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There’s More TV Than Ever, But It Still Doesn’t Reflect The Diversity Of Its Audiences

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Year after year, researchers bemoan the state of representation in the entertainment industry, repeatedly finding that progress has been incremental at bestYet audiences want to see themselves reflected in pop culture, and movies and TV shows with diverse casts often bring in major box office and viewership numbers.

That’s the conclusion of a new report released Thursday by media research giant Nielsen, which examined the 300 most-viewed TV shows of 2019, tracking scripted, reality, variety and news programs on streaming, broadcast and cable. It found that TV shows with proportional representation — shows that portrayed “diverse identity groups” (in terms of gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation) in line with those groups’ percentages of the U.S. population — had higher viewership than shows that did not.

So not only is there a moral case for equitable representation on screen, but there’s also a resounding business case, according to the report, “Being Seen on Screen: Diverse Representation and Inclusion on TV.”

“We’ve learned through this initial analysis that diverse audiences are drawn to diverse content,” Stacie de Armas, Nielsen’s senior vice president for diverse consumer insights and initiatives, said in an interview. “So the more diverse content that there is and the more representation that there is on screen, the more content developers, networks and platforms can build their audiences around that content.”

Nielsen’s analysis found that streaming programs lead the pack in terms of the representation of diverse groups, followed by broadcast and cable, likely because “you have the availability to choose more discrete and unique content on streaming platforms,” de Armas said. “And also, if you think about it from a producer or a content developer perspective, streaming has largely been a home for a lot of content that hasn’t found a home elsewhere.”

Overall, the report concludes that the representation of many groups remains low across all platforms and networks, despite the sheer volume of content.

I think it’s eye-opening, not just to the industry, but just for anybody to know. Like, for my daughter to look at this data and to look at this one really simple-to-read chart, and say, ‘Wow, men are present on screen nearly 70% of the time. That feels like a lot, Mom.'”
Stacie de Armas, senior vice president for diverse consumer insights and initiatives at Nielsen

Nielsen’s researchers found that white, Black and LGBTQ people were well represented compared to their levels in the U.S. population. But women, Hispanic or Latinx, Asian and Native people were significantly less represented relative to their populations.

For instance, women make up 52% of the U.S. population. But TV is nowhere near gender parity: Only 38% of the major characters or talent who appeared on screen in the top 300 shows were women.

Among some of the report’s other most glaring findings: Across all of the shows, Hispanic or Latinx people, especially Latinas, were significantly underrepresented, as were Native people. Only 2.3% of the shows had non-binary representation. 

On cable, less than one-third of shows had proportional representation of women, people of color or LGBTQ people.

There are also disparities within different demographic groups and genres of programming. For example, while Black people are generally well-represented, especially on broadcast and streaming shows, much of that is due to an overrepresentation of Black men and a severe underrepresentation of Black women. 

In news programming, more than 15% of the on-air talent consists of Black men. Black women only make up 0.12%.

Nielsen’s data is unique because it enables researchers to compare the demographics of the on-screen talent for the 300 shows to those of the U.S. population as a whole and those of a specific show’s audience, according to de Armas.

“So we not only can get a look at who’s on screen, but who are the audiences that are consuming that content,” she said.

The researchers also limited the demographic analysis of characters and on-screen talent to the top 10 recurring cast members, so TV creators or executives can’t just count a guest star or a special episode as an example of diversity. 

De Armas hopes the data can help creators and executives keep track of the demographics of their shows and their audiences, so they can hold themselves accountable and identify where they can expand their viewership or subscribers. In addition, advertisers can also use the data to create better marketing that matches the audiences they’re trying to reach.

Because this is the first time Nielsen has done this kind of analysis, de Armas says the company’s future research will aim to include more kinds of representation — for instance, disability representation, which wasn’t measured this time around. It will also try to conduct a deeper analysis of the themes and storylines of the TV programs because executives and creators should consider not only who is represented on screen, but how they are represented and what kinds of narratives these shows are advancing.

The report also notes the weight of being underrepresented and not having one’s stories told. For instance, Latinx people are severely underrepresented across all TV platforms and genres.

“With so few programming that includes Latinos at parity or above, there is inequitable pressure on a few programs to get storylines right for all Latinos,” the report reads.

With the report, Nielsen is also launching a data visualization tool so that anyone can compare different demographic groups with how much they are represented on TV and in what genres.

“I think it’s eye-opening, not just to the industry, but just for anybody to know. Like, for my daughter to look at this data and to look at this one really simple-to-read chart, and say, ‘Wow, men are present on screen nearly 70% of the time. That feels like a lot, Mom,’” de Armas said.

