The company made an official press release stating the following:
CBS announced today a target for all future unscripted programs to have casts with at least 50% of the contestants being Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), beginning in the 2021-2022 broadcast season. The Network will also allocate at least a quarter of its annual unscripted development budget to projects created or co-created by BIPOC producers, also starting in the 2021-2022season.
In addition, the Network will develop future initiatives with its production partners to expand diversity in all of the creative and production teams involved in making an unscripted series.
“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,” said George Cheeks, President and Chief Executive Officer for the CBS Entertainment Group. “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 initiatives announced today build on the targets and commitments CBS unveiled in July for scripted programming. The Network announced it will allocate a minimum of 25% of its future script development budgets to projects created or co-created by Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC). CBS also set a target for its writers’ rooms to be staffed with a minimum of 40% BIPOC representation beginning with the 2021-2022 broadcast television season, and a goal to increase that number to 50% the following season (2022-2023).
CBS Studios has also entered into a multi-year partnership with the NAACP to establish a production venture that develops and produces programming for the broadcast, cable and streaming markets. In addition, the Studio recently signed an exclusive agreement with 21CP Solutions, a group specializing in police reform efforts in the U.S., to advise on its police and legal dramas.
Last December, it was announced that all CBS reality shows will provide sensitivity/bias and anti-harassment training for both cast and crew before the start of production. All productions will have an on-site professional to provide a confidential means of reporting concerns.
ViacomCBS comprises of CBS-branded assets, including the CBS television network, CBS News, CBS Sports, CBS Studios, Big Ticket Television, CBS Television Stations, and CBS Interactive, which includes the CBS All Access subscription video-on-demand service. The unit also has a 50% interest in The CW television network joint venture co-owned by AT&T subsidiary WarnerMedia through its Warner Bros. division.
Other assets owned by ViacomCBS are the Paramount Pictures film and television studio, over-the-top ad-supported video-on-demand platform Pluto TV, book publisher Simon & Schuster, multi-genre online video conference VidCon, Bellator mixed martial arts promotor, and media and entertainment company AwesomenessTV.