image005*UCLA‘s Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies published a study recently that proves TV shows that have ethnically diverse lead cast members, writers and crew bring in bigger audiences than shows with less diversity in these areas.

The study is called “Hollywood Diversity Brief: Spotlight on Cable Television.

“It’s clear that people are watching shows that reflect and relate to their own experiences,” said Bunche Center director Darnell Hunt, a professor of sociology at UCLA and author of the new study.

Despite this study, reports show every year that both women and minorities are underrepresented in leading roles and staff positions, on both cable and broadcast TV programs, in front of and behind the camera.

“This is one of the first studies, to my knowledge, that attempts to flesh out the relationship between the issue of diversity among cast members and writers and the bottom line,” Hunt said, adding, “While this brief is just the first snapshot in what we envision as a multi-year study, it certainly lends support to an argument we have been making for a long time. Everyone in the industry talks about the importance of diversity, but it clearly isn’t priority one when decisions are made. And it’s not going to be a priority until people realize how it affects the bottom line.”