“The Hispanic population represents 18.8% of the population, but we’re only 5.5% of what you see on television. That’s easy for people to understand. And then of course, I think it will help support the dialogue that needs to happen in the industry.” 

Read the full report here.





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Meghan Markle And Prince Harry’s Netflix Series Now Has A Release Date

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The streaming giant announced that the docuseries will drop in two batches: The first three episodes will arrive on Dec. 8 and the remaining three episodes will be released on Dec. 15.

The docuseries promises to go behind the scenes on why the couple stepped back as working royals in March 2020 ― and to illuminate the inner workings of the royal family.

“There’s a hierarchy of the family,” Harry says, as photos show the royal family. “You know, there’s leaking, but there’s also planting of stories.”

“It’s a dirty game,” the prince adds in the trailer while talking about the “pain and suffering of women marrying into this institution,” as the trailer shows footage of his mother, Princess Diana.

“I was terrified,” he added. “I didn’t want history to repeat itself.”

The royals ultimately moved to the U.S.

“No one knows the full truth,” Harry explains in the trailer. “We know the full truth.”

Netflix says that “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex share the other side of their high-profile love story” in this “unprecedented and in-depth documentary series.”

“Across six episodes, the series explores the clandestine days of their early courtship and the challenges that led to them feeling forced to step back from their full-time roles in the institution,” the description adds.





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Watch Joe Biden Launch Groan-Worthy Joke At George Clooney In White House

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Biden first praised all the honorees as “an incredible group of people.”

“And we the people, we see character. We see Amal Clooney’s husband,” the president cracked.

The tease got laughs, including from the actor himself.

Clooney’s wife, Amal, is a prominent and accomplished human rights attorney.

The quip was a “version of one of Biden’s most well-worn gags,” Mediaite noted.

Biden got serious and praised the two-time Oscar winner for his activism on behalf of 9/11 victims’ families and refugees, and his support for survivors of the 2018 Parkland, Florida, school shooting and their work for gun reform.

“That’s character,” Biden said. “That’s George Clooney.”

Other honorees included singer Amy Grant, singer Gladys Knight, composer Tania Leon and the rock band U2.

The ceremony at the Kennedy Center was highlighted by a routine by Sacha Baron Cohen scorching former President Donald Trump and rapper-turned-vocal Hitler appreciator Ye (formerly known as Kanye West). There was also a public appearance by Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) who was seriously injured in October by a hammer-wielding home invader.





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George Clooney, U2, Gladys Knight Among 2022 Kennedy Center Honorees

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WASHINGTON (AP) — A heartfelt Patti LaBelle praised her lifelong friend Gladys Knight. Sean Penn called U2 “four scrappy Dublin punks.” Ballet dancers performed for conductor and composer Tania León. Matt Damon playfully teased his friend George Clooney — a lot — while Sheryl Crow delivered a heartfelt rendition of “Baby Baby” to Amy Grant during Sunday’s Kennedy Center Honors.

Knight, Clooney, Grant, León and U2 were all celebrated at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, which annually honors a select group of people for their artistic influences on American culture. President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and their respective spouses were in attendance, as were members the President’s Cabinet and Congress.

One audience member from the political world — Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — drew some attention. He is recovering from a brutal attack in the Pelosis’ San Francisco home in October. The couple received a standing ovation from the crowd.

Normally performers like U2 or Knight would be headlining such a show, but during the Kennedy Center event the honorees sit in the balcony and watch as their peers laud them and perform their works.

On the red carpet, Clooney, with his wife, Amal, beside him, joked that after seeing friends like Don Cheadle and Julia Roberts in attendance he was worried his tribute would be more of a “roast.” And it was a bit like that, though his friends and family showed obvious respect.

Roberts set the tone by coming out onstage with a dress emblazoned with photos of Clooney. After an introduction that alternated between funny and heartfelt she turned to a set designed to look like a smoky bar — the type Clooney might enjoy. The actor’s father, Nick Clooney, regaled the crowd with stories of a young George, including the time the 7-year-old — heartbroken over the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 — gave his father all his toy guns.

Damon took the funny road, joking about how Clooney once stole then-President Bill Clinton’s stationery and wrote notes to fellow actors on it. Cheadle highlighted Clooney’s philanthropic work. But it was Clooney’s father who probably had the strongest praise, telling the crowd and his son, sitting in the balcony between León and U2′s Bono, “George’s best and most important work is still ahead of him.

