A new diversity pledge by CBS will affect all future Big Brother and Survivor casts as the network looks to make serious changes in how they put together their reality competition shows.
Viewers of Big Brother may have seen a change like this coming after controversy surrounded the show during each of the past two seasons.
There were many gripes about Big Brother 21 winner Jackson Michie and about the controlling alliance for Big Brother 22 (The Committee) being entirely White. It was not a good look for the show, and now some serious changes are being made.
President of CBS Entertainment Group makes the announcement
According to Entertainment Weekly, George Cheeks, the president and chief executive officer for the CBS Entertainment Group, had a lot to say about the topic of diversity on reality competition shows during a recent interview.
“The reality TV genre is an area that’s especially underrepresented and needs to be more inclusive across development, casting, production and all phases of storytelling,” Cheeks said.
He reportedly went on to say, “As we strive to improve all of these creative aspects, the commitments announced today are important first steps in sourcing new voices to create content and further expanding the diversity in our unscripted programming, as well as on our network.”
The announcement from CBS as quoted by EW reads, “All future casts will contain at least 50 percent Black, indigenous and people of color.”
The change will begin with the 2021 seasons of the shows and will impact all reality shows. That includes Big Brother, Survivor, Love Island, The Amazing Race, and any other new reality competition show that might be in the pipeline for the network.
Changes not limited to just reality shows at CBS
Efforts to improve the level of diversity on the network go well beyond just reality shows. There is also a concerted effort to “allocate a minimum of 25 percent of its future script development budgets to projects created or co-created by Black, indigenous and people of color.”
CBS has also set a goal to improve the diversity in both the writers’ rooms and on the screen in scripted shows. That may already have become noticeable with shows like Bob Hearts Abishola, the NCIS trio of shows, The Neighborhood, and SWAT.
Big changes are definitely ahead when it comes to the Big Brother and Survivor casts, and it has certainly been a long time coming. Now, if CBS could get that new season of Celebrity Big Brother rolling, fans would get even more excited.
Since the new Survivor cast has already been reportedly decided, it will be interesting to see if they are already adhering to the new policy at CBS or if some changes are needed.
Big Brother and Survivor are currently on hiatus at CBS.