Show, became a blockbuster success for six of its eight seasons. Overnight, the Huxtables became one of the most beloved American families on

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