Standing on a stage lit by a massive sign reading “Gladys,” LaBelle called Knight her “everything,” saying they had been friends for six decades and had seen each other through laughter and tears. “We do everything together,” LaBelle said. “I am honored to honor you tonight.”

Actor and hip-hop star LL Cool J said that whenever Knight sings she connects with people. “I once heard Gladys sing the ABCs and I thought I was in church,” he said.

Knight — usually with her backup singers, The Pips — has recorded dozens of albums with such classic hits as “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and “Midnight Train to Georgia.” The challenge of singing that classic in front of the woman who made it famous fell to country music superstar Garth Brooks, who is a Kennedy Center honoree in his own right. He cited Knight’s “roots in country music” before launching into the classic.

Each artist was introduced by a video compilation showing snippets of their lives. In Grant’s, her children talked about their mother’s influence on them. Crow talked about Grant’s influence on her when she was a young college student.

“Amy also taught me that it was possible to be funny, irreverent and Christian all at the same,” said Crow.

Five ballet dancers took to the stage to honor composer and conductor Tania León, who left Cuba as a refugee in 1967; her passport was stamped “Cancelado” when she left the country. The performers were from the Dance Theatre of Harlem, which León helped found when she eventually made her way to New York City. She also instituted the Brooklyn Philharmonic Community Concert Series and in 2021 received the Pulitzer Prize for her work “Stride,” inspired by women’s rights champion Susan B. Anthony.

“How do I convey the extent of your musical genius?” asked actress and playwright Anna Deavere Smith. Jazz pianist Jason Moran, singer Alicia Hall Moran and cellist Sterling Elliott played one of León’s creations, “Oh Yemanja.”

The last honoree of the night was U2. In a video taped Saturday, U2 guitarist The Edge noted that a group of four “Irish lads” were being honored for contributions to American culture and said there’s a bond between the group and America that can’t really be explained.

Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder sang U2′s “Elevation” and “One.” Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen brought his alter ego Borat to the stage as part of the U2 tribute, pretending to mistake Biden for former President Donald Trump. Singers Brandi Carlile, Hozier and Jamala — from the U.S., Ireland and Ukraine, respectively — closed out the show with an emotional version of “Walk On.”

U2′s Bono is also known for his philanthropic work to eradicate poverty and to raise awareness about AIDS. Jamala, whose home country of Ukraine has been embroiled in nearly a year of bloody warfare after the Russian invasion, touched on that history of social activism as she introduced the night’s final song.

“It’s fitting that on the night meant to honor them they have once again used their platform to spread a message of peace. Honestly to be here in this bright warm hall this evening is really something extraordinary for me, when there is so much darkness in my home country Ukraine,” she said.

The honorees came to the theater from a White House reception where Biden praised them before a star-studded East Room crowd as an “exceptional group of artists.”

“Thank you for showing us the power of the arts and ‘We the People,’” Biden said.

AP White House Correspondent Zeke Miller contributed to this report. Follow Santana on Twitter @ruskygal.





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Tattoo Removal Studio Offers Freebies To Regretful Kanye West Fans

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A London tattoo removal studio is offering free sessions to people who no longer want Kanye West inked on their bodies.

Naama Studios first posted the offer last month, saying it would remove tattoos of the rapper, who has changed his name to Ye, free of charge.

The business later shared videos of two happy clients who had taken advantage of the deal, promoted with the tagline “Yeezy come, Yeezy go.”

“When you have a tattoo inspired by someone you admire and they end up making headlines for all the wrong reasons…” the post read.

“We understand that tattoos can be triggering for some people and not everyone can afford to remove their tattoos,” the business told The Washington Post. According to the Post, several people had already started to process of getting Ye tattoos removed, and around ten more had reached out to Naama for consultations. The procedure reportedly costs up to 2000 pounds (roughly $2400).

Ye lost fans and placed his business empire in crisis after making a series of antisemitic and hateful statements in public since early October. He was repeatedly suspended from social media platforms and dropped by most of his professional partners.

On Thursday, he openly defended Adolf Hitler and Nazis during a trainwreck interview on Alex Jones’s Infowars show, accompanied by white supremacist Nick Fuentes. Later that day, he was suspended from Twitter for tweeting a swastika merged with the Star of David.





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Theo James Was Shocked By ‘Ginormous’ Prosthetic Penis Used For ‘The White Lotus’ NSFW Scene

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Actor Theo James has a massive…sense of humor when it comes to starring in nude scenes for HBO’s “The White Lotus.”

Appearing Friday on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” the actor — who went viral for a steamy scene in the second season premiere of the comedy-drama series — revealed that the fake “pee-pee” he wore for the NSFW scene in the show was “ginormous.”

The much-talked-about nude scene features James, who plays businessman Cameron Babcock, stripping completely naked to change into a swimsuit while Harper (Aubrey Plaza) watches in the bathroom.

“The truth of it was, you go into these scenes, and you have a conversation with the director and the producers and they go, ‘Okay, for this, we’re going to use a prosthetic,’” the 37-year-old recalled of the popular scene. “And you say, ‘Okay, that sounds good.’”

However, despite giving his input to makeup chief Rebecca Hickey about wanting to sport a more modest faux penis, things didn’t quite go according to plan.

“I said, ‘Honestly, I just want it not to be distracting,’” he told host Jimmy Fallon.

“It needs to be ‘Regular Joe.’ Because the scene, you know, it’s not about the pee pee; it’s about power play and sex. It’s about whether he did it deliberately or whether it was an accident and what that means. She says, ‘I got you. Yeah, I got you. Regular Joe.’” James continued.

To James’ surprise, “Regular Joe” was not what he received.

According to the British actor, when he arrived on set, Hickey approached him with a fake penis so outrageously large that it looked like she had “a hammer.”

“I mean, it’s bigger than that. It’s like she stole it off a donkey in the field. The thing is ginormous. And me and the director, Mike White, are sitting there going, ‘That’s… average, is it?’” he joked.

James then quipped that both he and White immediately ran off to call their “respective partners” to profusely apologize, like “I’m so sorry.”

“It was nine inches flat and about four inches wide. We were like, ‘What the hell is that?’” he added, laughing.

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight in October, James shared it “felt natural” to go sans clothes in front of the camera for the scene in the primetime Emmy-winning series.

He jokingly added, “It is in my contract that I’m not allowed to do anything without being completely naked.”

Just a month later, James told the outlet that audiences didn’t get a chance to see the initial scene they planned because it was “way too much,” so they “toned it [down].”

“The original derivation of it, it’s kind of full-frontal, if you know what I mean. We shot that and it felt too much, too aggressive,” he told Entertainment Weekly in November. “What we came to is a bit more opaque, and that’s exactly what Mike does so well. You’re never sure a hundred percent of the characters’ intentions.”

“The White Lotus” airs new episodes on HBO and HBO Max at 9 p.m. on Sunday nights.





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Prince Harry Hits Out At ‘Baseless’ Story That Pits ‘Him Against His Country’

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Prince Harry is shutting down a recent report that accused him of telling a friend “Those Brits need to learn a lesson” ahead of the couple’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey last year.

The global press secretary for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex told HuffPost that “this is a baseless hit piece masquerading as journalism.’”

“This story is riddled with inaccuracies, not least of which is a quote erroneously attributed to Prince Harry,” the spokesperson said Sunday.

“To accuse a man who spent 10 years serving his country of wanting to teach that same country a lesson is not only an attempted distraction but an unfortunate and predictable tabloid strategy,” she added. “To pit him against his country is shameful and manipulative, especially when Prince Harry has never spoken ill of the British public.”

The Sun did not immediately respond to a HuffPost request for further comment.

The story and response come on the heels of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s recent, three-day tour of Boston, where they were for the Earthshot Prize Awards.

As the tour nearly coincided with the release of Harry and Meghan Markle’s forthcoming Netflix docuseries, a palace source prior to the trip said the Prince and Princess of Wales wouldn’t “be distracted by other things.”

A trailer for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s six-part series with the streaming giant dropped on the second day of William and Kate’s royal tour, leading many to question the timing of its release.

In the teaser, a voice asks Harry, “Why did you want to make this documentary?”

“No one sees what happens behind closed doors,” the prince responds. “I had to do everything I could to protect my family.”

“When the stakes are this high, doesn’t it make sense to hear our story from us?” Meghan later adds in the clip.





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Kenan Thompson’s Herschel Walker Is Confident About His Erection On ‘SNL’

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He addressed Tennessee GOP Sen. Marsha Blackburn (Cecily Strong) as “your Highness,” called Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell (James Austin Johnson) “Mr. McDonald,” and admitted there are still “so many” bad things about him people don’t know.

At the end of a long tale of bad things, “Walker” concludes: “Anyway, she didn’t want to keep it, so I drove her down to the Planned Parent Trap.”

When voting by mail was mentioned, “Walker” noted: “You gotta remember, they still gotta count votes by female.”

The Republican brain trust was so rattled they decided to lock Walker in a room — just for a few days.





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